2011-05-29: Door Crashing The Press Conference


Magneto_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg

Summary: Tabitha and Magneto have a conversation after a press conference.

Date: May 29, 2011

Log Title: Door Crashing the Press Conference

Rating: PG

NYC - Genoshan Embassy

The neo-classical building was built in the late 1800's and is one of the few buildings in mutant town that resembles old New York Architecture. The facade is colored and textured like high-grade marble, but is actually made of steel. Inside there is a large foyer with a sweeping staircase that leads the second floor where many doors lead off to public offices (such as taking applications for emigrating to Genosha). The Embassy is complete with a medical facility and Grand Ballroom, where the official functions occur.

The embassy isn't busy on a Sunday afternoon, but it has the usual traffic, locals and others coming and going, doing the business of Genosha and its leader, Magneto.

Speaking of whom, Magneto himself is in the main foyer of the embassy. He's in a very nice three piece suit, a crowd of secretaries and assistants, and a very professional smile. There's a newsman or two hanging around, as well. Seems there was a function earlier, and it ended just a few minutes ago.

Everything is quite peaceful outside, or at least as peaceful as the embassy ever gets; right up until the high-pitched whine of a motorcycle engine signals the approach of a new person. The motorcycle is neatly parked in a stall outside, the meter paid, and soon after a mutant makes her way through the front door. Tabitha, the rat girl in biker's leathers, unzips her jacket to reveal a blue t-shirt that says 'Barnes' across the bust and has been torn off to leave her midrif bare. She pauses just inside the foyer, and looks up, gaping briefly at the room she finds herself in, and the people in it.

"…There will be opportunities at the economic fair for individual entrepreneurs to make their pitches to the Genoshan Secretariat for Economic Advancement. We are always interested in encouraging new and progressive visions for the future of our nation and for mutantkind everywhere." Magneto smiles all around. "Any other questions?"

The people surrounding him fawn, squeal, or take notes, according to their natures. Magneto continues to smile and nod, and he looks around at the room. If he notices Tabitha in particular, he gives no sign of it.

Tabitha eventually stops gawking like a gormless idiot, and makes her way further into the embassy; specifically into the crowd of people hovering about Magneto. Her tail twitches nervously behind her, but she clenches her jaw and presses on anyway; it proves not to be too difficult as she squeezes between a pair of human reporters and they both sidestep with a start, upon noticing just what has come up between them. As she approaches, she unslings the teddy-bear backpack off her shoulders, and pulls out a notepad and a pen. "Yeah, I got a question," she declares as she returns the pack to her shoulders. "What's your strategy to improve the conditions of mutants who can't get jobs in America because of the way they look?"

Magneto turns toward Tabitha with amusement in that smile of his and his eyebrow raised. "To begin with, I hire mutants for positions that they are qualified for, both in the embassy and in positions outside the embassy. I encourage my partners in business and government to hire mutants, looking not at their outsides, but at what they can bring to the partnership from themselves. Equality is an ideal, one that I insist upon from those people I deal with. Or," the smile widens, full of teeth, "I don't move forward with them."

The rat girl chews on the top of her pen for a few seconds, before madly scribbling down the answer, or… something, at least, on her note paper. "Oh. Okay!" She pauses, obviously looking for something really intelligent to say in response. "Thanks," she says at last, and shrugs her shoulders. She steps back for the moment, and glances back and forth between the various… reporters and such like.

Magneto turns from Tabitha and takes questions from others. How to enforce his hiring policies? "The same way anyone else does: reviewing the process before, during and after." Doesn't preferential hiring of mutants mean reverse racism? "Did I say preferential? I said if the mutant was qualified, he or she would be hired. If those qualifications are equal to a baseline human's qualifications, then the mutant will be hired. That isn't racism, reverse or otherwise: that's levelling a playing field that has been non-level for too long." That's still racism! "Mr. …Smith? Why is it that people like you — baseline, boring — always cry 'racism' when you only have to compete… fairly?"

Tabitha coughs, loudly clearing her throat and stepping forwards once more. "Hey, Mr. Smith. Trust me, just because I look like I should be trying to find a way into your pantry doesn't mean I've got any edge over ordinary looking folk when it comes to stuff like designing cars. The only reason I know as much as I do about mechanics is because I've been studying my ass off. I don't have any brain-suction voodoo to steal someone else's know-how, and the only reason I won't be able to get a job in four years time is because I'm funny looking. Isn't that racism?"

Mr. Smith ignores the funny-looking rat girl. "What's fair about having the job go to the other guy because of something he was born with, not something he earned? Hmm? How about that?" He shoves his microphone into Magneto's face.

Magneto regards Smith with that same smile, although his eyes have gone colder. "You're ignoring the actual issue, Smith. Are you always this much of a moron in public, or are you being this ignorant just to impress me?"

Tabitha ahems softly. "Smith." She crosses her arms across her chest, and puts on her bravest scowl. "Your arguement is retarded. Should someone with no arms and no legs get a job as a policeman? How do you figure he'd get the job done? But if you don't give it to him, by your reasoning, he could say it's not fair that all the other cops got the job because they were born with something that he wasn't, namely arms and legs. If a mutant can do a job really well, why shouldn't he get the job?"

Magneto flicks an eyebrow; he's interested in this answer. He crosses his arms and regards Smith, who is less than impressed with Tabitha's argument.

"Stupid equivalence, girl. Cops have physical prerequisites for the job — and an armless, legless person doesn't have those. But most jobs don't have physical requisites, so why choose a mutie over a normal person, just because they're a mutie?"

The rat girl sighs, and shakes her head. "You wouldn't," she replies. "That's not what I've been getting at. I'm not saying I want special dispensation, I just want to be able to *get a job.* That's all there is to it. Last time I walked into a convenience store I got a shotgun stuffed in my face. All I wanted was a chocolate bar." She plants her hands on her hips, and her lips press into a thin line. "I just want to know that if I apply for a job, and I *am* the best candidate on my own merits, that I'll get it — and not lose it to someone who isn't as good as me just because I don't look normal."

"You're not saying that! You're saying you should get the damn job just because you're a mutie! That some deserving normal human shouldn't, because you're a mutie! That the fact that you're a mutie eclipses all other considerations! If that isn't reverse racism, what is it?" Smith is pointing a finger in Tabitha's face, advancing on her.

Magneto snorts. "And what's the difference between that, and getting the job just because you're a so-called 'normal' human, Smith? —Not that I would hire you. You're … not qualified."

Tabitha draws back a step, in the face of the advancing reporter and his… finger. "Look, I like being called a mutie about as much as I'm sure the average black person likes being called a nigger, okay? It's not cool. Could you please get the finger out of my face?" She takes another step backwards, leaning almost far back enough to topple over, but managing the uncomfortable stance quite well. The rat's eyes glance up towards Magneto, and then back to the reporter; there's a quiet, electronic 'pop' from his microphone, and it abruptly stops working.

Magneto turns his head and he *looks* at Tabitha for a moment, before returning his attention to Smith. "I do agree with the young lady, Mr. Smith. Your behavior is beyond reprehensible, and your press pass to these premises is hereby revoked. Security? See Mr. Smith out. And remember to put him on our banned list." He waves a hand; guards move in on the protesting Smith.

People draw away from Smith; Magneto treats him as if he's already left. He turns to Tabitha. "On behalf of the Genoshan embassy I do apologize, Miss…?"

Tabitha uhs, and stands there reclaiming her voice for a moment. "Uhm, Jones. Tabitha Jones." She bobs her head, and the insides of her large ears turn red as she blushes. "I, uhh, I'm sorry for all that outburst, he just kinda got on my nerves." She pauses, and clasps her hands behind her back. "Like, big time, I mean." She pauses for a moment more, and licks her lips. "Uhm, sorry. I just didn't quite expect to walk into the middle of a press conference and meet you face to face."

"Miss Jones. A pleasure to meet you." Magneto bows his head. "As for what you said, never apologize for speaking your mind, Miss Jones. Especially when you are in the right. And besides," there's that wide, white smile again, "you asked a good question. You deserved your answer, and Mr. Smith deserved his."

Tabitha's eyebrows rise. "Well, I thought it was a pretty good question, too," she replies. "But I never did get my answer… not from him, anyway. I just got called names, and he wouldn't listen to what I was saying." She shrugs her shoulders, and rocks back and forth on the balls of her feet. "Not that I really expected otherwise, mind you, I guess it was kind of like jumping into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson and expecting to have a gentlemanly debate instead of having my nose punched in and my ear bitten off." She pauses, and the blush creeps back to her ears. "I, uhh… what do I call you? Magneto? Mr. Magneto?"

"I don't think Mr. Smith was interested in listening to anything but the sound of his own voice. Unearned privilege tends to encourage that sort of behavior." Magneto looks around; the press conference has broken up, several of the people following the fracas involving Smith out to the street. He looks back to Tabitha at her final questions. "You may call me Magneto. I do believe that a 'Mr.' is overkill."

Tabitha nods her head quickly. "Okay, Magneto it is," she replies. "I… well, I guess I call myself Patches as often as I call myself Tabitha, these days." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I guess it just feels appropriate, since other mutants always seem to come up with some admittedly very cool name for themselves. Right?"

Magneto smiles. "Are you saying that Tabitha Jones is not a very cool name, Miss Jones? After all, it is yours. It belongs to you, in a way that only you can own it. I do believe that you have already demonstrated how well you own yourself, even in the face of the sort of unthinking bigotry that so many so-called 'progressives' put forth."

He flicks his fingers, indicating the rest of the building. "I do not believe I have seen you here before, Miss Jones. Is this your first time, visiting the Genoshan embassy?"

Tabitha pauses, and taps her lips with her fingers. "Well, I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't," she admits. "But I guess it sounded that way. I dunno, I never really thought 'Tabitha Jones' was ever cool or awe-inspiring or anything, it's always just been… mine, and I never really thought about it beyond that." She shakes her head quickly. "No, I bet you'd probably remember if you'd seen me before. I've only been in New York for a couple of months. This is the first time I've ever come here."

"Then allow me to show you around…" Which he does. Thoroughly. Answering questions and everything. Who knew Magneto makes a really good tour guide?

It isn't all fun and games, though. People are constantly approaching him, asking him for decisions and signatures, updating him on events. He takes it all in stride.

Tabitha asks a lot of questions, and takes notes, too. As it turns out she'd come on assignment, to learn about the place for some course she's taking at Barnes. "You don't seem to get much peace around here," she observes after a while. "I mean, not that you seem to mind much. You seem to like being in charge, if you don't mind my saying so. But in a good way." She pauses, stopping in the middle of the corridor. "I, uhh, have a bit of a confession to make, though, before we go further. This might be sort of embarassing."

Magneto pauses to sign something before answering. "I'm a head of state, Miss Jones. If I didn't like being in charge, I'd be in the wrong job, yes?" He quirks her a smile. "I'm sure you could find plenty of people who would say that I am, after all."

He'll stop when she does and cross his arms at the word 'confession'. "Embarassing. Indeed? Well, then. Out with it. I do assume that the middle of a corridor is an appropriate place for this sort of discussion…?"

Tabitha uhms, and her ears turn red on the insides once again. "Well, there's nobody here right at this moment but us anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter." She glances up and down to make sure, and then shrugs her shoulders. "Well, Smith's microphone… he might notice later, it doesn't work anymore. It doesn't work anymore because I made it not work. Maybe not my best judgement ever." She pauses, and ahems softly. "No, I don't have any power over electronics or anything. Well, actually, sometimes I do. But not this time; I actually kinda… copied your powers. And then crunched everything inside his microphone into little bits."

Magneto nods and thinks for a moment — a long moment. "Aha," he murmurs. "I did notice that you had done that to the microphone — doubtless, the odious Mr. Smith will blame it on me. I will suggest that he be allowed to think so. I do believe that you will find it more convenient that way." He considers Tabitha for another long moment. "A copying power… I cannot imagine you have had many opportunities to practice with that."

Tabitha shrugs her shoulders lightly, once it appears she isn't going to be summarily dismissed from the premises. "Only a few," she replies. "I copied someone who has wings the other day, by accident. That… wasn't a lot of fun for the first few minutes, but it was a blast afterwards. There's been other times when I've copied people, too." She pauses, and glances downwards at her feet. "Actually, the whole reason I look like this is because of that power. I wasn't actually *supposed* to be a rat; the first time I copied someone it… turned out permanent. I don't really know why, it hasn't been permanent since."

Magneto raises an eyebrow. "Perhaps it is the nature of the first person's power, Miss Jones. Perhaps it has a facet of which you are unaware. Or there may be another explaination." He regards her steadily. "How long do your copies last, if I might ask? Do you always copy everyone around you, or must you put forth an effort? And did you do so that first time…?"

Tabitha bites her bottom lip, "Well, I timed it the last couple times I copied someone. I can only copy one person at a time, and I don't seem to be as powerful as they are at it.. but some of the instructors at Barnes say I'll get stronger as I get older. Once I copy someone, I have to keep it for at least twenty-four hours, but I can hold on to it for a week if I want to." She pauses, and shakes her head. "I don't copy everyone, I have to decide I want to… though it's not like I have to strain my brain or anything, I just… decide to." She pauses once more, and hooks her thumbs in her belt. "It helps that I always know who's a mutant and who isn't. If anyone comes close enough to me, like… twenty feet or so? I always know. I don't know how I know, I just… know." She shrugs her shoulders, and shifts her feet a little. "I didn't do it on purpose the first time. The mutant I was copying was actually in the middle of ripping out my throat at the time, or so I thought… I wasn't hurt when I woke up, and healing wasn't one of her powers, I'm sure."

Magneto says, "How are you sure, Miss Jones? A healing ability, perhaps a regeneration ability, when mixed with a copy ability might provide permanence." He regards her, his eyes narrowing. "Or a resurrection ability…."

Tabitha blushes heatedly, and thrusts her hands firmly down into her pockets. "Well, I guess I'm not sure, but since then if I've hurt myself I've had to heal up the old fashioned way," she replies. "I did end up looking like something out of a bad movie, though, and I'm a lot more agile than I used to be… and my hearing and sense of smell are better." She shakes her head. "Well, uhm, anyway. I'm pretty sure she didn't have anything like that, just… because my Dad spent a bunch of time asking questions and stuff about her. …Let's just say there's a really good reason why I don't live with my Dad anymore."

"Indeed." Magneto does not comment further, for another secretary approaches and whispers in his ear. He sighs. "I do apologize, Miss Jones, but while I am finding the conversation fascinating and do want to continue it, this will have to happen at another time. I am afraid that I am needed elsewhere, and immediately." He turns to the secretary. "Miss Ozelle. Please see that Miss Jones has everything she needs to complete the school assignment she is working on. And see that she has the private contact numbers for the embassy and myself. Miss Jones." He nods to her.

Tabitha breaks out into a big, toothy grin. "Oh? Oh, that's alright, I'm sure being a head of state means that all kinds of stuff crops up." She takes a step back, and glances at the secretary, then back to Magneto. "Thank you for taking all that time to show me around and such. I really appreciate it."

Magneto bows his head to Tabitha. "I assure you, Miss Jones, the pleasure was mine." And then he's off. Before he's halfway down the hall, he's collected a new retinue of staffers…

~ Fin ~

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