2020-06-11: A Potential Plan


RobinF_icon.jpg RashmiF_icon.jpg TheoF_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi confronts the wounded Theo and Robin tries to work despite being on 'leave'.

Date: June 6, 2020

Log Title A Potential Plan

Rating: PG

The Future - The Underground - Gathering Area

Hidden in the maze of tunnels is the open area that the mutants have turned into their haven, their home. Not wanting to risk electricity being detected down here, there are battery powered and gas powered lights leaving the place dark and damp. At least three mutants are always on guard down here at the entrance to the mutant camp and secret passwords and codes are needed to get into this room. Theres a large door with a large piece of wood barricading it as those down here dont take any chances.

Evening in the tunnels, and the all-pervading sense of subdued terror hangs thick in the gathering area. Used to house the spillover from the residential tunnels, those wounded too stable or too late to be given a regular 'infirmary' bed, and those not yet fully trusted with free run of the sanctuary, these halls rarely find more noise than a subdued whisper, the occasional pained groan of a recovering body…. And the faint whimpers of those trapped in fitful sleep. From deeper into the tunnels, a dark-skinned redhead emerges, combat vest smudged, the black bodysuit beneath showing clear signs of major damage and unskilled repair, face drawn and haggard. Scrubbing a hand over her face, Rashmi casts her eyes over those resting in the halls, presumably on a regular checkup to see if anything is needed urgently.

The dim light makes night and day difficult to determine, and moreso when you've been unconscious for several hours. Theo got a lungful of some rather nasty gas that was given off by a dead hunter, and it was nearly the end of him. So here he is, on an extra cot. His arm has been seen too, stitched up by whoever was handy to do it, it's a mystery to him.

His eyes squint before they open. "Damn, Proto?" he calls out. His bodyguard/pet was under repair when he went out today, so wasn't with him. Bad call on his part. He looks around, eyes blurry still. His hands feel along the edge of the cot, an unfamiliar bed to the touch. He starts to sit up, feeling the sting of his back from being dragged by Chloe. With a wince, he rights himself, and holds his head in his hands. His eyes lift up, and examine his surroundings. The smell of blood and those who need a bath fill his nose, and then he sees Rashmi. He gives her a puzzled look. "Rashmi? So you really are here," he says, letting out an amused smile and shaking his head.

Robin has sweat on her brow and a small canteen of water in her hand as she walks into the room on her short break from Volk's training. Her puppet comes in after her, looking equally exhausted, but lively enough to be standing at all on its breaks, which speaks volumes compared to usual. She stops at her maps, which she left in Robin's corner. Just to look, not because she is planning on making more marks on it, raising her eyebrow at all of the little marks she has. But she stops when she hears Rashmi's name said and looks over with wide eyes.

At the sound of Theo's voice, Rashmi freezes, eyes snapping onto the wounded technopath, holding his gaze for a moment of silent evaluation. As Robin walks into her field of view, the redhead's gaze turns her way, a short nod given the other woman. "Don't drink too quickly," she says to the other woman. "What you *don't* want right now is to get sick. Excuse me…" Walking steadily and purposefully toward Theo, a light pistol is drawn from her belt and helt loosely at her side, safety on. "How could you do this to us," she says evenly, eyes intent on Theo, "we're your friends." An odd opening after so long, but the words tickle at the fringes of memory…

Theo arches his brow, but doesn't look intimidated by the pistol. After all, it's a machine. He has more control over its operation than Rashmi does. Still, a good pistol whip would hurt, and he respects that fact. He lets out a breath.

"Still believe in the inherent good of everything even after all this? Same old Rashmi. Wouldn't expect you to call me a friend anymore. It's been what, seven years since I left Xaviers? Glad to see your worldview is still intact. Mine is too." Everybody is evil in Theo's worldview though, the last decade has only reinforced that theory.

His gaze drifts to spot Robin. "And Robin too, I didn't know we had a class reunion," he jests. "We got Chloe and Daisuke, Pallaton and Annalisa. From the looks at our friends here," he offers, "There's quite a few here. I do hope that a few of the geniuses are still around." No defense for his absence all this time.

Robin nods at Rashmi. She opens her mouth as if to say something in return, but thinks better of it. While she doesn't like being treated like a child, she knows that objecting to it is just playing into her and Volk's hands. She crosses her arms at Theo's speech, raising an eyebrow, "People from Xavier's were trained for when things go sour. It's no wonder that so many of us have survived."
Rashmi raises a finger for silence from Theo, eyes lowering and flicking side to side, as though paging through old, old memories. Nodding to herself, she takes in a breath, her face crumpling. "How could you *do* this to us, Theo! We're your *friends!*" The gun rises to level between Theo's eyes, incongruously steady in contrast to the sound of raw, ravaged betrayal… Exactly as she had said the words all those years ago, when first Rashmi had learned that Theo ran with the Brotherhood. Her eyes, hawklike as she searches for the recognition on the former supervillain's face.

Theo doesn't flinch. "You can't shoot me," he says. A precise choice of words, rather than saying she won't shoot him. His emotion remains rather cold. "Do what? Leave? You're a nice girl, Rashmi, but too gullible. I needed what I needed from Xavier's, I didn't leave because I wanted to hurt you, I just needed something the school couldn't give me. Magneto could. It wasn't personal." His emotions seem even more repressed than they were then. At least then there seemed some hesitation from him. Now, there's no remorse at all.
Robin watches the interaction between Rashmi and Theo, her arms crossed. She doesn't interrupt, sure that Rashmi has much more to say than she does. She just keeps her eyes on Theo and takes a drink from her water bottle.
Rashmi's eyebrow lifts, the betrayed expression disappearing in the blink of an eye. "I know," she says, putting the gun back in its place at her belt. "If I wanted to hurt you, Theo, I wouldn't be pointing a gun at you, remember?" Dropping to an easy crouch, she tilts her head to look up through a greasy lock of copper-colored hair. "What took you so long?"

Theo becomes a little more sober, and diverts his glance toward Robin. "Things didn't go quite as planned," he says to Rashmi, but his gaze stays on Robin for a long moment. He then looks around at all the injured. Rashmi always did know how to hit the right button. "I needed more time to get ready to destroy them," he says. "I never even looked outside to see that the war was already over, and we lost." People have accused him of not knowing what it's like, which he denies. But the truth is, while everyone else was fighting for survival, he was hidden away safely behind a thousand feet of stone and steel. Even if the sentinels knew where he was, they'd have quite the time trying to get to him.

"I'm sorry." That's a new one. Theo hated apologizing. A half apology is normally considered a great success with him. "I should have stopped this sooner. I had plenty of space to secure maybe thirty or forty people, and I…didn't." The apology is said to Robin and Rashmi, but the apology is to all the mutants who have died trying to survive the hell around them.

Robin's eyes shift down slightly at Theo's apology, at his saying that he had so much space, that he could have saved lives. She adjusts her glasses and says, perhaps a bit coldly, "You should be sorry." She takes a drink from the bottle. Robin works herself to death to try and help keep what few mutants are around alive and reverse this problem, so hearing that doesn't really make her feel warm and fuzzy inside. She walks back towards her maps, turning her back to the conversation happening.

Rashmi's evaluating stare never wavers an inch as Theo apologizes, the barest hint of a nod to tell him she understood. "It would have been useless anyway, Theo. Thirty or forty? There's more than that here, and that's just overflow. I'll have to ask Robyn what the latest numbers are, but I know there's something like two… maybe three hundred? trying to survive down here. And the Sentinels are collapsing subway tunnels all over town now, so we've just lost half our usual escape routes."

"And I would have made it three hundred and thirty," Theo answers with an arched brow and a hint of vinegar. "What's the weight of a life? I know you've been fighting, but you've been fighting to survive. I've been fighting to win. You might think it's crazy, but I'm working on a plan to stop the sentinels. And I don't mean drop a couple of them in a fight. I mean stop all of the sentinels. Once they are down, Ahab's hounds will be outnumbered. Most of the hunters will abandon the cause and join us, and we'll take back this country." He says it with remarkable confidence. "I can't do it by myself though," he admits. "And people don't like me." The implication should be clear: Theo needs someone to intercede for the help.
Robin shifts through her maps and glances over her shoulder, making notes in white spaces about possible patterns to explore when she gets back to her scouting. "Stop all of the sentinels?" she repeats, as if confirming that she heard right. She doesn't like believing in miracle cures anymore, but she knows from her experience with the X-Men that sometimes hairbrained schemes can work to overthrow villains. "How?"
"You haven't seen Addison lately, Theo. Nothing's all that crazy anymore. But that's one side of a good plan. Ahab's the other. The problem is, Ahab is the *real* problem." Rashmi shakes her head, glancing over her shoulder at Robin. "Maps away, Robin. We told you; *no* scouting for forty-eight hours. You are officially on leave, starting yesterday, remember?" Blowing out a rough breath, she returns her gaze to Theo. "We'll talk planning later. Since your hideaway might still have a use, where is it?"

Theo smiles at Robin's glint of enthusiasm. "Just after the sentinels attacked, I engaged one. Just one. I heard that they adapted to our powers, so I found an isolated sentinel and I captured it. It's been safely tucked away for some time. It can't communicate with the others. Hell, it's in pieces in my workshop, it can't do much of anything. But I started studying the technology which enables them to adapt to powers. At first I thought I'd create an army of my own, but I realized it'd be much more effective to find a way to disable them. Nanites." Apparently he wanted to share what he's spent the last several years on anyway, so he doesn't hold back as Rashmi suggests. In Theo's world, Theo is the authority.

He looks back at Rashmi. "It's upstate, about sixty miles from here. Well defended, and plenty of food to go around. Though I don't know how far it'll go with so many mouths to feed. It's amazing what you can find on the black market. Robin will be happy to know that I have some little friends that have been helping with maps. You still know how to work a computer, Robin? Because cartography bores me to no end." As if on cue, a small spidery looking robot comes limping in. It's been crunched and burned, but it still operates. Barely. "Hey there 36," he says. "You don't look so good." Yep, he's talking to his robot. Then again, he always did talk to Proto, even before he gave it an AI.

"Just making notes… I saw something I wanted to remember," mumbles Robin, taking a step back from them. She doesn't put them away, though, they're there for Robyn to look over whenever he wants. "I don't even have the brand of pencils I like, much less a computer. If you have something to provide me, it'd be helpful to no end." She pauses for a moment and says, almost excitedly, "You likely have programs that can work on pattern recogni-" she stops and glances over to Rashmi and says, "I'll talk about it later, okay?" She's on leave.
Rashmi catches Robin's glance, a neutral expression on her dark features. "Thank you," she says, nodding. "…Okay. Theo. Before you go on. Stop for a second, okay? You're working on it, that's great. I'm not the one you need to tell this to. I've already got to meet with Jericho sometime soon, so I'll pull you in on that. You're probably going to want to hear it anyway, since you've got access to anything that resembles a computer and can work on the math. But for right now, what you want to do is make yourself useful. Volk found an old fusion battery a few days ago, if you can talk to Scourge and figure out how to recharge it you'd be helping a lot."

Theo laughs outloud. "The big ones that SHIELD uses?" he asks. "I don't know who Volk is, but where the hell did he find one of those? Yeah, recharging it shouldn't be a problem, but it might take some time. I'll want to make sure it isn't faulty by now, or we might all be getting buried in doggy bags." He scratches his chin. "I'm gonna take a guess and say that all our brilliant minds haven't made it here, or you'd already have power," Theo says. He slowly starts to stand to his feet, wearily. That gas took a lot out of him.
Robin bites her bottom lip lightly and says, "Speaking of Volk…" She takes another small drink of water and puts the bottle aside, "I've got to go. I'll see you later." She waves, giving a two finger fake salute, and heads towards the exit.
Rashmi nods to Robin. "You're looking better already, by the way. More alive. Good luck." Settling onto the ground, she shakes her head. "That's one reason, Theo. The other is, we can't afford to draw any real volume of power. Addison can only protect us from observation, not from anyone noticing energy usage. The battery? That's going to keep our hydroponics going, so eventually we won't have to eat canned Spamwiches and Spaghetti-Os."

Theo considers that for a moment. "Fair enough," he says. He picks up the small robot in one hand, and it seems to become a little more coherent. The legs fold inside, and a blue light comes on near the lense of the little probe scout. "Maybe in the morning we can try to get back to the bunker. Think that nutcase can shield the bunker from detection, too?" he asks. If there's going to be more people operating at his base, it could draw attention from more than just sentinels. It'd just take one terrapath to break through the thick defenses of the shelter.

Almost mournfully as Robin passes through the door, she comments after Rashmi's words, "I used to like Spaghetti-Os…" And with those parting words, she's gone.

"I doubt it," is the reply, Rashmi rising to her feet alongside Theo. "It's about all he can do to shield all of us. Your place would make a good emergency hideaway if it comes to that, though. So anyway. Good to have you back, don't make us sorry we let you in. *Again.*"

Theo shrugs his shoulders the way he did when he was a teenager. "I just hope I'm not going to be sorry I came." He strokes the robot with his thumb, as if it could feel or care that he pets it. Maybe Addison isn't the only one gone a little loopy.

"I guess we'll just have to see," Rashmi says, twisting the wedding band on her finger. "More important question; will we be alive to be sorry?"

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