PP: 1 | XP: 3
"Pfshshs..." Cyclops flushes. "B-But he's really hard. You'd be far more comfortable to land on."
Oh dear god why did she say that?! She was getting flustered. That pretty face comment threw her off. She needed to cover.
"I-I mean he's made of metal and you're all soft- I mean, not soft, you've got metal bones - but your skin looks soft. I mean not soft-soft, but soft, y-yah know?"
Yes, perfectly covered.
|# ? May 17, 2018 22:32|
|# ? May 21, 2018 14:29|
PP: 3 | XP: 7
"You know the intercom is still open, right? Also the Blackbird is small, and Forge can totally hear all of this."
He looked at the screen.
"We are taking off in a minute and should be back home soon." He closed comms, and looked around. "Anyone that is not wearing a uniform should probably get off the plane."
To say he was angry at Sarah would be underselling it.
|# ? May 17, 2018 22:51|
"Fifteen minutes, please?" Mastermind asked. "Just... fifteen minutes to know if Xavier did mess with my head."
She looked over at Jean and pressed her hands together. "Please. I don't want to know, but... I need to know. I'm trusting you."
|# ? May 17, 2018 23:31|
PP: 3 | XP: 7
"Fine," said Colossus. He walked back down the ramp and stood at the bottom. He grabbed his phone and headphones before tuning into a radio station. He wanted to hear the reaction.
A little bit of loathing went a long way.
|# ? May 17, 2018 23:34|
PP: 1 | XP: 3
Rolling her eyes at the hypocrisy Colossus just came out with, Cyclops turns her attention back to the flight controls.
"You've got 15 minutes back there (hopefully) before we need to be gone. I really don't want to be hanging around when the authorities decide to start poking around. Sage, do you know if anythings inbound on the battle sight right now? With the power back on, the security services are no doubt scrambling to swarm and lock it all down."
|# ? May 18, 2018 19:23|
PP: 2 | XP: 10 | Stress: 1d10 Physical
Jane looks around a moment, then looks at the intercom button, which was indeed lit up. When did that even get turned on? She shrugs, not particularly bothered, then bumps the button that closes off the cockpit from the rest of the plane. She says, "I guess they're going to need some privacy back there, too."
|# ? May 18, 2018 19:44|
PP: 3 | XP: 3
"Right. Just a moment, Peter.", Jean says simply, planting her palms on the armrests as she pushes herself up fully upright, focusing on Mastermind's thoughts. A little irony there, given the name, worrying about exactly who was the master there. She's not too concerned about memories, but instead trying to see the whole structure. Tampering leaves damage, though the longer it goes, the harder it can be detect... but at the surface, she's looking for a different brick in the wall, signs of fissuring recollections or ill-fitting memories. It's a complex operation, probably taking her to the edges of her expertise...
..as she's trying not to get too distracted by all the chemistry going on near her while she's at it.
Rolling Team d10 + Crushing Self-Doubt d4 + Telepathy d10 + Mutant Alpha d10 + Psych Expert d8, spending 1 PP to keep an extra die for the result, and getting 1 back from the distinction. Total is 18 with a d10 effect, and 1 opportunity. Effect die goes into a doom pool if it's a failure.
|# ? May 18, 2018 20:05|
"–has issued a statement that their forces overwhelmed the mutant threat, but reports from eye witnesses tell a different story," said the radio host in Pete's headphones, before a low quality phone call recording took over. "Yo it was insane, they trashed everything the MRD threw at them, but then – then these other mutants show up, and you can tell they're mutants because one of them's like ten feet tall and built like a truck, and they fight and I kept my head down for most of this but after a while this guy I think was in charge said mission failed, mission failed, let's get outta here. One of them doesn't want to and flips out, turns into this huge monster and yells about smashing everything, but the hero team takes him out too. It was incredible."
Everyone had a different idea, consciously or otherwise, of what their mind should look like, which influenced what their mind did look like – at least to a telepath. Mastermind's was an art gallery, or maybe a museum, or maybe just a very extravagant penthouse. It was all of these things at once, classical architecture mixed with chic modern steel and glass. Every painting on the walls was a memory, every sculpture a facet of personality, every minuscule detail something important.
Looking at the whole mindscape at once in this way was not an easy task. It was like reading a book in one go, every word and plot twist simultaneously. But Jean had learned from the best, and now she was looking for signs that he'd been here when he shouldn't have. It wasn't going to be easy. A telepath as skilled as Charles Xavier wouldn't leave obvious marks.
One of the paintings stood out, and for a moment Jean was unable to ascertain why. However, it became clear quite quickly as she took in the rest of her surroundings. Mastermind's mental image was perfect, as stylish and flawless as she herself held herself to be. But this painting was hung crooked, only just but still quite noticeable compared to what was around it.
"The Man Called X, and the Fate of Adonis Fourie" read the brass plate under it, with a date in the recent past. The painting seemed to be moving a little, more as Jean watched it, and then settling back to stillness whenever she looked away. If she looked long enough, she might find herself in the memory itself.
Outside, in the waking world, barely seconds had passed. Sage was answering Cyclops over the radio, apparently the intercom status of on or off meaning nothing to her.
"MRD's presence in the entire state is scattered in pieces across Manhattan, so unless they've got a lot of superglue, probably not an issue. Now that power's back up, we might be getting a visit from the national guard, but I have been keeping their satellites convinced there's definitely not a big ol' secret jet hanging out in Central Park. We've got time."
Sage herself had hovered down the ramp, taking a seat next to Pete as he kept listening to the radio broadcast. It was a lot of confusion about what had happened, and what was still happening, but one thing was clear: not everyone was blaming all mutants for this.
|# ? May 19, 2018 15:26|
PP: 3 | XP: 3
If she's going to be sure, she's going to have to probe a bit. If she were being utterly frank to Mastermind, she should assure her that she legitimately doesn't care about her secrets and innermost thoughts. But that's not comforting, as it turns out. Strangely enough, people would find it insulting. Telepathy is a minefield of ironies.
Nonetheless, it's the next step to take. She reaches out to the painting, touching the frame as she takes a closer look. Time to look behind the surface.
|# ? May 20, 2018 05:34|
PP: 3 | XP: 7
Colossus looked over at Sage as she hovered down the ramp towards him. He was smiling, listening to the radio as it rambled on in his ear. He sighed a little and leant back on his heels starting to feel more tired than he honestly expected himself to. He grunted, lowering himself to sit on the grass next to Sage before shaking his head.
"You have translation?" he asked. He'd more or less worked out that Sage had some degree of computerisation in her. Mechanical, somehow. She seemed 'weird', even by mutant standards. "It is good day. Some people do not seem to be angry at us," he said, quietly. He paused. "I want picture for twitter. Put it up, send it to a radio station..." he grumbled. "Say that we are here to help. We do good things, and Professor wants to hold that back. Wants us to play it slow. He is- расстраивает."
|# ? May 20, 2018 20:36|
|# ? May 21, 2018 14:29|
In the real world, Sage nodded along to what Colossus was saying. "No translation, but with sixty-eight languages in my head, one of them's bound to be Russian. Of course, there's Klingon and Esperanto in there too..."
She looked up at him and hesitated, as if thinking something through, before continuing. "I've known the Prof a long time. Since I was a baby, in fact. He helped me deal with... stuff when my mutant powers manifested. Technology runs in our family, and..."
She flipped up her sunglasses and looked him with lifeless, black eyes. No iris, no pupil. Just lenses like a camera. She dropped her sunglasses again and turned away. "Not that cute, right? Some mutants get to be like metal, or plants, or animals. Me, I'm a walking Best Buy. I've got a brain that picks up wifi and USB slots in my spine."
It didn't sound like a joke. Sage held out her palm and it opened up, segmenting and lifting, revealing something embedded there. She plucked it out with her other hand, and moments later was back to normal. But the disk was still in her hand. "The Prof spent years working with me, helping me to function, and honestly I was a terrible student. But he stuck with me no matter what. Sometimes, sure, it can seem like he's reluctant to do stuff. But I don't think he wants to. I just think he's afraid. He's felt the pain and panic of every mutant he's ever helped for years and years, I think that's just gotten to him."
She nudged Pete in the ribs, and winced as she hurt her elbow again. "Haha, ow. But you guys... I think this is him showing courage. He trusts you to go out here and make a difference. When I left he said I would be putting myself in danger and should reconsider. But now here you are... in the Blackbird, in uniforms, trying to make the future better."
The object in her hand lit up, revealing it was a phone. Fully charged, too. She thumbed to the camera setting and held it out with one hand, trying to get a good selfie shot of the pair of them. "Скажи изюм!"
Things were going much faster within the mental realm. One moment Jean was in front of the painting, then she was inside it. Inside one of Mastermind's memories, more accurately. It was an evening lit by street lamps, and she was floating invisible besides Mastermind. Younger, but still recognisable, although she didn't exude the same raw confidence. There was Hijack too, and someone who was hard to place until he opened his mouth.
"Trust me, this guy is cool," he said, unmistakably Iceberg. "And I know cool."
"Rob, I'm real happy for you if one of your frat buddies got ice powers too, but I have classes to teach tomorrow," sighed Hijack.
"Just trust me!" Iceberg gave a cocky smile and nodded towards a door. There was nothing special about it. It looked like some random, unnamed, unmarked building in the middle of a street. "Are you read to meet... X?"
"As in... the Professor?" Mastermind asked drily.
"We've met," added Hijack, sarcastically. Iceberg just grinned even wider, and the door opened by itself... and then burst into blue flames.
"No, no you haven't," he said. "Not this guy."
As they went through the open doorway, stepping over the fine ash that the door had turned into, things went dark. This wasn't quite a memory. It was a chain of memories, and the next one was some time later. The three of them were in a room that might have been a used bookstore or something by the light of day, but at night it seemed more like an illicit meeting of revolutionaries. Perhaps that was the feeling that Xorn wanted to cultivate, but the man they were with both was and wasn't Xorn. He was wearing a mask, but not the sombre skull-faced one. He didn't sound as cold and uncaring.
"I'm not asking you to trust me blindly, I'm asking you to think for yourselves," he was saying. "Ask questions! Demand answers! How much do you really know about the man who calls himself Charles Xavier?"
"We know what he looks like," said Mastermind.
"If I take this off, I die," said Xorn, or X, or whatever he was calling himself. "Then so do you. Then so does everyone else, this entire planet. I lack the means to control the power within myself, and the fault for that lies in the lap of the man you call Charles Xavier."
"You keep calling him that," said Hijack with a smile. "You know something we don't?"
"You have your phone? Use your gifts," replied Xorn. "I won't judge you for using them. Find the documentation of a man, Adonis Fourie. That's F-O-U-R-I-E. Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on–"
"Got it already. It's not a common name, you know." Hijack span his phone on his finger and waved the screen to everyone else. "What exactly am I looking for here? I've got birth certificate, death certificate, everything."
"Tell me where and when he died."
"Marrakesh, twenty..." Hijack trailed off, frowning. "Twenty years ago."
"And for how long has your Professor been without the use of his legs? As he is such a close friend of your family, you should know. I'm certain your father knows."
"Twenty years, after a trip to Marrakesh," said Hijack.
"Isn't that nteresting?" Xorn said, leaning back and steepling his fingers. It was the same pose that Xavier made when he was thinking. "Perhaps that deserves further investigation. You are more than capable of discovering the truth for yourself."
Another time skip, this one days, maybe weeks later. No Xorn, just Hijack, Mastermind, and Iceberg in a quiet part of the Institute's grounds.
"Look," Hijack was saying. "I'm just saying that unless our friend X has time travel powers, there's no way he could have set this up twenty years ago for us to find now."
"So Xavier isn't Xavier, but Fourie? He stole his identity?" Mastermind rolled her eyes. "Why do that?"
"Easy when you're a psychic," pointed out Iceberg. "Rip out the mind's contents, and alter other people's minds to cover any mistakes."
"Fourie was a career criminal, and Xavier is wealthy," said Hijack. "Was wealthy. Is. drat it all, I just think we need to ask him."
"Sure, confront the psychic," said Iceberg. "That'll go down well. X is right, you can't trust them."
"He can't mess with Tessa's head," said Mastermind. "Not when she closes it off. Nothing gets through."
"I have tried to convince her, my sister thinks I'm being paranoid."
"I'll try," said Mastermind.
Another skip, this time straight to Sage shouting in Mastermind's face.
"Are you crazy? It's bad enough that my brother is blowing off classes to dig into this, but you too?" The younger version of Sage had natural-coloured hair, cut short, but the same sunglasses and eclectic fashion sense. "I have let Charles Xavier into my head and he has done nothing but help me deal with the huge mess that I am."
Time blurred again. Another midnight meeting with Xorn.
"Don't treat Charles as a father figure when you already have your parents supporting you," Xorn said to Mastermind. "Are you not their fierce, intelligent, capable daughter? They would not turn their backs on you over such a trivial thing as this. Your mutant gifts do not make you an outcast like so many others. No deformities, no lack of control. You are better than human."
Again into the middle of a shouting match. The memories were getting more intense, more emotional. The psychic feedback was hitting Jean hard.
"This is who I am! This is who we are!" Mastermind was screaming, holding Quentin close to her. "We're still family! I'm still your daughter!"
Back to Sage at the Institute. Mastermind in tears.
"We don't have anywhere to go," she bawled, slumped over Sage's shoulder. "I've never seen them hate me, hate anyone, like this."
"Hey, it'll be ok. People just don't understand," said Sage, patting her. "We're still here for you. The Prof will make sure–"
Mastermind pulled away, anger in her eyes. "No, he did this! He– He changed their minds! He needs us to... to be dependent on him!"
Xavier's study. The Professor was behind his desk. Mastermind, Hijack, Iceberg, and several others that Jean didn't recognise were grouped there.
"Justine, I am terribly sorry about your family situation, but I can assure you I do not change people's minds that way. Certainly not to make them anti-mutant," the Professor said. Hijack slammed something down on the desk in response, a tablet computer of some kind.
"Tell us the truth," he said. "For once in your life. Everything you've ever told us has been a lie, but now... we know."
"David, I am–"
"The truth!" Hijack shouted, red in the face. "I scanned you! Remotely! You didn't know I was doing it, so you couldn't alter my thoughts! You've been lying this whole time! There's nothing wrong with you at all! You've been making everyone think you can't walk! Sympathy for the poor crippled man!"
The Professor looked stunned, rendered totally speechless. So did many of the others in the room.
"Are you even Charles Xavier?" Hijack asked in a hoarse whisper.
"I am," said Xavier.
"So what happened to Adonis Fourie?"
The memory... wavered. This was it. This was the moment that had been tampered with. Only a psychic like Jean, looking in from the outside, could tell. Xavier's words didn't quite match the movement of his mouth, but whoever had altered this memory had done so as it was being formed.
"I murdered him," said Xavier bluntly, or at least the altered memory of him.
"Did you murder my mother too?" Hijack asked. Again, Xavier's words did not match his mouth.
The memories ended, and Jean was back in Mastermind's mental gallery, looking up at the painting.
|# ? May 21, 2018 13:08|