2011-02-28: Economic Conquest


ErikLensherr_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo shares his plan for mutant equality, but Magnus doesn't share his enthusiasm.

Date: Monday, February 28, 2011. 6:35pm

Log Title: Economic Conquest

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.

Magneto comes out of the ballroom, trailing a pair of secretaries and several aides of various sorts. "See about the status of the rice crops in the northern rim, and see if you can't contact the fisherman's union. I'd like to see estimates for boat repairs by tomorrow morning, and fish catch estimates as soon after as possible. Let the Science Institute talk to Miss Colvin about their letters of intent, and make sure the legal department is all over their study proposals." He pauses, looking around the foyer. He spots Theo over by the security booth. "The Nigerian delegation is to be treated with deference. Please schedule a follow-up appointment with the ambassador and myself at their earliest convenience."

Theo is dressed to kill. A rather nice suit, conservative blues, and italian made. After all, he can afford it these days. He's no longer the destitute boy that found Xavier's School almost a year ago to the day. It wasn't an hour ago that the young technopath was in Tony Stark's office, presenting what is most likely the most significant thing he's done in his life thus far. So who does he tell? Someone he thinks will share his excitement. He doesn't speak first to Magneto, knowing that the man has many important matters to discuss with many people. He wasn't even sure if he'd find Magneto here, but the sensing of the Mast of Magnetism's signature magnetic phone told him that he was present. He waits patiently to be acknowledged before saying anything to the older mutant.

"All right. You have your orders. I look forward to the results." Magneto waves his entourage on, and they scatter, murmuring their farewells as they go. The man himself watches them for a moment, then turns his attention back to Theo. "Mr. Fegenbush. Good to see you. You are looking well. Is there something you wanted to speak to me about?" He's assuming there is; Theo doesn't hang out at the Embassy. The real question is, "How bad/good is this going to get?"

The smile that pastes across Theo's face is somewhat out of his norm. Usually cynical and pessimistic, the boy looks downright…happy. "I just got out of a meeting with Tony Stark," he announces. "I just proposed a process that would make billions of dollars, and put mutants in a rather lasting good light." He bounces on the balls of his feet once, looking like the cat that ate the canary. "Thought you'd be interested."

Magneto raises an eyebrow. "Indeed I am, if your process is all you say it is. I take it you wish to give me a presentation on it? I would suggest that if you do, that we repair to one of the second floor meeting rooms to do so." He pauses as a secretary hurries up to him and whispers in his ear. "Yes. Tell him so. Also, I will be meeting with Mr. Fegenbush here for the next half hour. Please rearrange my schedule as appropriate."

The secretary nods and hurries off. Magneto gestures toward the stairs. "Shall we?"

Theo nods as he considers for a moment about what information is on his presentation. "I…can't show you all of the presentation," he tells Magneto. "Stark Industries has entrusted me with some information that stays with them." Magneto's status doesn't warrant the teen to hand over all information, he's more careful than that. He starts up the stairs. "But as interesting the technology is, it isn't the part you should be concerned about. Really, I could've been proposing a new space program or a new garbage disposal program. It wouldn't matter," the boy says, shifting the laptop in his hands from one hand to be held in both casually.

Magneto does not comment on the proprietary information. If he needs to, he can get that elsewhere, or backward engineer it (which is more interesting to do, anyway.) "A new space program would frighten people, because they would all assume that we are placing weapons in space, with the aim of… well, them. As for a garbage disposal program…" he shakes his head and sighs. "Garbage detail is for humanity's untouchables. Even at best, garbage disposal persons are considered low class. Not quite our aim." He flicks fingers and a meeting room door open ahead of the two.

The laptop powers up in Theo's hand, and he smiles. "Well, it's actually neither of those," Theo says, "But the beauty is that the actual project isn't the point for mutants. This can apply to almost any major business in the world, not to mention most small businesses. Theo uses his powers to link the laptop wirelessly into the meeting room's projector, and the screen starts to warm up. "Hold on a second, I'll show you what I'm talking about. I made you a presentation while I was driving over here." Probably not the best thing to do while driving, but alas.
A picture of Hulk, Quicksilver, and Hellion appear. on the screen. "Okay, you know who they are, and their powers. Everybody is so used to thinking of them in combat situations. Hellion's powers let him move things with his mind. Quicksilver is super fast, enabling him to disarm and disable dozens of opponents in a heartbeat. Hulk is possibly the strongest being on the planet, and can crush just about anything. And yes, I know he's not really a mutant. But people think of superheroes and supervillains when they think of super powers. What they don't think of are more practical applications of those powers. Theo gestures to the embassy. "After the attack on Mutant Town, how did you rebuild the embassy?"

Magneto pulls a chair over and settles into it. He'll cross his legs and steeple his fingers, listening to Theo as the projector warms up. He'll glance at the images on the screen, then back to Theo, an expression of mild interest on his face.

"Actually, I did not need to rebuild the embassy. It took very little damage — a couple of bullet marks and some smoke damage, nothing more. Other buildings in Mutant Town did not fare as well, of course, and I lent myself to their recovery." He glances at the screen again, then back to Theo. "But do go on."

The teen nods, and the images change to represent different mutants and corresponding construction vehicles. "Companies spend billions on construction alone. Think of how much more cost effective it would be to pay a mutant who was skilled with their powers to do the same work?" The screen changes to a single image of a dollar sign. "See, thinking about trying to fight for equal rights is all fine and good, but what will change the hearts of the people is money. That's what people care about. If they can make millions by supporting mutants? There isn't a major corporation on the planet that won't jump on board with that. There's not enough mutants to make a significant work force on their own, so it would hardly take jobs away from flatlines. Mutants would just replace machinery and gas, creating new jobs for the economy, and providing them with serious income. Mutants could go from being poverty struck to being irreplaceable in the workforce."

Magneto unsteeples his fingers. "You're right, of course. A single mutant could replace half a dozen large pieces of construction equipment, shorten work schedules by days, weeks, months… and even lower the costs of building materials by whole magnitudes, if you have the right combination of powers." He smiles gently. "What will you do about the very real and very intense resentment of the workers that single mutant will put out of work? How will you cover their unemployment? How will they be able to find other jobs, if a single mutant could eliminate the need for… all of them?"

He spreads his hands. "Look at the embassy. I raised it in a night. Ordinarily, a building like this would take over a year, and would employ three to five hundred people." His eyes narrow. "Solve that problem, Mr. Fegenbush, and you will get your adulation. Ignore it, and upon your head be the consequences."

Theo shakes his head. "See, that's just the thing. There aren't enough mutants in existence to do that, yet," Theo points out. "An estimated one mutant to every 25,000 humans, hardly a threat to jobs. Only a threat to the companies that produce the machinery. And they won't be put out of business, they'll just be downsized, because there aren't enough mutants to go around, so many businesses who can't afford a mutant to work for them would still used the machinery. It's all about supply and demand for the workforce. By the time mutants are a threat to the jobs of non-mutants, we'll be the ones with the money and the power. You and I won't probably live to see that day," he estimates.
"It'd be a long time from now. Most mutants don't have the power you do, remember that. Very few mutants have either the knowledge or power to create things like you do. Those who do, of course would be worth what a company would pay for them. Even if people resented mutants, they'd still see them as valuable, and when you're indispensible to the economy, you'd be indispensible to the government. A lot harder for stuff like what happened last week to happen."

"Or they would see them as slave material, Theo, or are you forgetting the genesis of Genosha? A nation which decided to nationalize that portion of its population into a workforce for the betterment of the whole country — whether they wished to work that way, or not." Magneto regards the screen. "That is the central problem that you have not yet grappled with. Would the mutants wish to use their abilities in public in that fashion? Someone like me, I can get away with it. I can defend against just about anything. Someone like, say, you?" He pauses. "There's a reason why mutants don't announce themselves, young Theo. Good reasons."

Theo frowns. "Well, it's already in motion," he confesses. "We aren't in Genosha, we're in America. Mutants aren't immuned to the draw to money. It sure as hell beats slamming people around who don't agree." He shrugs, closing the laptop. "I guess time will tell at this point." After all, the meeting already took place. "Tony Stark likes the idea, and I trust his business sense. I think he's done all right so far."

Magneto frowns and regards the blank screen. Already in progress. "Just exactly who do you have enlisted to help with this… incipient business proposition? How many persons are involved? How are you recruiting people for the scheme, and what measures are you putting in place to ensure their safety? Mr. Fegenbush, you are quite within your rights to volunteer yourself for this; I have some reservations about the participation of other people."

Theo arches his brow. "Hi pot, my name's kettle. You enlisted all of Mutant Town for your little adventure, or did you forget that?" he asks. "A lot of people died, too. You can give me your speech about it being necessary losses, but you still didn't ask them if they wanted to be a part of it." The teen looks a little put off by what he views as a double standard. "You see, I'm not enlisting anyone. They will get to choose on their own to come forward to take part. And by in motion, I mean it's already proposed. Think of it, humans reaching out to US for help. Doesn't that excite you even in the least? Would you rather just have the war you always talk about? Because this is a real chance that there might be something other than bloodshed in the future between us and the humans. A chance that we could be respected, and have the humans hand us supremacy on a silver platter. I know there's risks, but anything worth doing is going to come with risks. I thought you'd understand that."
Magneto laughs. "Oh, Mr. Fegenbush. How little you understand. Both of me, and of the world, and most particularly, of humanity." He rises from his chair and straightens the cuffs of his jacket. "To compare the ending of the Game with your start-up proposal is like comparing the FoH to the Nazis. There are similarities, but the differences count as well, and you are too young and too naive to understand those differences at this time.

"However, as you have assured me, it would seem that any mutant taking part in your scheme will do so of his or her own choice. So be it, and best of luck to you and your partners. You can be sure I will observe your progress with great interest. Now, however, I believe our half hour is up. I have several more meetings to accomplish tonight. Please excuse me."

Theo narrows his eyes. "Sure, well, have fun belittling other people," he says with a snerk. He doesn't appreciate the Master of Magnetism's tone. He picks up the laptop, and with no small obviousness of annoyance, he excuses Magneto.

Magneto bows his head to the excusing, still amused. He will precede Theo out of the room and to the head of the stairs, where they will part company. "Mr. Fegenbush, I do wish you well with your plans, but I do have one piece of advice: the only thing you should expect to be served up on a silver platter should be a tea set."

Still smiling, he will head out to his next appointment. He doesn't go five steps before he collects a new set of secretaries and aides, and within ten, he is deep in conversation with them.

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