1964-01-16 - A Big Deal Waiting for the Dealer
Summary: Pepper goes to her regular Vigor dealer and finds another interested party there — Quentin. They discuss morality.
Related: All the Vigor logs
Theme Song: None
quentin pepper 


Quentin had been hearing about this new drug for weeks along the grapevine. He'd visit the dives and the alleys, the hangs and the clubs. The people around Warhol's place were all aflutter about it, some talk about touching the divine and getting 'meta', whatever that meant exactly.

Quentin was intrigued, though,b ecause they said it was special for mutants. More intense, different somehow. He always liked a new high, a new challenge. He got bored so god damn easily, after all, with the world never quite enough for his genetically enhanced neurons. He'd tried every chemical and herbal high known to man, at least those widely available in the states.

Hell, he had to try it just to say he'd tried it. Had to keep up his degenerate cred.

So, here he is, sitting on a cracked couch in a strange apartment, a cigarette dangling from his lips, eyes closed as he meditates, floating about an inch off the cushion in a lotus position. High as a kite, but only on a bit of weed and amphetamine. At the moment.

*

Normally, Pepper is quite alone when she comes here. Two minutes, in and out. The amount of money she pays the man for a steady, unquestioned supply was worth him making special time for her. It was almost the start of the work week. She needed more. Even if she took a hit about an hour ago, so the need for it is nothing at this point, she knew that would change.

So, the woman who is the exact opposite looking of almost every New York street druggie steps into the ragged old apartment. She's in a black coat which had a hood which she's just pushed back from her lovely, somewhat pale face. She didn't expect anyone else to be here, so she didn't think she needed to keep up her disguise. She jumpsa bit as she sees someone else, not a face she recognizes. Her pale eyes narrow at Quentin, almost debating backing out the door the way she came in. Maybe he didn't notice her. It would be better if she wasn't seen. So, she begins to take a few steps backwards…

*

Quentin opens a single eyelid, showing a vivid green eye, "No, no, don't run away. You're interesting. Sit," he says, gesturing to the spot next to him on the couch. "You don't smell like piss and you look like you actually know the name of m ore than one clothing designer. God knows I get little enough of civilization whenever I'm down here in the dregs," he says.

"I'm guessing you might be here for something a little special? I've heard about this Vigor, but haven't gotten to try it yet. I'm about to get my first dose. What about you? Are you a newbie, trolling for a sweet new thrill, or an experienced degenerate here for her latest fix?" he says boldly.

*

Caught. Trapped. Pepper freezes just inside the doorway as that single eye opens and looks her over. She definitely didn't look like the regular folk here, even if she was wearing a plain black, long coat, it was carefully tailored to her slender frame and the fabric was of an excellent quality. The little hints that this is a woman of money and style. Her red hair is combed back neatly in that high pony tail and her make up is done just so. She looks like she should be in the secretary pool on wall street, not in some druggie den.

Heart in her throat, Pepper takes another few steps forward, givign him a slightly nervous smile. "I don't…know that it is safe to answer that question. What if you are a cop? I… I was just visiting my friend, George. But clearly he's not home. I… I should go." And her words were neat. A neutral, upper class accent, clipped and middle America.

*

Quentin laughs, "Well, first of all, I'm not even twenty, so I'm definitely not a cop, especially since I'm obviously a mutant. Mutant cops are few and far between, although I'm sure they exist, self-loathing and pathetic in their own little hells," he says.

"My name is Quentin Quire, known to some as Kid Omega. I'm a futurist and a genius and a freak. I read minds, dazzle senses and break barriers. Usually while I'm having as much fun as I can conceivably manage," he says. "You're definitely not from around here. That's okay. You came to an exciting place, looking for excitement. Well, here I am."

"Tell me about what it's like."

*

Mind reader? Pepper's eyes go even wider, but she's not trying to escape any longer. She studies him for a long few moments, hugging her coat about her as she tries to ward off the nerves. "There… there are some. There might even be a… mutant human police… task force, if you read the papers." Hell, if one read the papers about it, Pepper's *face* was all over them. Helping Wilson and Vanessa Fisk fundraise for this task force. She was one of their greatest volunteers and proponents. She then looks away from him, towards the hall, hoping George may come out soon.

"I…I'm Pepper. And it's quite… crass to be talking about drugs. If you haven't taken it before, you shouldn't. It's… very unhealthy. It'll make you sick and you can't get off the stuff. If you don't need it, Quentin, leave. You will be better off for it." She was *so* good. So innocent. Still fighting the good fight.

*

Quentin knows who she is, fairly quickly. He does keep up on current affairs and has an eidetic memory to boot, so it isn't hard to connect the fact with the headlines with the legs with the obvious hunger for chemical mind expansion.

"Don't presume to lecture me, Miss Potts. I'm a supergenius, after all, and can only be as addicted as I choose to be addicted. Should something chemically snare my biology, I'm more than capable of designing a chemical of my own to unsnare it. If I desire. I find addiction to be quite pleasant, personally. I enjoy the urgency - I tend towards placidity otherwise, it's nice to have a little push," he says.

"Crass just means offending to common manners. Well, I'm not common. I'm exceptional. I have little interest in rules. Nor should you. If you wanted to be good and pure, you should have stayed where you were, in whatever faceless homogeneous hamlet where your good farmer parents no doubt rutted to produce you. Good stock, it seems, you came out awfully pretty and smarter than they expected, I suspect. But you want more. That's why you're here."

*

He used her last name. Pepper sputters, just a bit, half choking on her own words as she's about to ask how he knew, but he said he could read minds? Maybe that's how. Pepper frowns deeper, letting him ramble on in that overly energetic, intelligent manner he had. She still looked like a skittish mouse ready to scurry out of the room at any moment. But she *needed* this week's supply. There was no turning back now. She breathes out slowly, trying to calm her nerves about all of this even as he weirdly compliments her.

"…N-no. I am here because someone unwisely dosed the water supply of the National Guard and several volunteers when we were working on evacuating the city. I was one of those volunteers. Until we can figure out a cure for this addiction, well… I don't have time to put my life on hold. So, I… I simply need my pills. Then I will be gone. I did not choose this and you shouldn't either. It's awful."

*

Quentin smirks, "Is it really awful, though? You don't enjoy it at all? Not even a little bit? I find that hard to believe," he says. "People go through a lot of hoops to find supplies of this stuff. It isn't easy. I've withdrawn from substances before and it was unpleasant, no doubt, but doable. You don't seem to be lacking in willpower - I can sense a strong resolve and backbone inside that pretty little head of yours," he says.

"So some part of you, even if it's a part of you that doesn't like to admit it, is enjoying this experience. Do you suffer from a great deal of repression, as the psychologists call it? You seem like the type. Stiff upper lip, everything just so, never a hair out of place. The drug give syou an excuse to be sloppy."

*

"That… I… wouldn't ever… Of course I'm not!" Pepper protests. She entirely protests FAR too much. She's exactly the type. Picture perfect in every way, glamor girl for the front page when needed, perfect secretary, never a nail broken or hair out of place. Pepper huffs a bit more and steps farther inside, pale eyes flickering down the long hall as she calls, "George, I'm here with the payment… I… I would very much appreciate you coming out now, George!" But there was no sign of him, the man probably high as a kite himself somewhere.

So, she ends up looking back to Quentin, her eyes narrowing on the strange young man, shoulders and back stiffening even more. "It is awful. I cannot… I have to be very careful about what I say when I take it or… I brain wash people, and that is awful. And without it… well, you get very sick, very fast. I tried to get off, twice… I thought I'd just… die each time. It's a horrid drug. Don't do that to yourself. You can be better than it."

*

Quentin laughs, "You brainwash people? Really? Do you use actual soap when you do it?" he smiles. "I would very, very much like to see that. What sorts of things do you make them do? Do you forbid them to wear white after Labor Day?" he says.

"Don't worry about George, I think he took a rather stiff dose of something, not to mention that rather scandalously clad young woman who crawled out of here just before you arrived. I think he's feeling rather drained," he says. "You should let him have some beauty sleep. That's why I was meditating. I could have robbed him, of course, and just taken what I wanted. We still can if you like. Whawt do you say? Want to get a dose for free?" he says, eyes sparkling as he tempts her.

*

The redhead looks even MORE stiff as he comments about the white after labor day thing. "That is an outdated rule and it depends on the shade of white." Pepper grumbles, still huffing a little bit. He was insufferable! She settles her hands on her hips, no longer crossed arms, as she's feeling a bit more upstart stubborn than at the top of this conversation. Fear has melted into annoyance. "And no. I just say things and people have to do them. It's quite…Unnerving. I dislike it." She really was a goodie two shoes! All that power and she's trying to push it away!

Then he's going on about getting a dose for free and her expression darkens a bit, "What? No! No…then he'll be pissed. He… he won't keep selling, not to us, at least. We have a business arrangement and it's perfectly fine. I do not wish to risk that."

*

Quentin shakes his head, "I can make sure he never knows it's you. Just a little tinkering with his memories. Think about how much money you already throw down the drain on him. It's not your fault you got addicted, after all. Why shouldn't you take a shortcut when you can?" he says, enjoying the chance to play tempting devil.

"You say the rule about what colors you wear are outdated, but you cling to notions of morality that you've long since discarded whether you want to admit it or not. The only person you're hurting is yourself with all this denial and self-mortification. You should find a way to enjoy yourself, darling, it's so much more pleasant," he says.

*

"…Morality is NOT outdated. Morality isn't some.. Fashion, Quentin. It's far more important than that! It's…ethics. It's standards of living. It's the difference between being a good and a bad person! I…I'm sorry. I am not giving up my *morals* because of some strange notion of fun. I can have plenty of fun and still be a good person." Pepper insists, still quite stiff and straight shouldered, watching him with rather shocked eyes and now a more deeply uncomfortable look. Just how corrupt was this young man? Was he insane?

*

Quentin raises an eyebrow, "Really? So, you're honest, then? You've told your friends, your colleagues, your coworkers about your trips down here? Invited them to come and see you while you were in the throes of your using? Or warned them away, lest they show up by surprise and end up a victim of your mind controlling ways. Why is it so bad for you to brainwash someone, by the way? What kind of things are you telling them to do that are so terrible that you feel such guilt?"

*

"…I-I've told the…the important ones. We are working on finding a cure for this addiction. They know we're trying. So… yes. I… I'm not lying. Not exactly. And I'm very careful where I use. No one should be seeing that. And, finally, taking away someone's free will is *awful*. Whether you are telling them good or bad things to do, everyone should have the willpower to make their own decisions. That's why this… power… It's so horrible. Because it takes that freedom away." Pepper actually seems quite passionate about this, her bloodshot blue eyes shining a bit more, glimmering with her determination about it all. And her shame. All of this is deeply shameful.

*

Quentin settles down and manages to keep a straight face, although he's almost hysterically laughing on the inside. My, what quaint notions this one had. Seems a shame to waste such an ability on her. But maybe that was the point, that whatever she was trying so desperately to control was working its way out.

"I wonder," he says. "It seems like it's different for everyone. THey say it depends on the personality, what kind of abilities you get. Now, I can control someone' smind with relative ease. Make them forget, make them do what I want, get them to dance to my string-pulling. Used to do it to my parents all the time, it's partly why they disowned me. >That and the fact that they're awful, awful bigots," he says.

"Part of me wants to free you. To take away all this…pain. All this regret. How much you torment yourself, it almost makes me sad, if I had tendencies towards maudlin pity for other people," he says. "I wonder what you could accomplish without such petty things tying you down…" he says.

*

As he considers that, her eyes narrow tighter on him. Pepper is now almost tempted to take her last dose just in case she needs to defend herself, fingertips reaching into her pocket for that single little blue pill she has there. But she doesn't take it yet. SHe just watches him, wary and a little scared now. "Don't…Don't you dare. I like my life and I like who I am. I…I don't need freed from anything. I have a good job with good people. Nothing I do is petty. So…just…leave me and my life alone, thank you very much!:"

*

Quentin likes the fear, too. It's amazing the way you could play with people, even without using your powers. Just a little nudge, a few observations and this woman was trembling and almost contemplating doing something far darker than her morality would allow - perhaps even indulging the very abilities she claimed to loathe to keep him at bay.

Delightful.

But then there's a low groan from the other room as Gary awakens, "Who's next?" he calls out blearily. Quentin gestures, "Please, be my guest. I"m in no rush."

*

The redhead's fist tightens around that pill in her pocket, ready to pull it out the moment she might need. The moment her mind felt out of sorts. How did one know that one's mind was being toyed with? Pepper takes in a ragged breath and tries to shake that fear free, blue eyes narrowed, almost begging him not to try and yet preparing for if he did.

Fortunately, she is saved by their dealer. She relesaes a breath of relief, looking back at the hallway. "…T-thank you. I…I did have an appointment." Like she was here for some damn business meeting. With that, she smoothes out her hair and turns on the ball of her foot, striding down the hall towards that back room where she can get what she needs.

*

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