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Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Frog

"Well, until then, we'll just have to do the best we can, both in terms of the mission and for PR, right? Even if it's not mutant-related, I'm pretty sure if we go out help out during crisis or disaster situations, we can at least get some folks to consider us 'one of the good ones.'" Donna rolls her eyes with the last statement, trying to put on a slight drawl for it. She knows some people will never change their viewpoints, especially now that a big event like this has happened, but there's a genuine hope in her that at least a few people can be convinced to give mutants a chance. "That is, if we have the resources to act like a miniature FEMA team, anyway."

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Jean Grey
PP: 2 | XP: 2 | Mental Stress: 1d6

"Wait.", Jean pipes up. "What if it's not Cerebro. What if it's..." She pauses, looking away for a moment a she seems to consider her next words. "... what if Xorn is just invisible to you, Professor?" She leans forward slightly. "I wasn't even looking for him when I sensed him - I couldn't not sense him."

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

Pete looked over at Jean and raised an eyebrow. He leant forwards and put his elbows on his knees and then looked at the Professor. "What- Could Jean use Cerebro?" he asked.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


There was a long pause where both Jean and Piotr's questions went unanswered, until finally the Professor spoke again. "There is... a possibility. Mutations are not a single gene, they are gene groups that run along family lines. Part of this, that has not yet been adequately investigated, is immunity. Certain powers become ineffective to others who share the same gene group. A valid evolutionary strategy, if you think about it. You would not want to accidentally melt one's own offspring, that sort of thing would not help with the survival of the species."

"Stay on topic, Charles," sighed Ms. Wagner.

"Yes, thank you," replied the Professor testily. "My point is that if – if – someone was to have obtained a sample of my genetic code, they may have found a way to implement it as a defensive mechanism. Using my mutant genes to hide themselves from me. Of course, this is just pure speculation. That sort of thing would be years, maybe even decades, ahead of current genetics research. But all things considered, I cannot discount it."

He inclined his head at Piotr. "As for your question, Piotr... while it is my every intent that someday Jean be taught how to use Cerebro, to carry on my legacy in the future, it is not so simple as sitting her down at the console and letting her have a go. Cerebro enhances my powers a thousandfold, and I must exercise complete control over myself to ensure nothing goes wrong. Jean is learning that level of control, and doing marvellously, but she is not there yet. Not to mention, her telekinetic abilities are an unknown factor. I don't have telekinesis myself, I couldn't even bend you a spoon if you asked me. But telekinesis is still an aspect of the mind, and if Jean's formidable psychic strength was also multiplied a thousand times over with her telepathy...."

"That would be a lot of bent spoons," finished Ms. Wagner with a nervous laugh.

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010


Cyclops
PP:1 XP: 2

Sarah looked at Jean and the professor with more than a little unease. The thought of a stranger poking around inside of her head was off-putting and if what the professor said about Jean's potential strength in the machine perhaps it was a good idea to keep her as far away as possible from it. Rapidly changing the topic to hide her discomfort at the thought. "so let's see if I've got this straight we don't know who Xorn is or where he is or where any of his followers are or even what he plans. We need more information. I'd guess from the broadcast he's trying to start a war between Humans and Mutants and a war's going to need an army right? So he's going to need recruits maybe if one of us were to pose as a recruit to his cause we could gather more information find out what he's planning and stop it somehow." She added thinking aloud.

Ferrosol fucked around with this message at Dec 8, 2017 around 00:53

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Frog
PP: 0 | XP: 2

"Nooooopenopenopenopenope."

Donna is crossing her arms as firmly as possible, making as clear an 'X' as possible with them. Her expression says exactly what her lips were saying. "Sarah, I know you were a little late to the party, but considering the big bad Xorn is either using mind control or some major intimidation tactics, and he knows that we came from this place, and seems to be telepathic himself, Operation Trojan Horse is as no-go as it gets! And I for one would never take the role as bait! I--" She realizes how much of a scene she's making, which breaks her focus on balancing. Thankfully, while she does fall off the side, she catches herself and pull herself back up, albeit with red on her face.

"A-anyway, I just think we should avoid doing that in particular. I'm sorry."

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010


Cyclops
PP:1 XP: 2

Sarah listened to Donna's objections before continuing with her own point "Firstly I wasn't asking you or anyone else to volunteer, I was going to go myself and a change of hairstyle some different clothes and my own brother wouldn't be able to pick me out of a crowd. I can't do much about the mind reading but Xorn will surely have his flunkies handling recruitment. And besides we need to do something to stop him, the longer we wait the closer he gets to whatever goal he's planning Sure it's not the best plan but I've not heard anyone else come up with a better one than vague touchy feely stuff which won't solve the real problem here." she said raising her voice just a tad.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Jean Grey
PP: 2 | XP: 2 | Mental Stress: 1d6

There's a momentary frown across Jean's expression as the pencil clatters to the table as if to put a period on the Professor's point. "Sarah, that's a big risk. I don't know if Xorn is really telepathic, but... well, you have a lot of nerve blowing the rest of us off, too. Then again, maybe you'd be better off on your own-" She stops herself, and rubs her temple, silent for a moment before looking over. "- sorry, Professor." Not sorry, Sarah. "I guess we're all still pretty tense."

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


"It's fine, Jean. I'm afraid that for now, until we know more about Xorn and his aims, as well as this... Brotherhood of his, our hands are tied. It seems, as much as I am loathe to admit, we must wait for him to make the next move. But I am confident that you, my students, my X-Men... will be ready for him when he does." The Professor smiled, the first genuine smile since this debriefing began, all of his usual warmth and optimism. "Each and every one of you did your best today, and in light of that... no classes until Monday. Take a long, long weekend. Now get some rest... I think we all may need it."

In the dorms section of the mansion, Piotr was tackled by the small water-breathing girl who'd been at the interrupted movie night. He didn't even budge when she latched onto him in a big hug, at least not physically. She looked up at him and gave a big smile, then to the rest of the team, and took off without saying a word.

Despite that, getting to sleep was difficult. Each one of the team was kept awake by thoughts about what had happened, the things they had seen. After some time, and a few haphazard guesses at the correct spelling, Piotr had found a Facebook page for Justine Wyngarde. It was abandoned, though. The last post was over a year ago, simply reading "I'm outta here."

Scrolling through it, there were no references to the Institute, to the Professor or anyone else here. Then again, if any part of life had to be kept secret, it probably had to be the part about the secret school for mutants. So no clues about what had happened, why she had ended up with Xorn. Just thoughts, arguments, pictures of her looking like a real person. Posing, laughing, smiling. One with her arms wrapped around a young boy, the both of them grinning, captioned as "This goober!!!!"

One by one, they eventually managed to drift off. Each to a fitful sleep, some more troubled than others, as their dreams were coloured with the events of the day. Donna woke up several times, startled by echoes of Mastermind's panicked illusions still bouncing around in her head. But Jean...

In Jean's dream, the world was aflame. That cold blue fire eating away at everything, building in intensity. It rose above her like a funeral pyre, and in the midst of the inferno there was a shape. Not Xorn, not a shadow, it was an intensity within the flame itself. A brighter shape, or shapes. Like eyes, a face. A scream.

She awoke with a start, and for a second she could still see the flames everywhere she looked. But one blink and the room was dark and quiet...

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!




It had been over a month since the broadcast, and in that time the X-Men had done a lot of training. Danger Room drills every week, with new team members Wolverine and M. There was a lot of emphasis on certain routines, especially subduing a powerful opponent. Mr. Valentine had put a lot of effort into upgrading and redesigning the technology used, and it was somewhat surreal to see just how much it was progressing. The primitive holographic projections were now much more refined, and although you could still see through them and they flickered every now and again, they could transform the Danger Room from an empty metallic dome into a mock-up of all kinds of terrain. You just had to use your imagination a bit, especially when the trees were animating on an obvious loop.

Adelina had taken a leave of absence to deal with family matters, leaving the mansion entirely to stay with her parents again. The broadcast had left them shaken up a bit, but they were more concerned about their daughter's safety than any danger her powers might bring. At the very least, she'd gotten them under control enough to not worry about raising another accidental volcano, which was enough for now.

Even though the actual mission details were still top secret, somehow the entire Institute knew that the X-Men had been the ones put a stop to the broadcast. Beyond that simple fact, the details were fuzzy, and subject to a lot of rumours. But the team were now like mini-celebrities to the rest of the student body. Even Wolverine and M, who hadn't even been there at the time. As long as you were on the team, you were going to get seriously talked about, and occasionally nervously asked to sign a yearbook.

Rita, the water-breathing girl, had taken to following Piotr around like a puppy whenever he was in the common areas of the mansion. He was getting to be a big brother again, whether he liked it or not, but it was both a shock and a relief to find out she really enjoyed chess. His own sister had often pressured him into playing whenever she was stuck at home without an opponent, and even though he wasn't that good at it, especially when compared to his prodigy sister, he knew enough to at least make an effort with Rita. It reminded him of home, in a way.

Wednesday, 10am

Senator Kelly had called a press conference, and the X-Men were watching. The whole country was watching. Kelly had been a rather fringe voice in the Senate before, but with Xorn's broadcast his doomsday rhetoric about mutants was no longer considered outlandish. In fact, he had gone from strength to strength on this, and the fact that he was making a statement from the White House itself was a sure sign of bad things to come.

"Folks, I was told time and again to drop the subject," he said, after the press had been waved to quiet. "Robert, you oughta be more concerned with the deficit. Well as scary as my colleagues might find tax brackets and pork barrel spending, I think I have been vindicated on this particular subject."

That got some light laughter from the room. Senator Kelly held up his hands again for quiet. "Thankfully, the President and the rest of the administration have been more than sensible in light of recent events. For too long we have stuck our heads in the sand over the mutant problem. No more. We are taking bold, decisive steps to offer a solution."

The room erupted into a flurry of questions, but the Senator waved them all down again. "Now, now, before you start hitting me with the questions, I've got a little light reading for you. It's a report from some... six or so years ago, before we really knew what a mutant was. An enterprising research team managed to get their hands on mutant test subjects, and put them through their paces. Psychological exams, brain scans, everything to see what was going on inside their heads. And do you know what they found?"

He opened a manilla folder on the podium and lifted up papers and photographs, one at a time, holding them up for the cameras in rapid succession. "They found that the changes that a mutant goes through aren't just limited to gaining strange, unnatural powers. There is a marked, significant, and unifying difference in the mutant brain when compared to a normal human being. Every single subject showed the same exact pattern, the exact same type of mind."

With a gentle cough, he began to read. "The MRI – that's the brain scan, folks – showed that each subject had what would be, in a baseline human brain, to be significant signs of sociopathic disorder. Like a serial killer, ladies and gentlemen, like a serial killer."

He closed the folder with emphasis. "Now I am not a scientist, and I don't claim to be, but the findings here are plain. Mutation is a disease, and because we ignored the warning signs it's now a full-blown epidemic. It's bad enough that it gives the affected dangerous powers, but it also gives them a mind that's more than willing to use them on people. I know you saw that broadcast, just as I did. That may as well have been Manson or Gacy giving that little speech, except we never had to worry about either of them taking over our airwaves, or our nuclear capability. If this Xorn character had possessed a little less ego and a little more chaos in his soul, he may well have started World War Three on a whim, just to see how we'd all burn. Like ants under a magnifying glass."

The press room was quiet, and Senator Kelly took the time to wave in several individuals from the wings. They looked military, laden down in tactical gear, but without the usual green fatigues. "That is why, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that this administration is launching the Mutant Response Division. A federal law enforcement group, can't have state lines tying up business this vital, that will be dedicated to one task: containing and controlling mutants before they pose a danger to themselves or others. Over the coming months we will be establishing MRD stations around the country, in every major city and populated area, with rapid response teams equipped with the latest in advanced technology. I'm talking drones, I'm talking armoured vehicles, I'm talking the whole shebang. These fine men and women will be our first line of defence against mutation itself, while we seek out a cure to permanently end the threat it poses to our way of life."

The Professor steepled his fingers, glaring at the television screen so hard that it was like he was trying to burn a hole in it. He stabbed a button on the console next to him, and the television was muted, with Kelly continuing to gesture and mouth answers to unheard questions. In the silence of the briefing room the only noises were the soft electric hum of machines, and the Professor's sharp breathing.

"I can't decide who I dislike more," he said at last.

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

Jane leans back against the wall, carefully considering her hands. The claws stay firmly hidden, but anyone who was paying particularly close attention could likely guess that she was fighting the urge to let them out. After a moment beating down the fight or flight instincts, she looks at the Professor and says, "Well, that's some poo poo. Xorn on one side, a bunch of jackbooted thugs on the other, and us in the middle." A humorless grin crosses her face. "I know a thing or two about being on the wrong end of the law. You want me to start teaching a class or something?"

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


"Language please, Ms. Doe," the Professor retorted absent-mindedly. "And if you think I don't already teach about the unfairness of the system, you haven't been paying attention in class."

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

Jane grin grows even frostier. After a moment, she says, "Alright, fine, I'll spare their virgin ears. Just saying, these kids might need to know how to deal with the unfairness of the system in a practical sense. How to evade the police on the street, for one, though I guess it's gonna be these M.R.D. goons now. Not everyone can pass a spot check, let alone a full pat-down. If they're going to be hunting us, it'd be a drat-" She stops, huffs in displeasure, then corrects herself. "A darn shame if people don't know how to get clear."

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Frog

Donna has been humming a certain frog-related tune to herself from the moment differences in brain activity were mentioned in the broadcast. It had become something of a fallback mantra for her, or something she'd repeat to herself when stressed or thinking about the difficulties of life. Usually, the more audible it was, the greater the degree to which she was distraught about something. Towards the end, a bit of it escapes her lips proper.

"When is green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why..."

With the muting of the audio, however, she snaps out of it and looks back to the group. Obviously, this was a bad situation, but there had to be something good about this, she just had to think on it. A military group established to try to get rid of all mutants, likely to end up shot down on sight. This...ah! Okay! This could work! Moving a single index finger upward to indicate her desire to speak, Frog gives what she hopes is at least some form of encouragement.

"Well, it's just getting started, right? This means we have 'the coming months' to make a case for not having the military shoot every mutant on sight. I mean, it'd probably take finding the right people with the right connections, or people who've actually seen the studies and can confirm or deny what's in them and I really hope that bit about all of us being sociopaths is wrong but anyway, we can still do this! This can still work! It just...needs some grassroots movements and some real proof of our worth! Yeah!"

Frog eagerly waits for the optimistic responses that she will likely not receive today, tomorrow, or next week, but in her mind right now, they need to happen now to get the ball rolling. And so that she doesn't feel like the biggest idiot in the room for suggesting the impossible.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

If you ever need the Defenders drawn as ponies or the cast of Doctor Who, I know where to hook you up.

Please don't want those things.


M

"Assuming we have months, of course." Marius had been watching the senator's speech intently, trying to glean as much information from it as possible. "That joke about government spending coming right before he declares himself vindicated....Could be an unintentional slip-up. This taskforce might have already existed, simply waiting for the correct opportunity to be revealed publicly. And Xorn couldn't have created a better opportunity on purpose." Could it have been purposeful? You didn't need to....well. You didn't need to be Marius to realize what that message would do. "Having an entire federal agency functioning in a month isn't impossible but I would say it's pretty improbable, wouldn't you?" He watched Kelley move mutely on the screen. "Or he's lying about the speed the government can arm a domestic police force? The speed of it all...something about this is off. It's just a question of what he's lying about."

"Other than the brain scans, I mean. He may as well have claimed all mutants have a brow measurement that indicates criminality. Sociopathy isn't a diagnosis any actual psychologist would give to anything. It's not even in the DSM. And most if not all serial killers don't qualify for any sort of antisocial diagnosis beyond the fact that they, yknow." Vague hand gestures in the air. "Murder people." Marius realizes that pedantically addressing errors is not the way to comfort people when elected officials are planning on shooting them. Legally shooting them. Good god, this is really happening. He runs a hand through his hair and hopes nobody notices he's actually pulling on it. Stimulus to prevent those thoughts from spiraling out of control. Change tracks and address another topic now. "Professor, you may be THE expert on the mutant condition. Is there even a 'common brain scan' we all have? Or is this a total fabrication?"

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

Pete, as he was now more accepting to being called, folded his arms over his chest and leant against the wall. It'd been a couple of months and his English was coming on quickly; metaphor was still a little lost on him, thicker accents still caused trouble and talking too fast was problematic. When he was frustrated he'd give up on English and just rant in Russian for a few moments before trying again. He'd spent the months flitting between training in the Danger Room, working in the gym, and trying to make sure that Rita behaved herself. Honestly, he kind of missed being a big brother and while he got into less fights because of Rita than he had over Illyanna, he found her no less of a challenge to keep on a good path. Still, watching the TV in the Professor's room was always an illuminating sight.

"They can't just shoot people down in the street," he said, lifting away from the wall. "Not even FSB is allowed to do that. You have watchdogs here to make sure people get fair trial," he continued. Those civics classes were paying off. "ACLU will be throwing a fit about this any second now."

It wasn't a secret that Pete was annoyed about the way the Professor had been handling things. The Professor felt that things could be managed from a distance - in fact, they'd not been out in the Blackbird once since the broadcast. All the talk about being a rapid reaction force, a team that went into disaster zones, that helped mutants in danger around the globe and operated the school as a refugee camp of sorts had been set to one side, under a blanket of 'I'll think about it' level platitudes. Piotr felt that there was a significant amount of work that could be getting done, and no motivation to actually attempt to do it.

"But we had months. And we just rocked on our heels..."

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


"Piotr, I know how you are feeling right now, but it has only been a few weeks. Xorn has been quiet, and when I wasn't searching for him through Cerebro, I was ensuring that you would be ready for when he did. Last time I unknowingly sent you into a face-to-face encounter with one of the most powerful mutants on the face of the planet, a mutant whose abilities we don't even know the extent of, but include telekinesis strong enough and fast enough to deflect one of Sarah's optic beams. That alone is cause for concern. We must be ready next time."

The Professor gestured at the screen, where Kelly was still showing off the MRD. "I don't believe that these new agents will be stormtroopers kicking in every door. Not yet, anyway. This is a simple show of force to respond to Xorn's incitement. If a mutant displays powers in public, then whatever those powers may be, this will be the response. The public will have assurance that the so-called mutant problem is being managed, and mutants will be told to keep their heads down. But as we all know, growing into our abilities is a difficult struggle. Young mutants can manifest their powers without meaning to. This MRD will be taking aim at children who lack control, who lack the ability to defend themselves."

The Professor rotated his chair to take up his usual position at the briefing room table, turning his back on the television screen, and steepled his fingers again. He did that a lot when he was concerned, or thinking.

"However, this report on mutant brains is exactly the sort of shield they would need to defend such actions, and that makes me all the more curious as to where they obtained it, and who wrote it. While there is a subtle difference between mutant brains and other humans, that difference is not some sort of universal lack of empathy. It is simply the existence of altered pathways, neural connections that allow us to use our abilities the same way we would move our muscles. You are quite correct, Marius, when you say that this report seems very suspicious."

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

It hadn't been a few weeks. It'd been over a month since the broadcast. He had oversold it but the Professor had undersold it rather significantly. Either the old man was letting his grip on things slip, or he was trying to put a better face on something than it really deserved. He almost started to reply - how they weren't ready and cooling your heels wasn't a way to get more ready. Ice hockey players don't get better at playing ice hockey by spending all their time training. You don't become an Olympic powerlifting hopeful by just doing the same amount of reps with the same amount of weight. You've got to push yourself, and the same thing applied with this.

Now maybe wasn't the time.

He paused and considered. "I want to know who they ran those tests on," he said. "I- I don't want to say bad things about them without having facts but I'd be willing to bet that maybe whoever gave them that data didn't do it voluntarily."

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010


Cyclops
PP:1 XP: 2

Sarah had spent a quiet month training hard in the danger room and paying closer attention to her fencing and flight lessons than she ever had before having seen their worth in a real life situation. she resisted the urge to butt in sooner as in the aftermath of the previous mission some of the team had been quite vocal about not wanting her opinion and she had no wish to sound like she was browbeating them again. "Sounds like it's an excuse to treat us as second class citizens. Oh don't mind them mutants they're all mentally ill that's why need to round them up for their own safety in specially designated camps where they can be studied and cured." She stared at the professor "I hope I'm wrong but that's the way I see this going. Is there anything we can do to stop them treating us like that?"

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

If you ever need the Defenders drawn as ponies or the cast of Doctor Who, I know where to hook you up.

Please don't want those things.


M

"If they actually tested anyone." Marius is nodding to himself now. "It wouldn't be the first time the US government decided to make evidence for conclusions instead of the opposite. There could be a FOIA request? It's in relation to an executive action, after all."

He jumps a bit when Sarah speaks up. She had been rather quiet since he and Jane had joined the team. Tension already in the team, he assumed. "Well. Donna and Piotr are right. Pivoting this massively on civil rights takes time and there's still ways to derail it without things getting nasty."

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

Jane shrugs, "Rub their faces in bad research, maybe. I don't know much about running a movement on this kind of scale, but I do know how to win loyalty. You gotta get the little guys to like you. Show them why they don't just need to tolerate you, they need you. Maybe the government doesn't listen to them, but it'd make things better for us."

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


The Professor raised his eyebrows at Piotr but didn't comment. Emotion was easy to pick up, it radiated, and frustration and anger was an unmistakable signal. Instead he took a breath and continued with the discussion.

"Unethical experimentation on mutants is not merely a theory," he said, and glanced at Wolverine, "but in all likelihood, something that has been going on for years in secret. I can only speculate, but this data that Senator Kelly is so happy to champion might be the result of something truly monstrous."

The television had moved on from the press conference to the pointless talking heads section afterwards, and the various pundits continued on in silence as the Professor began loading up something on the briefing room's holographic display. Much like the Danger Room, it too had been upgraded significantly, and the projections were much sharper and with much greater detail.

"Right now, the world sees all mutants as... Xorn. We cannot allow his message to go unchallenged, unquestioned. We need to show the world that though we are mutants, we are still human beings. So that means that we need to do good in the world, just as Jane says."

A holographic globe hung above the table, turning slowly. "Forge has helpfully set up an early warning system to monitor satellite data, social media postings, and all other data streams we can access. It will alert us to catastrophes as they may happen. Fire, flood, earthquake... we shall know the second they occur, and be there to lend a hand. Keep your communicators on hand, and be ready to depart at a moment's notice. But for now... you are dismissed. Take a break, my X-Men, you may need it."

The Professor gave a smile and set off in the direction of Cerebro. During all the time the team had been training, his search for the Brotherhood had been ongoing. Hour-long sessions of straining his abilities, seeking out three minds among billions. Although he did not like to show it in public, the stress of it was starting to get to him.

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Frog

Donna perks right up, her eyes practically sparkling at the good news. Her mind is abuzz with absolute vindication. Her 'miniature FEMA team' idea must have had legs after all, because it's a month later and here the Professor is, suggesting that exact thing! With all of this combined with Pete, Jane, Marius, pretty much everyone on her side about this, everything's coming up Frog.

Raising her voice a bit in excitement, she says what's on her mind. "Thank you, Professor!" Looking back over towards the others with a hopeful look on her face, she tries to judge who might be the most willing to hang out with her for this break period so she can take advantage of this surge of confidence and do some real socializing with folks she's known more as partners and fellow students than friends.

Unknown Quantity fucked around with this message at Dec 12, 2017 around 00:04

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

Pete was almost scowling when Frog looked over her shoulder and back at him. He caught himself in the moment before she clocked him and went back to a smile; or at least as close as he could force himself to make. He had, frankly, been pretty unhappy for 'the last few weeks.' Tried not to snipe or be snide because, well, he needed the school more than it needed him.

He smiled at Frog and shrugged. "Thanks, Professor. I'm guessing we could head into the city? Or just into White Plains?"

Come to think of it, Pete had been in the US for a couple of months now and still hadn't been to one of the great American temples. Sure, they had shopping malls back home in Russia, but nothing like the ones he was used to. It wasn't like he lived near Moscow or Saint Petersberg. Hell, Ust-Ordynsky was an hour's drive away from where he lived until moving into the city to train for the Olympics, and it had a general store that generally stored nothing at all.

"Could go shopping?"

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

"Yeah, sure, I'm in. I could use a bit of fresh air." Jane looked at the remaining mutants. "Who's up to be a tour guide?"

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

If you ever need the Defenders drawn as ponies or the cast of Doctor Who, I know where to hook you up.

Please don't want those things.


M

"Do you really need one? A mall's a mall." Marius could be noselling the joke as a form of meta-humor, but sadly he is not. He is exactly the kind of person that responds earnestly to such questions. "I'd like to go too, though. If that's all right?"

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


With no arguments against it, and nothing better to do, the entire team ended up piled into a minivan – and Rita too, who wasn't about to miss out on a chance to go somewhere with Piotr. The two of them sat in the back, along with Donna, who Rita nervously tried to start up a conversation with on the nature of water-themed mutations and choice of names.

"I was thinking, like, maybe Mer-Girl or Aqua? But Aqua makes me sound like I control water," she said excitedly, fidgeting with her hair. "Ms. Gwynn's been real nice and helping me out. Although the idea of swimming in the ocean still kinda worries me. I'm from Iowa, so... not much ocean there, y'know?"

Going all the way to NYC was a bit too far, if they had to stay on-call, so it was the much smaller city of White Plains instead. It might not have been Manhattan, but it had a lot of mall to explore. With the minivan parked in an out-of-the-way corner of the parking lot, the team (and Rita) were free to explore.

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

Jane spent most of the trip in pensive silence, thinking back to the odd reaction the Professor had when he had mentioned experiments on mutants. Did he think that was her deal? It seemed a little fantastical. Sure, she had no idea what her deal was, but shady experiments...? Maybe she just had crazy metal bones. Pete had his whole living steel thing, after all, so it was hardly impossible. Probably. The Professor, for all of his aggravating holier-than-thou foibles, did know more about mutants than she did. She did stir out of her reverie long enough to join Frog and Rita's conversation and suggest a name. She said, "Melusine? It's a bit of a deep cut, maybe, but you seem more like a myth and legend type than an animal name person." A brief pause in the conversation developed as she looked between Frog and Rita. "What? I'm not always slacking in class."

Almost as soon as the door of the van opened, the mélange of mall scents hit Jane's nose like a freight train. Fried things, all sorts of fancy lotions and perfumes, and, of course, the untold legions of mall shoppers awaiting within. It was the absolute chaos that she hadn't realized she had missed until that moment. The mansion was nice, sure, but it was... sterile, in a way. Artificial, controlled. She wasn't like that. Didn't need to be like that. She hopped out and cracked her neck back and forth. Looking back at the other mutants in the van, she said, "Okay, I'm not gonna lie: I'd kill for some poutine." Another beat. "Not... you know what, nevermind. Anyone else feeling hungry?"

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Frog

A great deal less stressed and happily taking an active part of a conversation wherein her opinions mattered, the words flow from Donna's lips like water. She regales the tale of how, until she remembered the oily bit of her mutation, the name 'Toad' had a distinct ring to it. She ultimately went with Frog not because of that, but because she learned of the term "frogman," as well as the fact that she heard one too many "Toadally" puns in hushed tones. She's able to laugh at herself in this instance since she knows anyone else laughing would be laughing with, rather than at her.

"Oh! Actually, I was going to suggest Deepsea, but now that you've got Aqua on the mind, what if we adapt it? Stay with me here: Aqualung. You know, like the scuba gear? It covers what you do pretty perfectly, and there's no room for confusion about it."

Once parked, Donna restrained herself from hopping out of the car. She's about to start when Jane opens up conversation. "I could eat! Which brings me to the next question. If we're splitting up, when are we meeting and where? I was thinking food court or the theater. But that's just me..."

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


"I'm going to have so much ice cream," Rita whispered to herself with barely-supressed excitement, distracted by thoughts of topping selection for a moment before snapping back. "Oh! Ah, um, I thought we were staying together? I don't want to get lost or anything..."

She pulled out a slightly weathered flip-phone and hesitated, a blush on her cheeks, and quickly stuffed it back in her pocket. "Y-You guys probably have super-special team communicators that Mr. Valentine made or something, I guess."

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage



Wolverine
PP: 1 | XP: 0

Jane chuckled, "Don't worry about it, kid. Even if we do get split up, it'd be pretty easy to track you down." She tapped the side of her nose for emphasis. "That lotion of yours is pretty distinctive. But whatever, I'm not saying we should scatter. Just puttin' my two bits in for where we head first."

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

Pete sat up front in the passenger seat of the van. He'd offered to drive, but he didn't actually have a valid licence. He drove tractors and cars around town back home, so how different could this be? Then he saw a freeway. The Russian diplomats that basically dumped him outside the school had taken him from a small airport upstate to there in a car with blacked out windows. He hadn't managed to get a good look at the surrounds and the only other time he'd left the school since arriving was on the Blackbird which didn't really give the impression of anything about the general area. Plus, he'd been fairly 'in deep' at the time, gearing up to start swinging fists. Getting out of the school felt good, almost like he was getting to enjoy the last few years of being a teenager again. And to go to an American shopping mall?

"Back home," he said, turning around in his seat and looking into the back of the minivan, "I was going to be in Olympics as weightlifter. They called me Colossus long before mutation," he said, a big goofy smile appearing on his face. "Apparently universe has a sense of humour. The thing person who is named Colossus needs as mutation is to grow, and be able to become metal... the nickname has stuck around, I think."

Marius could disinterestedly make fun of the yokel being impressed by 'just another mall' all he wanted. As the minivan pulled up in the parking lot, Pete opened the door and stepped out, the van rocking and raising as he exited. Rita was still talking; doing that thing where the younger kid has attached themselves to the older kids and will talk at great length out of nerves.

"We have communicator devices but only in uniform. Honestly, they only do voice. I like my phone a lot more," he said, reaching into his jacket pocket. Ah, yes, the Piotr Rasputin classic. Red fabric for the most part with two yellow bands down the front. He pulled his phone out. "We have each other's numbers, right? We shouldn't split up. I think we have done enough training, but I do not- feel like I really know what makes you all tick. We should talk. Maybe get one thing that represents something about us?"

Where the hell was this coming from? Some new-age team building thing didn't seem to sit right coming from a voice like that.

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010


Cyclops
PP:1 XP: 2

Sarah stepped reluctantly out of the van. She'd never liked shopping at the best of times, she usually ended up dressed in someone else's hand me downs or whatever came cheapest from the thrift shop. After all it's not like people really cared that much about the foster kid right? And even if she had enjoyed shopping well it's not like she had any money to spend. I mean the professor was good enough to provide free room and board but if being an x-men paid she certainly hadn't got a paycheck yet. She shook her head as she glanced around taking the mall in. With how large it was and how easy it'd be to get scattered she found herself agreeing with the big Russian. "I agree with Pete we should stick together, and remember what the professor said don't use your powers unless you really really have to."

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Colossus

"Hey, if we do get separated, Sarah could just take off her glasses and look into the sky. Follow the big red beam," said Piotr with a broad grin.

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010


Cyclops
PP:1 XP: 2

Sarah stopped turned and gave the Russian the kind of glare that should have incinerated him on the spot, ruby-quartz tinted glasses or not. "No I couldn't" she ground out through gritted teeth. Not after the last time... she couldn't risk losing control like that again.

Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Colossus

Pete saw the glare. While he couldn't see Sarah's eyes, he could tell from basically everything else he'd very almost crossed a line. He cleared his throat and glanced to the side. "So, text messages it is..." he said quietly.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Rita dug out her phone again, this time not so embarrassed at how old it was, and more excited that she was possibly going to get the entire roster of the X-Men on her contacts list. Piotr was there already, of course, she'd pestered it out of him on day one.

Fuego Fish fucked around with this message at Dec 14, 2017 around 18:01

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Jean Grey
PP: 2 | XP: 2

"There's a theor- er, a hypothesis that mutation might be responsive to psychological states.", Jean says to Piotr, before glancing to Frog, as if pondering the implications there. Holding up her hands, she adds, "It's just a hypothesis, though."

She looks to Sarah apologetically, adding, "I mean, if people are really concerned, I could set up a mental link. I've been practicing it with the Professor, but it might be good to get used to it in a place like this before we have to use it in the field."

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


The cool breeze of the air conditioning washed over them as they entered the mall, along with some rather mediocre music and a general feeling of sterility. Rita tugged on Piotr's sleeve excitedly. "After we get some food, could we find a bookstore? I sorta need– oh..."

She'd faltered in what she was saying for one obvious reason, a reason that was plastered in glossy posters featuring star-spangled banners, empty slogans, and more bald eagles than was strictly necessary. There were cardboard standees, stacks of leaflets, and smiling staffers in matching shirts. Right there in front of her, in front of everyone, was a recruiting booth for the MRD.

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Sion
Oct 16, 2004

"I'm the boss of space. That's plenty."


Piotr

"Don't worry," he said, looking down at Rita. "Don't worry. They're nothing at the moment," he said, quietly, starting to walk forwards. "They don't have the power to do anything here but hand out leaflets and try and trick the foolish. We're just some kids at the mall, and we're not going to pick a fight," he said, looking over his shoulder at Jane. She- she struck him as having a bit of a hair trigger. "Right? No fights, because we'll just win 'em, and look bad while doing it."

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