1964-09-08 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Summary: Bruse is beset upon by the company he did not want, and a request he can't walk away from.
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caliban bruce 

Bruce is has left Stark Industries. Despite having the alias and security being familiar with 'Bruce Baker,' Bruce never feels safe entering or exiting the building. He always breathes a sigh of relief once he gets a couple of blocks away. He smiles and looks around. This are going better than he had hoped. The incident at Luke's bar had him nervous, but there doesn't seem to have been much damage, and no police involvement, thank goodness.

Caliban was laying in wait. It's honestly what he did best. He was quiet too but there was that feeling of dread that traveled with him; a harbinger of ill intent like crows gathering before a storm. It was a feeling that He Who Was Terror couldn't shake and sometimes that worked against him. A voice that whispered like gravel over slate, though perfectly polite asked, "Mr. Baker… You're just in time." His pallid, scarred skin was a jarring contrast to the darkness that seemed to thicken around the albino mutant.

Bruce jumps and grows cold. He can feel that dangerous adreneline, and he takes a deep breath to maintain his calm while he tries to find the source of the voice and to main his calm after successfully finding the voice. This is not a big deal. Calm. He's had worse surprised he's managed by far. Calm. But, this guy is not a barking dog or a kid on a bike running into him. He gets right to the point. "Who are you? Why are you here? I'm really in rather a hurry." This is a little less polite than Bruce is usually. He pushes up his glasses and looks at the door.

Caliban could taste Bruce's anxiety like a shark sensing blood in the water. There was that faint grin that wanted so badly to push him; see how far he could drive the knife where fear forced reaction. Not tonight. Tonight, oddly enough, was business. "I could tell you my name is Caliban, but that won't make any difference to you would it? If it did? Well I might be quite honoured." Unless Bruce kept up on the events of Mutant Town or all things Subterranean for some reason Caliban might go unnoticed. "I've come… to ask a favour of you."

"Caliban." The name rolls off his tongue. There is no recognition in his eyes. "It does make a difference. The fact that you're giving me a name makes a difference. " Bruce stands back a few feet from the strange man. "But you know my name already. Should /I/ be honored? And I'm sure I am not in any position to do any favors. " He curious. "How do you know my name and what is it you think I can do for you?" His stance is tense as though he might be ready to run.

Caliban tilted his head back to potentially view the scientist from many angles. "Perhaps. As much as I would like to say 'yes' I did not come here to stand on pretense. You are a very… interesting individual. What I need to know is do you have the capacity… or want to look past the end of your nose?" Apparently he'd either done his research or he's been keeping tabs on people for a while. "For their safety, maybe yours, the question is, are you willing to help someone that needs it or do we have to become uncivil? You don't strike me as an uncivil man but I've dealt with so many in the last two weeks I'm tired of dancing around the issue. There is someone I believe you may be able to help."

Bruce says, "I don't think we should become uncivil. You wouldn't like me when I am uncivil." Bruce looks around to see who might be listening. "I really think you might have the wrong guy, though. " That anxiety spikes as he holds out hope that Caliban really does have the wrong guy. "I'm sure there are a lot of Bruce Bakers. Who do you want me to help with? I can't do much." He holds out his hands and indicates the run down building. I'm not a man of means."

Caliban grins a bit wider with a wry amusement. "I don't think we want either of us to be. I am not here to… make your life difficult. In spite of my, hmm, outward appearance I have not come for your means. I have come to you seeking a man of science and struggle. I have ears all over the places people in glass towers do not wish to speak of, but tonight, there is a young person that is in need of help. I seek not what you have but what you might be willing to offer."

Bruce wets his lips. This guy is going to draw attention. "Okay. Come in and tell me exactly what you want. If I can help, I'll help. " A young person. He always was a big softy for kids…or a little softy depending on his form. Caliban has little goinf for him in Bruce's eyes except for one thing. He doesn't appear to be military or law enforcement. He heads to the door about to escort Caliban to his tiny apartment.

Caliban seems to back down on the intensity level after some agreement was reached. There is a nod of gratitude as the albino followed. His steps were quiet and though n one seems to ask it of him, feet are wiped before entering. There were rules to hospitality. Few he had previously respected, but there were rules none the less. He was, likewise, holding all conversation towards business until there was a closed door. "You are, most kind, or at least unbelievably reasonable." the words, though sounding through sand and gravel, seemed genuine.

"I'm crazy," mumbles Bruce. "That's what I am, asking you in here." He rubs his hands together nervously and walks across to the sink, before turning around and looking at Caliban. He tilts his head to get a better look. "Are you one of them? A mutant?" Then his inherent politeness kicks in. "Have a seat. DO you want a glass of water or anythng?" He only has two chair for the small table. He waits until Caliban answers before he sits. "And, tell me how I am supposed to help someone."

Caliban looked around and replies thoughtfully, "You have, a lovely home. And yes, you may be crazy, but I assure you no more than any of the rest of us aware of the world. But, yes, I am a Mutant. I lead the survivors that lived through the fires that burned under Mutant Town and other places polite people don't wish to speak of." Pale eyes look to Bruce as a seat is pulled out and cowl pulled back revealing a very bald man still healing from several burns. "Those of the surface care very little for those they walk over; ignore. What do you know of what has transpired recently, may I ask?"

Bruce's sharp brown eyes linger over Caliban's features and the burns. There's no reaction or judgment to the revelation that Caliban is a mutant. Bruce is not in the position to judge. "I'm new to town. I don't know much, but you don't have to so dramatic or mysterious. Horrible things happen all over. If someone is hurt, I'll try to help, just tell me straight up. " He doesn't sit yet, but walks closer to Caliban. "Clearly there was a fire and some of you were hurt." He reaches out towards Caliblan's burns, but doesn't touch. "Aren't there doctors who will help? Finding me specifically seems to be going a little far."

Caliban tilts his head. "I'm sorry, the unease is a habit of my condition. When the fires are set by one's own people? You tend to look at other… venues." Sitting back in his chair folding his fingers. Violet eyes choked of any genuine colour watched the humble homeowner. "We are not a united people. We are divided. The surface and those below? Hmmm" The look Bruce was given suggested more of a story there. He was getting the sumamry. "Those from teh surface came for us and attacked us. What they don't consider is when they invaded our home there are refugees there from the surface that are children and that has consequences. I come to you because several are injured which we have managed. One of them has become fairly…unstable." Pausing Caliban sighs seekign words other than, "To be put plain he is combustable. While I do not wish to see us lose a part of Hell's Kitchen? I don't wish to lose the young man either. The fever won't break and he's been quite inconsolable. We may be a lot of things and I will not ask you think much of me, but given this situation it is because you are so far out of its epicenter that I come to you."

Bruce now sits and runs a hand through his already messy hair. "You have a kid who is so sick he's going to blow up and you chose me because…" He gives a big sigh. "You know who I am and what might happen if something or someone explodes near me, right?" His eyebrows crash together in a frustrated frown. "A fever…I assume you tried all the usual things." He's not really that kind of doctor. But, in someways he's better than that kind of doctor. He stands up again and goes to the kitchen. "I assume you want me to go now?" He pulls out a black bag from a cupboard and sets it on the counter. He opens a cabinet above him and takes a few bottles and adds them to the bag. "What are his other symptoms? If he's a mutant, what is his mutation?"

Caliban looks at Bruce with a respect,perhaps a sympathy. Should he be dragged into this? No, but he was now and perhaps the strange underdweller knew that. "I know you'll survive, but more so, I know you care enough to try. It is a rare thing and I will consider myself to owe you a favour on behalf of us. Come, I will tell you on the way. You may find in the end while it may seem uncomfortable we're not such bad friends to have."

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