1963-11-14 - Queen of Spades
Summary: Domino decides to track down this 'Beatrice' chick. As it turns out, this decision proves to be quite beneficial.
Related: Them!
Theme Song: None

It's well past midnight in the very wee hours of Monday morning, and a cockroach the size of a Doberman, but twice as fast, has been leading Domino on a merry chase through the tunnel systems under Manhattan. It's turnings seem erratic, but anyone would have to run to keep up. And that's what's required if Domino wants to catch up with Beatrice. In fact they're moving so quickly through the tunnels, it is most likely becoming very difficult to keep track of where she is under the city, and exactly how to get back.

Just when it seems like the roach is finally tiring, and slowing a bit, it makes a hard turn into and through an almost invisible crack in the wall. It's big enough for a person to squeeze through, but they'd have to crawl.


Heavy black biker boots sliiiide across the grit and grime as the bug slips out of view, leading to a fairly winded (and highly annoyed) albino lady. "Get back here, dammit!"

Ask Domino how she had planned on spending her morning. Go ahead, ask! Because it most certainly did -not- involve anything along the lines of chasing giant freaking roaches through the lower intestines of Manhattan!

The air is uncomfortably warm already. The biker leathers aren't helping matters any. She's got a bit ol' pump-action shotgun in her hands, complete with a giant bayonet (lest a bug decide she looks like a good snack) and a flashlight taped onto the end (which hopefully will not break after she pulls the trigger the first time around.)

All of this crazy chasing and bug-wrangling leads to the least hospitable looking part of these tunnels she's yet come across. Seriously, the bathroom area of Hobo Alley seems more inviting than this. Inside that itty bitty tunnel she won't have any mobility and will leave a very large blindspot directly behind her, not to mention these giant freaking roaches won't have any trouble at all swarming in around her and biting her ankles off.

The day's looking better all the damn time!

This whole run is stupid, pointless, and with an extremely high chance of ending in disappointment, but..she's gotta know. Sometimes one just has to take the plunge. Despite the heat she zips her jacket up all the way, looking rather grim as she rolls her shoulders then crawls forth towards her doom—err, towards bug paradise.


On the other side there is plenty of room to stand up straight again. The crack enters through the side of a long, rough hewn tunnel stretching to left and right. The floor is flat-ish, with a curved ceiling, and was definitely not dug out by humans with tools. This is the nightmare fuel insectophobes fear.

In fact, just as Domino is coming through, inch by inch, the same huge roach lunges at her out of the darkness, barely in the beam of her light for a fraction of a second. But by some turn of fate, the creature has impaled itself on her bayonet. What are the chances?

Then again, the dozen or so roaches staring at Domino as she emerges, eyes shimmering in the light from her torch, seem eager to make her acquaintance as well. Half on her left, half on her right. Stuck in the middle with ewwww.


Emerging through to the other side barely leaves Domino the chance to yelp out a "-Holy- mother!" as the first bug sacrifices itself to the Winchester god. Given the tough outer shell it must have hit the blade -just- right to spear itself like that. Not that she's going to complain. Not TOO much. As it turns out, that suicidal roach was her one and only lead down here.

..Or so she thought.

She has to push the dead bug off of the end of her weapon by pinning it to the ground with her boot, tugging the blade free. Then she gets that classic feeling of being watched by something else. The light slowly drifts one way, then the other. Here she stands, right in the middle of what may as well be a Giant Roach Turf War.

"Aw, hell. Knew I shoulda had that second cuppa joe today."

Her attention darts from one bug to the next, pivoting about in place as she tries to guess which one is going to lunge at her first. "Alright..!" she says with apprehension in her voice. "Who's next?"


"She," comes a raspy, but definitely feminine voice from the ceiling, maybe 20 feet up. "Is a /guest/." It's hard to see her in the flickering light. One of the groups of roaches shrinks away from the voice, but the other group is emboldened by their retreat, and rush at Domino, apparently unaware of the danger above. In a blur of green carapace, the… person… on the ceiling drops down onto the group attacking, a whirling dervish of spiky death. She takes out five of the roaches, and visibly hesitates before letting the last one keep going at Domino. Her head tilts, curious to see what the albino woman will do.


Well thank goodness that one of the roach gangs backs off. It gives Domino somewhere safe to jump when the mystery guest decides to drop on in and start killing the big bastard bugs like it's going out of style! She's not sure which to be more surprised about, that she managed to find this mystery lady or that -some- of the bugs actually seem to -listen- to her.

The other half don't care. And now they're dead, save for one. If that last one doesn't get the hint and retreat then she will -happily- staple its tough-shelled butt right to the ground. Roaches are still awful pests. Making them bigger just means they're bigger targets!

"I guess some of them got tired of living," she remarks while trying to keep her cool. Figuratively and literally. While the last bug is left twitching in place she unzips her jacket just to vent some of the warmth.

"So before I go making a whole bunch of assumptions..you -are- Beatrice, right?"


The creature in the tunnel with Domino watches dispassionately as the woman stakes the last one down. Stepping fully into Domino's light though reveals another nightmare. A tall lanky green humanoid that could only have come from a preying mantis originally, but is now decidedly humanoid, and humanly feminine for some ungodly reason.

Somewhere, in a neighboring dimension, Science throws its papers in the air in the universal gesture for giving up. Science heads out to a bar.

Back in our dimension, this mantis woman is wearing the loose pants and tied tunic common to monks. She is barefoot, has digitigrade legs, and her arms have one too many joints. Both sets of forearms are lined with serrated blades that look to be part of her, but her hands are almost disturbingly human. Aside from the enormous mantis eyes, her face is also very human, though green-skinned.

"Oh no, that is my mistress," the beautiful monster rasps. "I am Ms. Green. I was sent to bring you to Beatrice." Idly, Ms. Green stoops to pluck a mostly whole roach off the ground and bite off the head. Crunching, she raises the ridge above one eye, and it occurs to her to offer some to Domino. She picks up another roach, dusts it off, slices it open and pulls out a hunk of meat that looks disturbingly like sushi. "I'm told human don't like the crunchy shells. But I forget sometimes."


Once more there's a slight recoil and a "Gah!" from the pale lady. She didn't know what to expect with this other gal, but she's pretty certain it didn't start nor end with anything like this! Though before she can be -too- disappointed..it turns out this isn't the person she's looking for, after all.

Which..is only a small comfort at this point as Ms. Green bites the head of a roach off and starts munching away. Well before she has a cut available to offer Domino she's turning away and holding a hand up in silent protest. "No..thanks. Trying to cut down. Roach goes straight to the thighs."


This time when she's pulling the next roach off of the bayonet she's doing so quite slowly thanks to an already churning stomach. Any unnecessary sounds, smells, or sensations she will happily do without, thank you very much.

"Right. Okay..lead on," she finally says around a lump in the back of her throat. Her skin doesn't need any pigment for her to be looking a touch green, herself. (Do not vomit do not vomit.)


Apparently the heads are her favorite part, because she just drops the rest of the roach in the pile of others. She brushes her hands off and stretches, showing off her true height of nearly 7 feet, but her normal posture is closer to 6 feet. Relaxed again, she tilts her head and starts down the tunnel. Her movements are inhumanly graceful, like a predator with nothing better to do right now.

But the walk from here actually doesn't take very long. About fifteen minutes later of relaxed walking, without having to hunch over, the tunnel leads into a huge, open intersection of storm drains. In one elevated area which is almost certainly a forgotten maintenance platform, someone has set up a fairly cozy looking living space. It's probably only 200 square feet or so, but someone who isn't super picky can do a lot with that.

A metal cot and foot locker line one wall. There's also a card table and a mismatched set of folding chairs.

Pacing along that platform is the person Domino is looking for. She's taller than average, and her legs and arms and fingers seem just a /little/ bit too long. She's wearing a white tank top and black cargo pants, which have been converted to capris style given how thin she is, and how long her legs are. She's also wearing combat boots.

Beatrice would just be a long, tall brunette, easy on the eyes with legs that go all the way up - if not for the whole host of insectoid features immediately marking her as a mutant.

Everywhere, her skin is covered in a patchwork of iridescent, silvery chitinous armor covering most long patches of skin. In places where it meets flesh, it looks to be growing out of her, much like fingernails. From far away it sort of looks like body armor, but up close, it's obviously a part of her.

Her long black hair flows around two slightly fuzzy, black antennae growing out of the top of her head. They're about half a foot long, and twitch from time to time. Her eyes are still orbs in sockets, but their surface is matte black, and multi-faceted. It's hard to tell exactly where she's looking as they swivel about.

She also has a long, double pair of translucent insect wings. An entomology buff might note their similarity to termite wings, being twice the length of her body. They drape on the ground behind her like a cloak.

"Bea," Ms Green says. "This is the one we were telling you about. Also, some of the roaches died." Cough.

But Bea waves a long-fingered hand dismissively, not worried about the roaches at all. "Thank you, Ms Green," Bea says warmly. "Thank you so much. Would you mind going to see what Herc needed help with? He's down that way." Bea indicates one of the many tunnels leaving this place, and then turns back to Domino. "Come on up, have a seat."


Hopes aren't running high as Domino follows the peculiar mantid-like mutant. All she knows so far about this 'operation' is what she could see from the news. To think that there's more than one bug mutant changes the playing field drastically. Was Green a product of genetic manipulation or another straight-up mutant? She can run the numbers, the odds of there being -two- bug-muties in the same city at the same time are really, really small.

Even for someone as strange looking as Green, everyone still manages to find someone… Maybe that's her problem (and hundreds of thousands of other people.) They just look too damn normal! If she had purple skin and hair made out of glass then that one in twenty million chance would suddenly become a one in ten probability of finding another person -just like her.-

A person could go insane thinking about this stuff. She only allows herself ten of the fifteen minute walk to consider the possibilities (and there's quite a few of them to consider!)

Upon finally meeting Beatrice..Dom's expression doesn't falter, though she can feel a part of her heart sink. This is merely -a- Beatrice, not -the- Beatrice. There's absolutely -no- physical similarity between the two.

At least the greeting seems friendly enough. She's gotten this far under the city, may as well ride the rest of this one out. Climbing up to the living space is a trivial matter, only made icky by the ambient conditions and the collected grime which loves to get -everywhere- even if physical contact isn't made.

"Nice hive you've got here," she nonchalantly offers upon reaching the bug gal's dwelling. She'll find a seat and park her butt, if she can find a chair which doesn't look ready to break apart as soon as she sits upon it.


The old metal chairs definitely look rickety, but they hold up ok for now. Bea crosses to the card table and takes a seat as well after foofing her wing-cloak out behind her so she doesn't sit on it. That would probably hurt. Reaching out, she takes Domino's hand in both of hers, shaking it warmly. Ah, that's why her fingers are too long. Each one has an extra joint in it.

She tilts her head to one side, her expression unfocused for a moment, before releasing Domino's hand and sitting back in her chair. "I'm always happy to welcome fellow mutants here. I'm sorry it isn't very fancy, but we're scouting for new locations."

Leaning over, Bea drags that heavy looking footlocker over without much visible effort. Opening it reveals a stash of cokes, snickers, and ramen packets. Loads of all three, in fact. "I'm afraid I don't have much to offer down here, but if you're hungry…" She sets a coke and a snickers each in front of Dom and herself.


For now the shotgun is set aside and the light turned off. It's still within easy-ish reach of a pale white hand, but far enough away to (hopefully) not be of concern to the Insect Queen.

One extra knuckle per finger is rather tame compared to some of the things Domino has already seen around here. For as strange as Beatrice looks her mannerisms remain perfectly human. Sociable, even. It's a drastic change from what she would have come to expect, though soon enough she learns just why this is.

Maybe this isn't the best time or place to say such a thing but it's become fairly automatic lately for her to say "I'm not actually a mutant. Just an albino."

Suddenly: Free Chocolate. It's a tough offer to turn down, especially after what it took just to get down here (and she's already making a point of NOT thinking about how all of that junk food made it down here.) So long as the wrapper hasn't been compromised it should be okay, she just needs to watch the grime already on her own hands in the process.

"I could see how that might be a problem with the extended family," she thinks aloud. It's just an assumption, and perhaps something of a joke, that the giant bugs would follow along after Bea. New York apartments are crowded enough as it is!


Bea's expressions are so warm, so human, even with the chitin on her cheeks and forehead. Her flat black eyes aren't very expressive, but the rest of her face speaks volumes. Definitely play poker with this woman. "Oh my friend, I'm sorry, I didn't mean the color of your skin. And I'm sorry to contradict you," Bea says. As cultured and polite as she is, she never got rid of the last of her Jersey twang. "But you have a capital 'M' mutation," she waggles her fingers, and her antennae twitch. "I can sense these things."

Leaning down again, Bea draws a small bottle of hand sanitizer from the snack locker and places it on the table between them. She uses a little herself and then pops open her coke to take a long sip. "I know it's weird," she says, giving the can and amused frown. "But I actually like it kind of flat. But I don't trust having open containers down in this mess." She waves her other hand to encompass the grossness of her living situation.


Sanitation is suddenly among the last thoughts on Domino's mind, right there next to the never-ending debat of 'carbonated cola or flat?' She has to stop herself from countering Bea's disagreement, as if raising her voice and declaring it once more would somehow make it more true. Rather than argue the point when she has no actual proof she instead challenges the other lady and her ability.

"How would that even be possible? How could you tell what a person is just by sitting across from them? That doesn't make an ounce of sense. No..if I was a mutant then there would have been something to announce the fact. Right? You guys all have ..powers..and abilities, and sometimes physical anomalies," she states with a brief motion of her hand. It takes the place of air-quotes when she says 'powers.'

"I've -seen-..mutants. I'm looking at one right now. No question about it. I can't..read minds, or throw tables with a thought, or..predict the damn future."

Apparently this subject has come up around her before. She's been doing a swell job of sweeping it back under the rug then jumping on top of said rug a few times for good measure.


Domino's agitation in this instance is exactly the sort of thing Beatrice has infinite patience for. She doesn't reach across the table and she doesn't stand or raise her voice. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and nods. A ripple runs down her wings behind her as if a shiver went up her spine. Opening her eyes again, she says, "I'm sorry, I assumed you knew. I assumed that's why you came down here looking for me. I didn't mean to put you off." She sets her coke down, leaving off the show of congeniality for businesslike efficiency for now.

"I don't know how it's possible that I know," Bea says patiently. "I don't know how I can…" she gestures and a roly-poly pill bug over by her cot grows to the size of a cat. Surprised, it rolls up into a ball, wobbling on the concrete floor there. "Sister, that shit ain't possible," now she lets her Jersey accent flow. And she winks. "I don't know what your gift is or how it works, but I know you have one."

Shifting in her metal chair to get comfortable, Bea finally asks, "The question is, is there something you've been making excuses for? Something you've been explaining away that doesn't make sense? Over and over. Regardless of how many times it keeps happening." Her eyes narrow attentively, studying the pale woman, as her questions turn into statements. "I think… maybe you can think of something."


Dom's never dealt with a shrink before but in this moment she has a feeling that it would be an awful lot like this. Going by her confusing expression she isn't sure whether to be defensive, suspicious, or outraged. Shrinks probably have to deal a lot with -that- look, too.

They tend not to suddenly enlarge insects with a motion of their hand, however. She nearly leaps right out of her seat when the insignificantly tiny bug grows into something much more substantial. That..answers one question, at least. All of the big bugs are indeed coming from her, and it doesn't seem to require anything more than a seconds' worth of consideration out of her.

No wonder there's entire armies of huge insects running around this part of the country!

When Beatrice asks her next question Domino doesn't need to stop and think it over, she knows right away what the other lady (other -mutant-) is talking about. For the question she gets to see a rare instance of the albino being completely speechless, backed into a proverbial corner with absolutely no idea of what to say or do next.

She has been… Even knowing what it is she still has no idea how to explain it. How to 'quantify' any of it. Even -describing- it sounds completely nuts! So, she doesn't. She just falls heavily back into her seat, staring at the table which separates the two with her mouth hanging open just enough to look properly dumbstruck.

Then she leans forward, fingertips running through messy hair before she props an elbow on the table and rests her forehead against her palm. "This is bullshit," she mutters. "I—you -do- realize that your offspring are attacking -everyone- up there, including mutants?" she suddenly asks, already trying to think of -something else.-


Bea waits quietly during Domino's existential crisis. She even picks up her snickers bar and carefully peels the wrapper only halfway down so she doesn't get chocolate on her fingers. She eats most of it without much relish, just mechanically doing a thing she has to do, leaving just half an inch or so left, which she sets on the floor next to her chair. Drumming the concrete with her apparently quite hard fingernails, she purrs to the pill bug, "Come here little one…"

Slowly, the bug unwinds right about the point that Domino's rant really takes off, but it's intrigued by the snickers. Slowly, with the sound of a typewriter in the next room, its fourteen little legs click across the concrete and it comes to snarf up the snickers.

In its sugar-high glee it rolls up into a ball again, which Bea palms one-handed and rests in her lap, idly stroking the terrestrial arthropod with the affection one would pay a furry kitten.

Her expression is quiet and sad when she finally answers. "They are not my offspring. I- In all honesty I don't think I can /have/ offspring. But that doesn't mean I don't take responsibility for their actions. Of course the hurt and violence happening up there… a good deal of that is my fault. But until mutants have the same rights as humans… And until mutants themselves stop hiding behind 'proper' behavior and stand up for themselves, all of this is necessary."

"I hope you know I don't relish in their suffering. I'm not cruel. But I'm past the point of accepting my own abuse. I'll leave the world a better place for mutants, or probably die trying, in all likelihood." She shrugs, letting her own demons float to the surface for a moment. Very unprofessional for a proper shrink.

"Mutants who don't fight for the freedom of their fellow mutants are just as bad as the humans who oppress them."


Much of the exchange with the newly enlarged insect goes unnoticed, right up until the point where it's nested within Beatrice's lap. It causes Domino to take a second glance. Sure, it's creepy, but it's..also..kinda cute, in its bizarre and alien sort of way. She's not much for keeping pets but the idea does briefly pass through her mind, if she ever wanted something really different then this would be the right place to start looking.

Of course, the only place she would have to keep something like that would put it at risk of getting eaten by Fred, or turned into a pancake by Cain. ..Or stabbed in the back by Raven.

Y'know what, maybe some other time.

"I was being sarcastic." Read: Being a bitch. "Though you sound an awful lot like someone else I know," she mutters in a fairly dark tone. Now there's something -else- for her to process. The matter of the Brotherhood. Twenty seconds is all it took for her to suddenly have a much bigger stake in this situation than she had realized possible. It's not just a job, not just an alliance created out of convenience. She's ..actually she's right where she needs to be. Has been for more than a month.

Figure out -those- odds, Thurman.

Between an unexpected trip down memory lane just the other night to finally being cornered with the whole mutant issue, there's a lot for her to process this week. When Bea starts talking about mutant freedom she purses her lips and holds one finger up away from the table, sort of bobbing it up and down while sorting her thoughts and awaiting her turn to add to the subject. Fuckit, she's just going to come clean on (part of) this one:

"I'm part of a group that fights the same battle." Plus, with the idea fresh in her mind, she just -has- to ask: "These bugs. Is there any way to work alongside them? Because we could certainly make use of some extra feet on the ground." And insects, they've got feet to spare!


Beatrice smiles when Domino explains that she was being 'sarcastic'. "I see, I'm sorry, I get defensive sometimes. I'm sure you didn't need a lecture from me." Drumming her long fingers on the pill bug's shell, the little creature squirms happily and makes a tiny, almost silent trill of happiness. There are certainly entomologists who would give their pinkies to know this about pill bugs.

She doesn't have to think very long about the question of fighting alongside. "Oh yes, definitely. It can be a little tricky if we need hived species, but the solos are very easy to keep in line."

Bea pauses a moment, and the pill bug inches open, just barely, to peer up at her. Its little (huge?) mandibles grab at her fingers, and she lets it gnaw on the end of one index finger. "This may be kismet then. Because I've been trying to make contact with such a group. Are you familiar with the Brotherhood of Mutants?"


With aliens already filling the news it's doubly eerie actually hearing what a pill bug sounds like. It's not something anyone had heard before! Certainly not Dom!

..It really is kinda cute. Creepy as shit..but kinda cute. Once again she can't help but watch as the enlarged bug's enlarged mouth starts picking at Bea's finger. Wouldn't that hurt?

When the question is asked her mouth once more opens and hangs idle for a second, her initial response requiring a little more thought instead of flying off the handle. "Yoooou could say that, yes…" she somewhat hesitantly replies. Given the course of their current discussion she knows that Bea isn't looking to make enemies out of them, not with how closely aligned Bea's interests are with the team as a whole.

"You can call me Domino, by the way. If you need a message delivered, today's your lucky day. Let's hear it."

At last, a distraction away from the whole matter of being a mutant! Now she can finally tackle her chocolate while denial continues to run its merry and completely unchecked course.


Beatrice's expression reads in volumes at Domino's coy reply. Her expression says, yes, I already knew you were with the Brotherhood. And no, I wasn't going to out you. And yes, I was waiting for you to acknowledge your membership. Her face should start a blog. Once they're invented.

"My message is simple, although you don't have to rush off," Bea says with a friendly smile. "Honestly, I don't get a lot of drop-by visitors. I don't have a big screen, but I do have cards. And I only play for money. You strike me as a gambler, Domino."

Pausing, she gets a small steno pad, a pen, and a deck of cards from the footlocker. She jots down the message she wants Domino to pass along, and hands it over. Then she takes the rubberband off her cards and shuffles, raising an eyebrow to see if they're playing or not.


The facial expressions are a real help here because Bea's eyes give so -very- little away. Turns out that trying to get a read on a compound eye isn't so easy to do! The part that's still throwing Domino for a loop is how damn friendly this gal is. Like it's no big deal looking like she does, or that she can make any insect super-sized on a whim then release it into a killing frenzy upon the population at large. Or that it's no problem living in the old tunnels. It's just ..-weird!-

Then there's the cards. It's fortunate for Bea that Dom doesn't yet know her power focuses on luck. "I've been known to play a few hands now and then," she confirms. Then she leans forward, elbows on the table in a 'let's go' posture. Almost immediately after she frowns and leans further forward, shedding the heavy jacket. It's an improvement!

The note is taken without a word. She can read it over later, while it's in mid-transit. She likes to know what she's delivering!

"So I have to ask, how would I 'tame' some of these bugs? I don't exactly speak their language but if you have some that are..say, very resistant to bullets and travel well in the back of a cargo truck, I'm all ears."


It's true, Bea's expressiveness is a disadvantage to hiding how she feels about things. The fact is that she's been on her own for so long, she's never had to really navigate the social waters, or worry how someone will take what she /says/ when they're already shouting 'monster!' at her.

All this is to outline how obvious it is, that when Dom takes her jacket off, Bea has an unguarded moment of admiration for the other woman. Her look is just a little too long to be completely innocent, but she covers with an embarrassed smile and just looks down at the cards. It's pretty strange actually. Bea has a sort of regal air about her, the aura of command hangs on her very naturally. Seeing her out of sorts is very revealing.

She shuffles the cards, her long fingers surprisingly dextrous. They look like they should be all bunched and tangled, but they work smoothly. The cards riffle in the quiet, dripping echo-y tunnel, and then she starts to deal for a game of Hold'Em.

"If I… form them, with the person they need to obey, they'll obey verbal commands pretty easily. New ones can't take very complicated orders, but you don't have to tame them. And for bullets? These little guys," she says, patting the pill bug. "They're perfect if you don't have any heavy lifting to do. And they ball up if you need to roll them around. Otherwise you want beetles. But you can only get one of them in a truck. Pills can double up most of the time."


Yet again, by looking at the other mutant's eyes Domino would have never known something was happening here. The expressions tell all, or at least strongly suggest all. She's not the most socially adept creature, herself. Having spent all but the last few months of her life in an underground facility with some of the worst humanity has to offer has done wonders to stunt that part of her evolution. It would be easy to misinterpret the situation if not for that note of embarrassment.

Of course, in the albino's mind she probably looks a sight having ran and crawled around in grimy and uncomfortably warm tunnels for the last hour or two. She glances down at herself, wondering if maybe she's as drenched in sweat as she feels like she is. "Your roaches keep one hell of a pace," she mutters. As if that would excuse everything.

The next time she makes this journey it will be with a canteen. Or four.

"I don't know about lifting but I'd like something that can take the offensive, if possible." Because c'mon, a friggin' war beetle would just be -fun.- Maybe she can find something interesting at an exotic pet store…

"So what's the deal, why are you camping out down here? Mutant Town is made for people like you—" Ehm. "-Us,-" she corrects with a tired sigh. A pale hand flops down on top of her cards, getting everything into order. "There's no shortage of roaches, either. I get that things are pretty horrible up there but by hiding out down here you're kind of avoiding the very fight you claim to support."


"That they do," Bea says with a quirked grin. "You must be in great shape to keep up with them." Cough. She organizes her cards as well. Casually, she adds, "On the offense, you'd want a beetle, instead. Definitely. Although depending on what your plan is, you may want to consider wasps or mosquitos. "Very mobile, very… effective."

Bea glances at the ceiling as if she might be able peer at the people above. "But I'm not like them, Domino. I'm not just a mutant anymore. I'm a terrorist. An insurgent. I could never take cover in M-Town and put all those people at risk." She frowns at her cards and moves one to another position in her hand.

"But I do go up from time to time. I just can't be on the frontline. I don't know what happens to them if I die… But if I hang back, mutants have an army fighting for them. It's a tactical choice, mostly. But it's hard to not be out there more to be honest." Bea watches Domino over her cards, waiting to see how the other woman plays."


Domino starts to answer easily enough, dismissively rolling her shoulders and saying "I'm not too" when the proverbial light clicks on within her mind. She actually looks down at herself -again- as if she doesn't understand what just happened or why! "..Oh. Uh…" Ding, hello timely distraction! "Wasps—! Yes, that sounds like a better idea. But..wait, they're more of a hive-sort, aren't they? You should work out some brochures or something. 'Find the right bug for you, apply today.'"

Oh yeah. Again, the news. Beatrice already showed up in the paper by name. "Fair point."

For the moment her hand is played in a similarly calculated matter. Odds are weighed in her mind, followed by either a 'best case scenario' response or a 'sucker bet' response. She doesn't pick her cards at random. She doesn't need to.

In actuality her luck would have already manifested, right down to how the deck had been shuffled a moment earlier. That same luck could well be what led her to keep some cash when taking to the tunnels. Someone's set to win a couple bucks tonight.

"Tell me about your 'friend,' Miss Green. What's her story, and why the heck did she call you 'mistress?' Is that some sort of a hive mindset at work, considering you to be the 'queen bee?'"

This is going to lead to some very strange conversations, she just knows it.


Bea's laugh when Domino mentions brochures is so relieved, it's almost musical. Relieved of awkward moments. Relieved of idleness. Relieved of loneliness. It's all in that sound. She runs her free hand through her hair, carefully navigating around her antennae, and thinks for a moment. Looking at the ceiling to ponder, she accidentally reveals her cards for a second. Bea is too expressive to pretend, so it was definitely an accident. She has a great hand, beatable by only a few counter-plays. One of which is in Domino's hand.

"So, it's a little complicated. Most of the hivers… ants, bees, termites… they need a queen. Their own queen. So I have to form her first. Then bring up the rest. She listens to me. They listen to her. It works." She shrugs and sips from her coke.

"The solos can be ordered around directly. Great. No problem. But wasps are weird. Because they live in a hive, but they operate independently a lot of the time. As long as I form at least three or four of them, they work great as a little team. But I don't make wasp queens anymore. They're goddamned crazy." Hello, Kettle? Yeah, this is the Pot. Um, you're black.

"So, Ms Green? She, and Herc, have been with me a really long time. Green when I was eight. Hence the very creative name," Bea says with a chuckle. "Herc was a little later. I was 12… I think? Anyway, after a few years, it seems like my ability changes them. It was gradual, over time, but they've been like this for years now, so the effect must have stabilized." She shrugs, honestly at a loss to explain it.

"And they don't see me as a 'queen' in the literal sense, but we care about each other. And I look after them. The closest I'll have to kids, probably. But then…"

Bea rolls her eyes, aware she's about to say something ridiculous. "I made the mistake of watching Frankenstein with them. And they started called me 'master'. And I said women are 'mistress', and they thought that was just the funniest thing." She starts giggling, and it seems so out of character. Just unabashed, unfiltered delight. She can't finish the rest of the story from laughing.


As they say (usually in regards to Poker) the trick isn't to play your hand, it's to play your opponent's hand. This becomes way easier the instant that Domino 'accidentially' catches a glimpse of Bea's cards. Oops. Well, this hand's outcome is already determined!

Not her fault! Really isn't!

"Some of them need to work on their listening skills," Domino flatly replies. "Couple of roaches still thought I looked like a meal deal despite her warning them off." Another card lands upon the table with a soft *tik* of lamenated stock slipping from a fingernail to the playing surface. "They won't be repeat offenders." Cause..y'know. They're all dead now.

"So..wait. Green and this 'Herc' guy..you actually 'made' them like how you blew upexpandedgrew that guy?" she asks while pointing to the pill bug.

Her question may have to wait. Bug-Lady is cackling. Just like that Domino is having one of those 'what the HELL am I doing?!' moments in life. (I'm playing cards in a storm drain with a giant fucking bug queen.) And as for the -other- subject matter now hanging between the two… As reluctant as she is to talk about herself she feels like it might be necessary before things go too far off the deep end.

"I tracked you down for something other than to ask about the bugs. When I heard the name 'Beatrice' I just …" She hesitates again, subtly biting the edge of her lower lip. It takes some effort to make eye contact but she manages it.

"My mother's name is Beatrice. ..Was. Hell, I don't know. It's not a common name though, I just ..had to find out, I guess. It's been that kind of week."

She won't say it unless she REALLY has to but going steady with a mutant bug that has the same name as her mother is pushing it a little even for her weirdness.


Idly, Bea is both interested in the conversation /and/ able to carry on with the game. She makes an excellent move, upping her bet by an appropriate amount to capitalize on the fact that she probably has the best hand. 'Probably.'

Recovering herself, Bea sobers quickly when she gets Domino's more serious tone. "I… oh. I'm sorry," she says, brows furrowed. She is genuinely concerned. It's all over her face.

She sighs and sits back in her chair. "Shit, we've been sitting here all this time. That must have been tearing you up. And me talking about kids. Shit. I am so sorry." Bea reaches out a hand to rest on Domino's free hand in comfort, but hesitates when she sees her own strange, spider hand hovering above Domino's pale but normal looking hand.

Bea just rests her hand on the table and smiles apologetically. "Have you… Oh of course. You haven't met," Bea says quietly, connecting the dots for herself. "How long have you been looking for her?"


"No harm, no foul," Domino tries to reassure the other mutant. "For what it's worth I've had a really sheltered life as well. I'm not what you would call an expert at social interaction."

Gambling, however… When Bea makes her move on the prize she plays it cool, looking over her hand, considering how she wants to play it out despite knowing -exactly- what's coming next…

Oddly enough, when she wins the first round it's probably a more gentle let-off than the other matter had been.

"Nah," she dismisses the matter with a passing expression to match. As her card is laid on the table she hesitates, seeing a more literal hand reaching out for hers. Curiosity gets the better of her, all the same. For as much as she knows about human anatomy, here is a hand with a whole -set- of extra knuckles. It's goofy! It's WEIRD. And it's -right here- where she can let that sense of curiosity a little bit further off of its leash.

Her remaining few cards are set aside, taking the other gal's hand in both of her own. It's a light touch, really just so she can move Bea's hand around to get a better look at the joints and nails under the light.

"I wasn't looking for her at all until I heard your name on the news. One in three point three million odds and change." Here she holds her palm flat against Bea's palm, smirking thinly at her. "Not much of a family resemblance here, huh. Don't worry about it. I'm not."


Bea sighs when she loses the hand, but doesn't seem that worried. Everyone's talking about the bank she emptied out back in Grover's Mill, anyway. She just shakes her head good-naturedly at the improbable loss.

Bea's hand is relaxed and warm in Domino's. She doesn't resist the turning inspection. In fact she looks down at her hand too. The knuckles and the backs of her hands are lightly armored in the silvery chitin, thinner than other places and probably not bulletproof, but a damn sight better than brass knuckles. As it turns in the dim light though, the chitin shows itself to shimmer slightly, like the gasoline sheen on water. On the other side, her palms are remarkably soft.

Bea shakes her head, "No, not much resemblance." She has a gentle smile, which becomes curious after a second. "One point… what million odds again? Did you look that up or something?"


As random chance would have it they've -both- been part of a recent bank heist. Dom just did a better job of staying off of the news!

She's not one for jewelry but there's something about the iridescent sheen of the chitin which seems like it would make for some very inspiring pieces, much like fragments of a clam shell. "Does it hurt having these parts growing out of your skin?" she idly wonders. Because from where she's sitting it looks like it would be all sorts of uncomfortable.

When another question is directed back her way she just automatically repeats the number, going into further detail. "One in three million three hundred twenty-six thousand nineteen." It's followed by a blink then a puzzled look back to Bea. "Didn't you know that?"

What happens when someone has a peculiar ability but is isolated from the rest of civilization? They come to believe their little quirk is normal and inherent in everyone else. She must have -really- been sheltered before!


"No, it doesn't hurt," Bea says with a smile, moving her hand to run Domino's fingertip along the place where skin meets chitin, close to her wrist joint. There isn't any chitin wherever her joints need to bend. "Not usually, at least. In my case though, instead of monthly cramps? I molt. And that /really/ hurts. But the worst of it is only a day or so."

Absorbing the detailed number, Bea's expression is curious. "No, I didn't know that, and I don't have the first idea about how to calculate it out." She's quiet, patient, not wanting to spook her own hunch.

Bea glances at the face up cards and then taps her fingertip on the undrawn deck. "I needed a queen to beat you in that round. How likely is this to be a queen?"


Ghostly white hands slip away from extra-jointed fingers as Domino leans back, looking down at the deck when it's tapped upon. The joints, the chitin, the -molting,- it's all forgotten as the challenge issued immediately springs another number into mind. "One in twenty-five thousand six hund—oh, no… Oh no. Oh my God," she suddenly groans while leaning forward to bury her face within her own two palms.

"My mutant ability is that I'm a nerd."

Now those pale fingers are sloooowly drifting straight down away from her face, a look of such absolute helplessness having taken up residence upon her bleached out features.

"The odds of a pipe bursting and flooding you out of this section is one in forty thousand nine-hundred and six. The odds of the police finding you here within the next two weeks is one in sixty-one thousand eight hundred and nine. The odds of me being in total -fucking denial- about all of this is a complete sucker bet."

Her palms -thwap- down upon the table as a heavy sigh escapes her lungs. "The numbers. The goddamn—What the hell kind of ability is THAT?! You can grow giant bugs! Cain can't be hurt! Raven can -change her own shape!- What do I get? Numbers! Fucking -Numbers!-"

A wide, pale stare is leveled upon Beatrice for a count of two before she blurts out "I hate math!"


Beatrice bites her lip as Domino is finally able to put a finger on what's happening. She has a sympathetic smile, not even able to laugh. She can see how upset Domino is and she's quiet for a long time. "Well ok, sure, math isn't that exciting, but at least you'll look great doing it," Bea says with a friendly wink.

She lets the curious description of Dom's friends go by without comment for now, and continues quietly, not wanting to upset her more. "But my follow up question," she says, tapping the cards again. "/Is/ it a queen? Would you bet me a thousand bucks right here, right now, that it is?"


Once more Dom runs fingers through her hair, her expression momentarily changing from frustration to disgust. She's going to fall asleep in the shower tonight, maybe after a couple of hours she'll feel like a person again. "Yeah..the world's most attractive accountant. There's a future worth looking forward to."

Credit to Beatrice though, she sure knows how to get the albino's brain moving again. Until the question is asked she's starting to recede back into her own thoughts. -After- the question is asked she's looking quite intently at the deck in question. Then she looks back up to Bea, almost confused. "I..what, -really?-"

Her eyes jump back to the table, darting from one minute detail to another as she processes the challenge. Puzzlement gives way to another frown. Then she's slowly shaking her head. "At those odds..? I'm not taking that bet."


No bet, so Bea nods and reveals the card. The queen of diamonds. "Oh, you saucy bitch," Bea says to the card in disbelief. She was absolutely sure it wouldn't be, since Dom didn't take the bet. But she can see something in her new friend's eyes, and Bea takes a shot in the dark.

Fishing in her pockets she produces a roll of cash in a rubberband. She unwinds it and thumbs out a thousand even, laying it flat on the table. Then she gestures at the cards, and the three queens that are out, face up on the grubby, scavenged table.

While she shuffles the remaining cards, she says, "There's only one left in here. The queen of spades. If the top card is a queen, I give you the thousand. If it's not, you pay a hundred. A ten to one payout." She finishes shuffling and holds it out for her to cut, or decline the bet.


There's that icy blue stare again, locked right onto the deck of cards. "That could have happened to anyone," Domino quickly (lamely) states.

Beatrice must think otherwise, as in a moment there's a cool grand sitting right there between them both. Not an insignificant amount of money! Another challenge is issued and already she's watching the deck as it's being shuffled anew. "I'd say that you've lost your mind but I'm probably a lot closer to that point than you are."

Seeing the deck there, just waiting for her to cut, somehow serves as a reminder of other scenarios which hadn't happened all that long ago. Just figuring in the number of times people have aimed a gun at her head and pulled the trigger since she had arrived to this city and that she's -still here-…

Her hesitation comes from that feeling of not wanting to know. Of feeling that she already knows Beatrice's suspicion is right. Still, her one hand reaches the deck. A dividing point is picked at random, then she stops. Fingers shift along the edge of the cards, picking a new spot to divide the deck from. Teeth once more catch a smoke grey lip as she separates the deck, trying and failing to not hold her breath.

One hundred out..or one thousand in. Which is it going to be..?


Watching Domino's process, Bea is equally tense. A shiver starts in her shoulders and runs ripples all the way down her eight foot long wings. "Well, I lost my mind a long time ago, so I'm good," Bea says with a shit-eating grin.

Bea waits patiently while Domino arranges the cards however she likes. Once she has the deck back, Beatrice nods to silently acknowledge the bet. She licks her lips while staring at the cards, hovers her hand over it, and asks, "When's the last time you lost a card game, Domino?"

And with out waiting for the answer, she flips the card and slaps it onto the table. Bea rockets to her feet, "The queen of /fucking/ spades!" she shouts, baldly please. She has to be the happiest person ever to have just lost a thousand dollar bet.


"Happy for you," Domino replies in a tense voice. She may not have fully acknowledged what Beatrice just said, joke or no joke. Killer anticipation is killer!

Another question. One which really requires her to think at a moment which she can't really think all that clearly—

And there it is. The fourth Queen in the deck. Sitting there, starting back at her as if saying 'hey, it's about damn time you called!'

Now it's her turn to shiver, learning first-hand what it really feels like when someone 'walks over your grave.' While Bea is beyond excited she remains utterly transfixed by a single playing card, completely sucker-punched by her own ability.


When her hands return back to the table it's for support. They're shaking! "I don't… -How-…" Blink. "What would you even -call- something like this? What..that I've got dumb luck? -Shit- this is a trip," she grunts while still staring at that damn Queen.

What is it about queens tonight, anyway? There are way too many queens in this hive, if you asked her what she thinks.

The pieces are starting to come together more readily now. Always managing to find a parking space. Hardly ever getting held up by a red light. Throwing a dart at a page full of personal ads. That her -own gun- malfunctioned when she was about to murder someone who happened to be workin on the same team as her—

"I think I'm gonna be sick."


"Hey," Bea says, walking around to place a comforting hand on Dom's shoulder, as they stare down at the offending card together. "Look at it this way. One, you got some cash! Two, it's not just math," Be says softly, grinning just a little bit. "The downside is that I'm never playing cards with you again. Not for money, anyway."

Bea squeezes her shoulder gently. "Come on. We should get you some fresh air. And with your luck you'd probably find us again by accident next time anyway, so I'll just show you the quick way in and out, ok?"


It sure appears that Domino's going to need the help in stepping away from the table, right up until she's on her feet and being turned away from it when one of her hands darts out and grabs the last bit of chocolate. There and gone in a flash, the remaining hunk devoured whole.

"Think I need to sleep on all of this," she grumbles while recollecting her shotgun (almost forgot all about it!) and the note to the Brotherhood. Boy, they're gonna get a good laugh out of this one. Already she can hear Raven's 'I told you soooo' in her ears.

"An express route will help. We'll probably be seeing more of each other. And..Beatrice?" she says with a healthy dose of apprehension.

"..Thank you."

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