1963-12-11 - Brother Poison
Summary: In which Elixir meets VX and offers him an introduction to the Brotherhood
Related: None
Theme Song: None
vx josh 

It's evening, and the Eight Ball is moderately busy. There's the bouncer, a very tall man who is more fur then skin and has tusks, and several very obvious mutants, but more then a few people who don't stand out at all. The mood is… dim. Since the assassination of Kennedy, and the burning of Sacramento, things have been tense around Mutant Town. No one is sure what to think, what to feel, what to DO.

Josh, though, he isn't someone who lets a moment pass. The young man is handsome, tanned, with golden hair and a smile that is bright and clean. He's dressed in easy clothes, a yellow hoodie and khaki slacks, and he's nodding to a circle of people in the corner. He's not speaking quietly, but he's not addressing everyone at once, either.

"That's the thing, friends. Sacramento was only the beginning. Its good we feel safe here, good we keep eachother safe here— but we're a tiny island in a sea of millions of them, and they look at us and they just… wait. Wait for an excuse. Sooner or later, they will come to a solution. Sooner or later, they'll decide THE solution is not that there is 'a mutant problem', but that 'mutants are THE problem'."

Josh turns and regards an old man whose arm is in a sling next to him and has a black eye and several bruises, and he nods slowly, "This is Henry. Some of them beat him up because he can read thoughts. That's a gift, it should be a blessing: a way for people to come closer, to be better, a way for people to be better people…"

Sighing, Josh lifts up his beer and takes a swig, shaking his head.


VX enters the pool hall and looks around slowly his eyes narrowing to slits as he peers through the smoke. It is not his first time in here but he is far from a regular, up until now he has always had things keeping him away like the fact that he was almost always working and that he lived in a much nicer area. His mutant blood hidden from everyone including his closest friends and especially his former collegues.

He is dwarfed by the bouncer and several of the larger patrons of the bar, his lean muscles nothing against their bulk and height. He cuts through the dense smoke filled environment slipping easily through the patrons, his leather coat causes the smoke to waft slightly behind him. He arrives just in time to hear Josh speak, leaning against the bar and signalling for a scotch as he listens in. He turns glass in hand as he finishes speaking.

"Some of them have already decided we are the problem, or just that we are a conveniant scapegoat." He shakes his head "Public opinion is already not friendly towards us, and it will only take a single thing to turn them all against us. And despite all of our powers there are only a few of us that will not fall to enough bullets coming our way." He takes a sip of his drink before he continues, his piercing green eyes looking over Henry "As hard as it is to see now Henry is one of the lucky ones. Not everyone gets away from the people attacking them. And we cannot defend them, many of them have only just figured out they are mutants and don't have any idea where to look for help. Afterall the regular avenues are not safe to us either."


"It's true." Josh nods his head slowly, "There's too many of them, too few of us, and we're fractured. If they get enough guns and torches they can eliminate us. The Final Solution. The Nazi's decided the Jews were their problem, and so made concentration camps— and then began exterminating them. They're already… urging us to gather here, in Mutant Towns. And one has burned. But we are not baselines. If we stand together…"

Josh reaches a hand over and lays it on Henry's shoulder, looking to VX, "But you should have hope. We are stronger, together. More powerful then they can ever know. If we work together, we can be stronger then even they can imagine." A golden light radiates out of his skin and spreads over the old man: and in that moment, every bit of Josh's skin turns gold. Not orange, not yellow, *gold*. Metallic, shiny gold. And the glow spreads. its quick: the bruises, the black eye, they vanish. It takes only moments later before the old man is lifting his hurt arm up out of the sling and he is healed. Heck, the old man seems more… vital, younger even, then he did.

"I'm Elixir. I was a Doctor, once. A surgeon. I devoted my whole life to healing: then when I discovered I could *truly* heal, they fired me, my family, my friends, abandoned me, ostrasized me. Took everything from me. But that's fine: that life was a lie. I thought I was human then. I didn't realize I was better."

Josh claps Henry on the back and grins, and hands him over a fiver, "Go have a couple drinks on me, friend. Enjoy your health, and think about it. Look me up sometime if you want to know more."

He takes anothe swig from his beer, and his eyes settle upon VX, his head tilted to the side. He's still gold, too.


He nods his head to Josh's first point "The fact they are already centralising us does not bode well. Next they will want us to all wear symbols of our status everywhere we go." He takes another small sip of his scotch his other hand dropping to his waist where he normally carries a gun, a small unconcious comfort gesture.

His eyes widen as he watches Josh's power in action, his own powers have only ever been used for violence despite the fact their are ways they could be used to benifit mankind. His entire face takes on a look of wonder, his hand unconciously twitching wanting to reach out and touch the golden skin.

The wonder dies from his face as he hears the story, it is quickly replaced with just as obvious anger. "But all the things you could do. The lives you could save. The work you could do for massive trauma cases, for veterans…" he shakes his head with barely suppressed rage "Some of us I can understand their fear, I do not agree with it but i can understand it. But gifts like yours they only stand to gain by utilising it." He finishes his drink and places it down with more strength than is strictly needed "We are better than them. And that is why they fear us now. They see that we are the next stage in evolution."


Nodding his head both knowingly, and with encouragement, Josh's expression says that he has thought all of the man's thoughts himself, and agrees wholeheartedly, "If I was anywhere near Dallas, you know, I could have saved the President when he was shot. Even after he was shot." He lets that sink in: he could have saved a shot to the head? Josh seems convinced he could.

"I would have, too, if only to show the baselines what they are turning their back from." He steps away from the table and approaches to where VX is, nursing his beer slowly, "All I ever wanted to do was save lives. But now, look at me." Josh gestures to himself, and shrugs.

"It'll take at least a day for the gold to fade. So I will, outside this place right here, have to hide. If I fail, someone will throw something at me. Yell at me. Curse me. Because I healed a man. You know, I healed a man's wife once, and after, he called me a freak."

Josh offers his golden hand to VX, and he flashes a grin, "Like I said, I'm Elixir. You're right. We are homo superior. They are the neanderthals. I don't begrudge them their inferiority, and I wouldn't kill anyone who did not raise arms against me or mine, but not because I care about them… but because *we* come from *them*, still. So for the sake of future generations of our people…"


"Think of how they limit themselves with their fear. He may not have ever even needed your gifts if he had a few of us in his security detail. Instead they keep us roped up, caged in a prison with no walls." He holds up another finger to the bartender asking for another of the same to be slid his way, he pulls out a few notes and places them on the bar.

"When I look at you now i see something more than you could have ever been in that hospital at the same time I see you are not being used to what could have been your highest potential. You are hear with us, the vulnerable and the opressed. If there is anyone who needs your gifts more than us; i don't know of them." He runs one of his hands through his messy head of hair "You are still saving lives. They are just our lives rather than theirs."

He accepts Elixers hand, gripping it firmly and shaking it a couple of times before letting the man go. His hands are calloused, the hands of a working man. As he moves his jacket hangs open for a moment and his pistol can be seen at his hip. "I am VX. Don't much go by my old name anymore." He sits back and pulls his coat more securely around himself again "I was a police officer. I wanted to protect people, wanted nothing more than to serve. And then I saw some of my fellow officers abusing the trust some young mutants put in them. I never wanted to hurt anyone especially my collegues. But now I see the world differently."


"I'm not saving enough." Josh says with a sigh and some frustration, "I can only be where I am. How many died in Sacramento? Its not clear, I've heard anywhere from a dozen to hundreds. The news isn't clear, but its not like they are very interested in reporting accurately either the population of the Mutant Town there or the deaths."

For his part, Josh's grip is firm, but his hands soft. He's a surgeon: his hands are tools of absolute precision. "And sometimes, I've had to do things I'd rather not do. They started the war, VX. We didn't. Its important to remember that. Its not about our personal issues: my life lost, that's just my career and family. But that didn't start it. No. Sacramento started it. That changed this from a civil rights issue into a war, a war of their making."

"And if a healer says its time for war, something is wrong with the world. But sometimes solving these problems can't be done with words." Josh finishes his beer, and gestures to the Bartender with a golden grin, "Whiskey, double." He looks back to VX then, "But some of us are not content to sit here and wait. Wait here roped up, caged here — as you say. Have you heard of the Brotherhood? I've been hearing some interesting things…"


"You are of course right. It wasn't the effect of being a mutant in of itself that bothered me. It wasn't the fear of people finding out and losing everything. It was what i saw going on in the world around me." He nods his head "Sacremento was just a flashpoint. Something like that was always going to happen. And it is going to happen again if we do nothing to protect ourselves. To take ourselves out of the public and political crosshairs."

"Yeah I have heard of them. Hard not to being a police officer." He takes a large sip from his drink, clearing his throat as it burns down his throat. He lowers his voice just a touch before speaking again "I have been looking around, but there is only so much you can look around for people like that and still fly under the radar yourself. I am sure you understand what i mean, I don't need more attention coming my way then what I draw."


"How do we do that?" wonders Josh thoughtfully, lifting up his delivered whiskey and tossing it back with a long gulp, without a cringe or the like. "We can't disappear, we can't hide. I mean, some of us can. I can, IF I commit to spending the rest of my life not healing anyone— to let this gift go to waste. To live with all those lives I could help but didn't. If I do that, I can hide. Short of that?"

Josh gestures around, nodding to various of the obvious mutants, "How do they get out of the public crosshairs?"

But more softly, Josh nods his head slowly, "I know people. Or, people know me. Being a healer opens certain doors that are not as readily opened for everyone else: who doesn't want someone on hand who can say, heal a wayward bullet if a certain group gets into a conflict with some Humans First thugs? If you wanted, I could reach out. Make an introduction."


"I could hide if i really wanted to. I have no real physical manifestations of my…mutation. But i do not want to. None of us should have to let our gifts go to waste. Not when there is so much we could all gain from each other." There is still anger simmering in his eyes as he talks about this, the anger he has long suppressed slowly bubbling under the surface "I don't want to go short of that, and I do not want to get out of the public crosshairs by dissapearing. If it was so easy I would say we secede. Create a mutant state."

He watches Josh curiously, resolve hardening his eyes as he makes his revelation. "I suppose that you are better than just about any street doctor could ever hope to be. And they could trust you not to betray them." He carefully watches Elixer still not entirely convinced this is not a ludicrously complicated plan to bring him in, but this could be his only chance. "If you could reach out for me. Find me a way to make contact i would appreciate it. I am sick of running. Sick of lying low."


Nodding his head slowly, Elixir smiles a golden smile, though its a mild one. "I agree completely: even if we could hide, we simpyl shouldn't have to. But I don't know if seceeding would work. That would just result in us being nuked. We need to be everywhere: we need to be their brothers, their sisters, their coworkers. They have to know— and fear— they can't avoid us, only then can we force what is our due, our rights."

But he does nod more seriously, "That I am, that I am. I might not agree with every single thing the Brotherhood does, but they are my people. Still, though."

He tilts his head to the side as he regards the other fellow, "I need a little bit of an … offer. I know some of us find it really private, but if I'm going to approach to them I need to know something about you. You're an ex-cop. But what can you do? Don't feel the need to oversell it or undersell it— the Brotherhood is for all mutants, I know."


"Yes you are right. In creating a utopia for mutants we would really just be gathering all of us up into one place for them to take care of at their leisure. Still I cannot let things stand as they are. With us being picked off one by one whenever the humans feel the need or think they have an excuse."

He pauses for a moment, his expression cooling. But slowly he begins to speak. "I do not fear my brothers and sisters knowing my power. I only feared the reactions people would have out there." He looks towards the door. "I create poisons, toxins, venoms and acids inside my body and can expel them. I can also conciously create and expel gases, including neurological and nerve agents. Unlike you I am created to hurt not heal."


Curious, Josh tilts his head to the side and extends a golden hand, nodding his head slightly. He says two things of note: "I have deactivated my pain receptors, but am aware— completely aware— of what happens to my hand. Show me." He nods his head to his hand, seeming quite serious: poison or acid or somehow do something harmful to him.

But he adds, softly, tone grave, "But do believe me, it is easier to hurt then it is to heal. There is a very delicate balance that keeps hearts beating. The sodium-potassium ion channels are regulated carefully to keep your heart beating, but it takes very little to disrupt and block that system. I do not like to do it, but any surgeon knows as well how to kill as he does to cure."


Poison. Most poisons he knows need to be inhaled or will not cause immediate effect even if they make it through the skin. At least not the type of damage that is easily seen. Same goes for a lot of venoms and toxins. And he certainly is not going to use anything that goes through the air as a vector in a crowded bar, so that rules out his most potent weapons. "Ok I will keep it isolated and small."

He concentrates on the tip of his index finger, a clear pungent fluid quickly gathers harmlessly on his skin. He presses it to the golden skin of the mans offered hand. The skin immediately smokes and blisters the flesh peeling away as the acid takes hold. VX watches the effect with obbvious fascination "At least you have the option to heal. This can only do one thing."


True to form, Josh shows no sign of feeling any pain, he simply regards it curiously, with a tilt to his head. He's observing the effect beyond simply sight: he sees every cellular and biological reaction to the chemical. The damage is allowed for a few moments, and then the golden light infuses his hand and he heals the damage done to him, nodding his head when tissue seals up again.

Elixir seems satisfied by this demonstration, "We all have our gifts. The question is, how to best use them? Are you sure, though, it can do only one thing? I know a great deal about biochemistry and bodies. What is a poison? What is a drug? What is the line between a poison and a drug? Often, its a question of dosage. Some toxins are some of the most important bases for medicines that we know. You create bioactive chemicals, but you're defining it entirely negatively. Are you sure you couldn't produce a sedative? A pain-reliver? Let's say you and I were in a crowd."

Josh takes a long breath, "Many injuries. I lay hands to read body-state, and I say, 'pain', to one, and I look to another, 'blood clotting', and I look to another, 'sedative'. Are you sure you can only hurt? Drugs are poisons in certain doses. And they help people in other doses."


"I have though of it. And i could perhaps even do it. But i cannot control the dosages that accuratly yet and i can only create compounds that I have memorised. So while I could possibly make sedatives and the like, i would need someone to extract it and properly apply it. Or like you say i am just as likely to kill someone as if i had used a toxin." He nods his head. "So while i could potentially use it to help treat injuries, left to my own devices it would almost inevitably kill. I am not a trained docter nor anaesthetist."

He looks to the side at some of the other mutants gathered around. "With the right books and learning materials around i could help you make whatever you need. At least I think I could. It is not different to what i do now. But so far? It has only been used to kill."


"Yet." Elixir nod shis head slowly, "Its not important where you are now, its what your potential is. That's what is important for our people: look forward. I think there's more possibility to your ability then you know. Don't get me wrong, I'll tell my friends what you can do now— but this is about the future. Like I said, even for me, hurting is easier then healing. So don't discount yourself. But still, an ex-cop with built in weapons?"

Pushing away from the bar, Josh reaches out to grab a napkin and pulls a pen from his pocket, scribbling a number on it, "Call this number. Leave contact information. I'll get in touch with people I know: vouch for you as one of us. Make an introduction." He offers his hand to shake VX's hand again.


"We are all about potential huh?" He stands up slowly "All we can do is look foward and try to make a better world for all of mutant kind. A world where our children will hopefully not face the same trials that we do." He shakes his head "I would never discount myself. If i did i would not be looking for the brotherhood." He chuckles deeply "Well and other weapons. Nearly everyone is still vulnerable to bullets."

He takes the napkin and looks at the number. "Not a problem. But I stay mobile, my information will change. Is this a fixed number?" He holds out his hand to accept Josh's "I look foward to it. And to seeing just who else is willing to fight for our future."


"It's a secure number. Attached to no one, leave a message for Elixir, all is good." That said, Josh nods his head firmly, "We are fighting for our future, friend. But, good meeting you. I'll make some calls."

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