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Mutants & Masterminds: Future Imperfect - Open (Juno and Adrian)

Adrian Moss

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Something about the holiday season brought out the anger and depression in people. They wanted to see other people beat up, broken, and bloody. That was the way that Adrian saw it anyone. The purses were bigger, the crowds larger. The screams for blood and pain were louder too. It wasn’t something that would have normally meant for a bright Christmas, but Adrian was hopeful none the less. Since his ‘run in’ two weeks ago, life had turned around. The weather had been warmer, the two circuits he had been on had been profitable, he had a thousand dollars in his pocket, and he had a steady home to live in.

It wasn’t much as homes went by. It was a former drug house and gang hang out, but Juno and company had given it over to him. He and Rebecca didn’t have power, or running water, but hey could get water in a pail from their neighbor and they huddled together for warmth at night. Juno gave them fresh food, and a few of her crew had offered him beers after a hard days work moving a burned out car to the end of the street. He had even impressed them when he had stood out in the open and glared at a rival gang as they cruised on by. Either they thought he was super brave, definitely crazy, or a bit of both.

It wasn’t so much that he was crazy as he hated those who abused their power over others. It made him angry to see someone bullying another. It also made him think about what his father had done and how much his father would have been proud of him if he was still alive. So, he stood and showed them he was not afraid. More to it, he showed them he was ready and willing to fight.

One odd point with Juno and most of his neighborhood was Adrian’s sister Rebecca and his relationship to her. By now, most of them knew they shared one twin mattress in their house alone. There had been a few jokes at his expense about just how close Adrian was to his sister. He had let those comments slide, but when one of the older kids had grabbed Rebecca’s arm and told her in no uncertain terms how much better it would be to sleep with him than her brother, Adrian had nearly torn his head off.

That had nearly come to a bad end. Fortunately, one of Juno’s lieutenants had been watching Adrian and even he decided that ‘joke’ had gone too far. When guys Adrian had been working with pulled him off the guy, the lieutenant had been able to step in and hold the angry brother in check, there had developed an understanding. Adrian could have done much more, the people sensed it, but he had held back.

After that, Rebecca Tyler was off limits. She helped out, doing chores, watching the younger kids, and other kinds of ‘women’s work’, but she rarely talked and after two weeks had not made any real friends. She was very space conscious and didn’t like to be touched. In the close community Juno had formed, she stood out for this. She also stood out for her beauty. She tried to camouflage it with baggy clothing and unkempt hair, but she was a serious stunner for anyone who took the time to look.

So, after two weeks in the community, Rebecca wasn’t fitting in at all and Adrian was bending over backwards to make things work. He had friends here and given times, he would have their trust. With the way some of the girls were eyeing him, he would be in sooner rather than later. Of course, since almost every girl was someone’s sister … that meant a whole new dilemma.

For Adrian, today was a day of surprises. The biggest surprise was that today was Christmas Eve. He had totally zoned at this being the Christmas season. He had money burning a hole in his pocket and he needed, or felt he needed, a real present for Rebecca. Since their family had no Christmas traditions that Rebecca could remember, Adrian had adopted one. Every Christmas Eve he took Rebecca shopping for her Christmas present and this year he had almost forgotten.

The reason he had nearly forgotten were numerous, but today’s surprises on the news were the real killers. Jason Estacado had died the last of the Supremacy. He could remember his dad talking about them and now they were gone, all gone. Then there had been the riots in England – Scotland really. Mutants had been fighting for equal rights and they had been shut down. Adrian felt even more justified in his paranoia and fear. Germany had been icing on the cake – definitely not a place he planned to visit anytime soon, if he had the money for a ticket, and a passport, and a death wish.

Now Adrian was heading toward the Command House with his sister, in a hurry. For once, Rebecca seemed happy to be around this place. Adrian was looking for a ride out of the district, to a Wal-Mart or some such store. He needed someone to drive him, because despite his age, Adrian couldn’t drive. He would have needed a driver’s license to do that legally and being caught driving illegally brought on too many troubles. He could have taken the bus, but at this time of day, in this economy, lugging presents around would have been rough. So he was going to Juno’s with Christmas on his mind.

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No sooner was Juno out the door of what Adrian whimsically called "the command house," than she saw the devil himself escorting his sister over towards her. Sometimes things just work out.

"Hey!" she called, waving a hand over her head. "Over here!"

Juno was two years Adrian's junior, and one year younger than his sister. In a sane world, she'd have been deferring to him. Not in this crazy, upside-down, Lord of the Flies world though. No, here the kids were in charge, and patrolled the street. And instead of some badass cholo running the show there was just her; with a broken down dad and holes in the knees of her jeans. Somehow though, sometimes by her teeth, she kept it going.

When Adrian crossed the distance she gave Becca a nod of acknowledgement and said to him, "You two busy with anything? I was thinking we could get something and talk."

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"Can we talk while we drive. Dumby me just remembered what tomorrow is?"

Rebecca smiled shyly at her brother's self-effacing remarks. The hood quickly went back over the light of her smile when she looked to Juno.

Adrian for his part liked Juno. She cared for her people and her neighborhood. She acted responsibly. The fact that she was younger than him mattered not one bit. This was his show. She allowed him to live his life as long as he contributed. That meant he could be free to take care of his sister, which was all he wanted to do.

"We need a car, and someone to drive it - maybe go to Wally-World and do some Christmas shopping. We can pay for gas."

He patted his front pocket that bulged more than normal. Up until now she hadn't ask were he got his money. He was hoping this would continue to be the case.

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Juno shrugged. "Alright. Sit tight, I'll be right back."

She turned and jogged off down the curve of 48th street, around to the dry brown grass of her house's front yard. In the driveway was an old, early 90's model Chevy pickup. Its once-red paint had faded through sun and exposure to a sort of rust-brown, and the windows were dirty, but Juno was fairly sure it'd run. Her dad had lost his license, but she was willing to bet money that he hadn't drained the oil or gas from the thing.

Only problem was the keys.

Quietly she let herself into the house. To the right, past the kitchen, she heard the TV in the living room. A second later Hector called, "Juno? That you?"

"Yeah dad! I'm gonna borrow the car. Need to do some shopping."

There was a pause, during which time she could almost FEEL him pairing conflicting feelings. He didn't want her to take the car, because he wanted to drive but wasn't allowed to. He wanted her to take the car because he wanted her to get more food.

Gently, she nudged. "What do you want, chicken? Steak?"

"Just swing by KFC and get one of those dinner boxes," Hector's voice grudgingly demanded. "Mashed potatoes, not that shitty coleslaw they have."

Deftly Juno fished the keys out of her father's jacket. He wore the old leather thing when he went outside...which was to say very seldomly. For a moment her fingers lingered on the slightly rough, slightly pungent skin of the jacket, remembering other days.

Then she went to go pick up Adrian.


Adrian and Becca didn't have long to wait. An old, early-90's pickup as much rust as red in color came back along the street and coasted to a stop beside them.

"Hop in," Juno said, leaning out the driverside window. "Where to?"

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Cold technical eyes watched the Pickup come to a halt and focused on the driver. The picture got zoomed and digitalized until it was crystal clear again.

“Positive ID on the girl – Juno Reyes. Awaiting orders.”, a mechanical voice reported.

“Stay back with your team and observe. We have reasons to assume she is not alone. Extract when minimum risk to your team. “, another mechanical and somewhat female voice answered.


The creature switched to observation mode and waited patiently.

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"Wal-Mart!," Adrian exclaimed. No place like Wally World to full-fill your Christmas wishes!" he said, sounding so cheerful it was contagious. Juno couldn't know that this was their families sole Holiday tradition. There was no need to tell her, but she could detect a certain vitality that came from brother and sister as Adrian spoke the words. This wasn't going to be work, or a chore. This was going to be FUN!

They ran around and climbed into the cab, Rebecca first. She would be safer that way, and Adrian was always keeping her safe, or as safe as he could.

"Lead on Boss!" The young sandy-haired vagabond cried out. "Christmas is coming!"

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"I think that's the happiest I've ever seen anyone be to go to Wal-Mart," Juno commented as Adrian and Becca piled in and fastened their seatbelts. "You oughtta do commercials."

She got on the freeway and flipped the AC on. After a few minutes Juno gave Adrian a look and said, "So how's life been treating you? Anything interesting going on?"

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"Yeah, I need to think you," Adrian adds with some seriousness dampening his Christmas cheer. "This is the longest we have stayed anywhere in years. Thanks."

Rebecca nodded as well, but couldn't bring herself to make eye contact with Juno.

"Outside of that ... nothing real interesting. I've noted some cars making the occassional ride-by since I've been working in the yards and on the rooves. Only two or three guys, but I'm getting used to seeing their faces. I'd swear they are trying to scare us," he grins with some steely will behind it. "Not that I scare ease."

Only this close did Juno realize how hawt Adrian really was. He carried himself so confidently yet without being aggressive. His eyes were to die for and when they looked at someone, they made you feel like you were the only person that mattered in the world. Even his words had a commanding quality to them. Combine that with a winter-fresh smile and flawless, tanned skin, and Juno could see what other women saw in him ... and he wasn't even trying.

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Juno glanced over at Adrian, but only for a second. Not because she was shy, but because she was driving. Granted, she hadn't exactly been on many dates. Two, while they'd been stationed in Germany, but she was only thirteen then. Didn't count. And romance hadn't been in the air after that. Parents. Combat duty. Worrying a lot. Took the magic out.

And none of it mattered anyway, so why did it keep fluttering around the edges of her brain?!


"Glad you could stay that long," Juno replied, keeping her voice bland and steady...but then immediately she thought that sounded like she was about to kick them out, which wasn't it at all. "In fact, you can stay longer if you want."

Argh! Now I sound like I'm coming onto him!

A red tinge stole over her cheeks as she doggedly tried to restate herself. "I mean, well look, have you thought about actually staying? I'm sure we can get you some power and water...get you set up with the basics. The guys know you, seems like it's all going pretty good there. You've got their respect. You could get a fresh start."

As long as you don't mind being in the middle of a turf war in a couple of years. I'll tell you about that though. I won't play you like that.

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Juno was sending conflicting signals and for the life of him, Adrian couldn't figure out why? Had he done something wrong? No, she was asking him to stay, sort of. Then what was it. Poor Adrian was a little too much seeing Juno as this distant, benevolant ruler and less as a teenage girl.

Maybe it was something his sister had done? Here was hoping she hadn't.

"We like it here, both of us. We would like to stay longer, at least until the summer rolls around. We don't want to be a burden or anything, and we don't want to bring any of you trouble."

He caught himself,

"Not that we are bringing you trouble. Becca and I have been living under the radar since we were little kids is all. We don't want any problems with someone coming along and trying to codify us, give us some ID number, or anything like that."

Like a Mutant ID number. They find out who are parents were and its some deep dark hole for us. They will split us up and I'll never see Becca again.

Then something else occurred to him.

"Is there a reason you want us to stay?"

Do you like-like me? Is that it?

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"Because we need people like you," Juno said. Her mind whirled though. He'd as much as confessed!

Down, girl. Don't scare him off.

"There's a catch though. You know those bangers that drive through sometimes? Well, they don't stop because of me and my people. Sooner or later they'll try to take it all back from us though. Probably not for awhile, cuz right now they've got their own problems. But eventually."

She took a deep breath. "I won't lie to you...if you're still here when that happens, you'll have to either leave, or fight. But you look like you know your way around a fight."

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Adrian looked forward and bit his lip. The threat wasn't himself. Juno was right, he could take care of himself in a fight. Rebecca was his problem. She could be so vulnerable and he always worried about people getting to him through her.

What would Dad have done?

"If I go, it will because of my own reasons, but no one - but you - is going to drive me out. I'm not going to back down from a band of thugs and bullies. Not my style."

He smiled at her. She looked like she needed a smile. He leaned his head slightly, catching the light perfectly, and showed her his stainless, pearly whites.

Click to reveal..

5 Appearance plus Sexy Merit smile

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She smiled back...it was a reflex. You couldn't see that smile and NOT smile back, at least a little. And besides he was going to stay, and that lifted her spirits more than she'd ever admit. To anyone. Ever.

It didn't help that his line about not backing down was pretty close to why she'd decided to fight back in the first place.

So now she had to ask him about who was after him and all that, but she didn't really want to, because goddamn it this was a moment and she hadn't had many, and she didn't want to fuck it up. So she didn't say anything, but just smiled and drove.

There'd be time to ask him about all that shit later.

"Here we are," Juno announced jovially as she pulled into the titanic parking lot. "Wal Mart. Otherwise known as Capitalist Mecca. Unroll your prayer mats and face the giant signage."

The only parking place she could get was a brisk walk to the store, which was fine because it meant she could walk with him a bit before she had to break off and get some food.

"So, after this what do you have two have planned? I was thinking of grabbing a casino buffet. Some of 'em are decent, and they're all cheap if you don't play."

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Adrian grinned once again at the Capitalist Mecca comment and Rebecca giggled.

"Well get out the prayer mats, but don't tell us that Santa isn't real," he retorted. Rebecca hit his arm for that one.

After the casino buffet offer, Adrian pulled out a wad, and I mean WAD of bills. Adrian felt confident enough in Juno to show her the money he had for now.

"I've been doing well recently. We can go for a real sit down dinner, just the three of us."

They might not like their 'look', but they would accept his money. That always seemed to be the case.

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The kids were having a good time at Wal-Mart and Juno got a very good impression of just how close Adrian and Rebecca were. Oddly Rebecca's behaviour seemed to be irritating at times. She looked older than Juno or more beautiful, more mature? It was hard to place it but sometimes Rebecca acted very childish which was in dissent to how she looked like.

After Adrian made sure that Rebecca got everything she wanted they packed their stuff and went back to Juno's Pickup. Adrian carried all the bags refusing any offered hand of help. Just when Juno started the engine there was the sound of sirens nearby. Within two minutes 4 Ambulances paced past the Wal-Mart heading to the city. Some of the Ambulance were marked with bullet holes. Shortly after that several police cars headed for the hood. Something was going on... something big by the looks of it.

Click to reveal..
The Ambulances came from the rough direction of Juno's place. The Police headed the same direction which also is the general direction to the MIC
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Ambulances were nothing new in this area, but four of them? With bullet holes?

Juno felt her blood turn to ice. No...fucking...way. It was too soon. There was no way! But why else would there be shot up ambulances and cops on the way? Why else besides a gang war right in her own little neighborhood? A gang war she'd provoked, and then hadn't been there for when the shit started falling.

"Sorry, guys," she said tersely as she gunned the truck's engine. "Buckle up. Rest of the night's gonna hafta wait. I need to make sure..."

She didn't finish the sentence, mostly out of childish hope that not saying it would make it not so. Nor did she follow all the traffic laws on the way home, including the speed limits.

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At first he didn't put it together. This was Christmas right? Then he made the trajectory between were the ambulances and cops were going ... it was Juno's home turf. Oh Crap.

The light and laughter left Adrian's face. When Juno finished speaking, she get a grim nod. Once the truck got started, Adrian turned to Rebecca,

"When we get home, you stay in the truck until I say it's safe to come out. Got it?"

This was the first time Juno had ever seen him order his sister around like this.

"Juno and I will check out the neighborhood first. I'll come back for you. I promise."

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As the pickup took its last turn to head straight towards Juno’s turf they could see smoke coming from the MIC. Juno’s eyes widened as she saw several police cars trying to form a barricade. Then an explosion went of that sent the pickup skittering and Juno barely managed to keep it on the road and hit the breaks. The pickup shook ominously and a tearing sound as if the asphalt was breaking apart could be heard followed by the screeching of metal being twisted in ways it was not supposed to.

The asphalt was breaking up right in the middle of the road practically caving in. If they didn’t get out of the pickup fast they would be trapped. Rebecca screamed in panic and tried to get out of the pickup as fast as possible ripping the roof of in the process as if it was made of paper.

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Juno kept her foot on the brake pedal and scrabbled at the door lock and her seatbelt at the same time, all the while trying to think over her own nauseating fear which was amped up by Rebecca's piercing screaming. Madness. She didn't know what caused it, but her instincts were howling that it was a roadside bomb, like the one that had killed her mom. There was no time to rationalize, to see that this was something different. There was only the explosion, the screaming, the desperate imperative to escape. Pandemonium.

With a click and whirr, the driver side door came open, and she realized she'd managed to trigger the power door locks. The pickup was unlocked now. Another click and she was frantically shoving the seat belt off and diving out the door.

Once on the ground she rolled onto her back and looked up to make sure Adrian and Rebecca were following her example.

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Oh, they were following her example alright. Adrian kicked-pushed the door open while simultaniously grabbing his sister around the waste and pulling her out with him. Then, stupidly, he went back for the presents. Christmas Madness.

"Juno, we are coming to you!" he yelled out. They were better off sticking together. Hurridly, he dragged Rebecca around to the back of the truck and jumped across the growing chasm. Rebecca virtually sailed across. Running over to Juno, all the present-carrying young man could think to say in his quiet yet commanding voice was,

"Time we got home."

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The pickup got swallowed by the caved in street as if it was a hungry beast. Rebecca panted and looked scared but seemed alright – no scratches or bruises.

“That was close.”, said Rebecca trying to sound less panicked as a few seconds before. Unfortunately parts of her baggy clothes got shredded by the fast escape and revealed half of her right arm, abdomen and thigh. If Juno looked fit and trim Rebecca looked like she hit the gym a bit too often.

Adrian took his sister by one arm deciding to address that later and carried the presents in his other arm while they tried to keep pace with Juno who started to run towards her home turf as soon as she made sure no one got hurt.

The closer they got to Juno’s turf the more they realised just how huge the actual problem was. It looked like WWIII had broken out and the Mutants in the MIC were on the march. Gunshots could be heard from everywhere and people started to abandon their homes. Another 5 minutes on the run and they were at Juno’s house. The gang was no where to be seen.

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"Damn it, they were probably smart enough to beat feet out of here already," Adrian said looking to Juno. Nothing he had in his house was worth risking his life and that of his sister for.

"Were would they go?"

And what would happen to them when they got there. If a larger gang had been out there worrying them then what would happen to Juno's smaller gang if it was on the run. Cut to pieces was the most likely answer. Juno wouldn't let that happen and he owed it to her to stay by her side.

He sincerly hoped she would just want to run though. This was a mutant crisis and they were mutants. He didn't want to be caught up in a sweep.

"Juno, we can't stay here. If this is a mutant rampage, we don't want to get caught up in the sweep that comes afterwards. Please, let's boogie."

By we, of course, he meant him and his sister.

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"You two get out of here," Juno said distantly. Her voice was deceptively calm. The shock was still reverberating in her skull, making her feel like she was floating. None of this was really happening.

"We've got hiding places all over the place around here. They'll be okay. I need to check my dad."

She turned to stare at Adrian with glassy, slightly too-wide eyes. "Head towards downtown a few blocks and hole up. I'll be fine."

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"No, we'll stay with you. We don't know our way around," he thought of the excuse quickly, "and could get turned around and in real trouble. Besides, who will help you move your Dad? Espeicially if you get jumped."

Adrian looked at Rebecca who nodded slightly. She was afraid and it showed.

"Face it, we are stronger together than we are spread apart. Let us stay with you."

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Juno grimaced and looked away, over towards her house.

"It's a free country. Follow me or stay or get clear, but do it now because I've gotta find dad!"

She took off running for the little house that she sometimes shared with her father, as shock started to ebb, and fear came rushing in it's place.

(OOC - sprinting pell mell for Juno's house.)

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(OOC - sprinting to keep up with Juno, while lugging presents along in one hand and Rebecca in the other.)

If it had been Rebecca in there, nothing could have kept Adrian away from that house - nothing. So, he ran and he ran, toward the danger and the death, and toward possible imprisonment for the rest of his young life. Something in him just wouldn't let him leave Juno alone.

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Terror clutched Juno’s heart when she saw an ambulance just leave from here father’s house. There was smoke coming out of the roof and it looked like something big had hit it from the side. There were several police men about to close off the area one of them approaching the teenagers with one arm extended.

“Stop right there! This area is off limits. We’re in the middle of a Mutant riot here…”

“What happened? Where’s my dad? His name is Hector Reyes, he was in that house!”, Juno interrupted the cop ignoring his warning.

“Calm down… you need to calm down. Reyes, you said? You’re his daughter?”, he reached for his CB and pushed the button.

“Sanders here – can you tell me if we got a Hector Reyes in any of those ambulances?”, there was a short static then a female voice answered.

“One just left for the free clinic downtown, Hector Reyes affirmative.”, the cop nodded and looked at Juno.

“He is being taken care of. But I have to ask you to leave the area now. Is there a place you can go? We can take you out of the danger zone.”, the man waited for her reply.

Adrian and Becca remained close behind but let Juno do the talking for now. Juno’s eyes where locked on the ambulance that just turned around to head towards downtown. Her father was in that ambulance.

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(OOC - Hector Reyes. smile Hugo Reyes is the fat guy on Lost. wink )

Juno managed to rip her eyes off the departing ambulance and fix them on the cop.

"The only place I can go is where they're taking my dad," she answers him. "Where's it going? Which hospital?"

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“Free clinic at 4375 West Desert Inn Road, all other hospitals are full. We kinda have a situation here, may have to call in the National Guard.”, Lt. Sanders looked at Juno for a short moment.

“Those your friends?”, he nodded at Adrian and Rebecca. Juno looked back and nodded slowly.

“I’ll call you a cab, we drop you off behind the barricades. That’s all I can do for you.”

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For a moment Juno wants to tell the cop what to do with himself; wants to run off, jack a car and drive to the clinic herself. A look at Adrian and his sister reminds her that there's more going on here than just this. They'd backed her up, they didn't need her bringing heat like that down on them. Moreover, she didn't need that either. It was a dumb idea.

"Alright," she says to the cop, shaking her head. "Alright, if that's all you can do, do it." After a second she lifts her eyes to the cop and adds, "Thanks."

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They caught up as fast as they could. The two teens caught most of the conversation, but Adrian had to verify something.

"Your Dad is being taken to the Free Clinic on West Desert?"

Juno gave him a brief nod.

"That's good. The doctor there patched my up good as new a few days back ... must be about two weeks ago now that I think of it. He's really good."

All they had to do was wait for a ride from the cops. It beat running ... through a war zone ... were they were shooting his people on sight. Muties.

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