2010-08-08: Failure Modes

Players: Connor & Magneto

Connor_icon.jpg Magneto_icon.jpg

Summary: Magneto has words with Connor. Connor deals.

Date: Aug 8, 2010

Log Title:

Rating: G

Xavier Mansion - Courtyard

Surrounded on three sides by the school, a large courtyard forms the front yard. The courtyard leads right up to the door of the mansion. Yellow square stone slabs cover the ground where the grass would be. The most noticeable thing about the courtyard is the large statue of Jean Gray, aka Phoenix, in the middle as a memorial. Benches surround the outside of the statue so students can sit and hang out in the courtyard. There are two paths leading off the courtyard, one to the left and the other to the right.

Another late summer night, past midnight and going into Monday in New York. Right there in the courtyard of Xavier's, a familiar sight reveals itself in the form of a portal resolving into existence in a familiar blue-green energy signature. Connor lands on the other side from spending the day with his family, a fudge pop in his hand half-eaten. Turning around he waves his hand once to slowly collapse the corridor instead of letting it dissolve as usual… offering a sigh of relief as he draws that power back in. Another bite from the cold confection, and he pulls out his phone, "Hi Mom… yes, I'm back safe, on the grounds… I promise I won't let that happen again, I swear. Love you too… bye…" And after the hangup, "Ugh."

Deep in the gardens, Magneto lifts his head. He was looking for more Sentinel parts, and he has a pile of hand pieces, but … yes. That's interesting. And familiar, in a real/not real way. He abandons his search and lofts into the air, heading for the courtyard. He's too late to see the energy flash, but he doesn't miss it; he can feel it in the disturbance of the magnetic lines of force running through the grounds. Idly, he wonders if the source knows how remarkably *noisy* he is…?

The courtyard comes in view. There's only one person there—and it is who he thought it would be. This makes things simpler. "Boy." Magnified voice, because he can. "We should speak."

Connor watches his phone screen flicker as the magnetic force comes within range of it, and immediately turns it off before the man gets close enough to disable it just by being there. With that done, he puts it back in his pocket and turns to face and look up at the Master of Magnetism. He doesn't take any kind of offensive posture or immediately seem on edge. Around his right hand is a flex-cast, the type used for larger arm wounds or basic sprains and cracks. A deep breath is taken before he says, "Allright. But could you please use my name, Sir?"

Magneto lands in a billow of cloak, despite the lack of wind. "Which name? Do you prefer Connor… or Volk?" He settles and takes his helmet off, running a hand through his hair. This doesn't improve the helmet-head look, but does un-flatten it.

The use of the second name immediately makes him step back, his body language turning momentarily aggressive before Connor takes a breath to settle himself again, "I'd… prefer Connor, Sir." Remaining respectful, but now with an edge of wariness about him, evidenced by the shimmering shift of color in his eyes, going from a steady blue-green to having a water-like affect around the pupils. For a moment he rubs at his injured arm, letting it raise and fall finally before he then says, "You wanted to speak?"

Magneto notes the reaction. Interesting. "I did. Your abilities cross mine in noticeable ways. To begin with, I want to know who is the primary person in charge of teaching you. Do you like this training? Do you feel you are getting what you require out of it?" He gestures toward the injured arm. "And how did that happen?" All said with the attitude of one who has to ask such questions, and who expects prompt answers.

If Connor has any ability to notice, Magneto is warping the magnetic fields around both of them, using them to examine Connor top to toe… and Connor's personal energy field, of course.

Connor's personal energy reserves are low, and where a normal person's 'center of gravity' is, there is instead the same sensation one finds with a black hole, or similiar gravitic event. Extremely localized and harmless for the moment. He has muscle fatigue from exercise, and the arm that is bandaged shows ligament tears, muscle damage, and even bone damage as if something had tried to pull it all ways at once. A moment of listening to the questions, he then responds with, "I was under Doctor McCoy, but they've changed the teams, and I'm going to be under Mister Guthrie. The training is allright, but sometimes I hate how I feel afterwards. Not the thrill or anything, but the fact that once the rush is over, it all comes crashing down on me. I've learned a lot in a short time, more about physics and myself than I thought possible…"

The pause is from his looking down at the cast a moment, and then saying softly, "I did something I wasn't supposed to… I warped my own gravity… centered it on my hand, and punched Ahab. I had no choice… he was threatening everyone, his Hounds were there… it was act, or eventually he'd have caught me or worse."

Magneto puts the helmet away, flattening it and making it fold up small in a way metal just shouldn't, but does (for him). Then he listens, arms crossed, without obvious reaction to anything Connor says, save for a flicker of an eyebrow at the mention of Ahab. Leaving aside the education for the moment, he says, "And what was the effect of your punch? Was it worth the price you have paid?"

Connor brings his hand up, looking it back and forth before giving a nod, "It hurt… a LOT. I haven't had that much pain since my minds were swapped. It was like I was being crushed and torn apart at the same time. But, it gave me the one shot I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. There are some fights where you can fight with some sense of honor, and dignity… then there are fights that you pretty much can't hold back, and there's no such thing as unfair anymore. Me hitting him from behind with as much force as I could bear was enough to knock Ahab senseless, and we managed to get him to where he could be tossed back to his own time. So yes… the pain was worth it. Too many people were threatened."

Magneto nods once. "You achieved your goal: you sent Ahab back where he came from. You don't need to belabor your reasons, stating that others would benefit from your actions. That you succeeded in your goal? Enough." He regards Connor from under white brows, blue laser examination. "You've been working very hard lately. It shows in your body. It shows in your words. Are you looking forward to the coming school year?"

Connor unconsciously drops into a military-style stance, the 'at ease' position while he listens. Tilting his head a bit as he listens to the older man, there's a nod as he thinks. And it's actually a couple minutes before he replies, "To be honest, Sir? I wish I was… but when I try to look forwards, my OCD begins to rise up… and I worry. Like this.. fighting past all the other things to try and speak plainly."

"What are you worried about? Explain." Magneto focusses on this; he uncrosses his arms to face Connor squarely. "This school is supposed to be safe," his tone shows how much he doesn't truly believe that. "Or at least as safe as is possible." And he doesn't really believe that, either. Safety is something of a myth for the Master of Magnetism. "How much of this… difficulty… is due to Ahab and his ministrations, his activities, and the actions that he and his… might have done, some years hence?"

Connor closes his eyes this time as he speaks, "I have a neurological disorder, Sir… something between Asperger's and a Compulsive Disorder. Before I came here, I wasn't really managing it. I was pretending… fading into the background. Being the person everyone thought I should be. I can't do that here… you end up standing out on your own no matter what you do. I've been pushed, I've been threatened, I've watched a good friend ground under everything that's happened in the last two months. And a huge part of me… that part that I'm always fighting with inside is asking me… 'How long before it's my turn.' Ahab was it, and if it hadn't been for someone else being there, I would have been captured, or turned. I panicked. All the time and training I've gone through all my life, and I FROZE."

Magneto is silent for a very long moment, eyes narrowed, watching Connor's face and hands and body language. Then his hands twitch. "Connor. Listen to what you just said. You just said that before you came to this place, you weren't really managing. You were pretending. How long do you think that could have gone on… without the time and the training you got here?"

A pause and he moves a step closer. His voice lowers. "Here is a truth that Xavier's Institute will never tell you: there will be a time when you fail. Not 'may fail'. WILL fail." He crosses his arms. "And it does not teach you how to deal with that."

Connor tenses under those words about failure, and it seems like it travels through him. His hands come back around front, and rub against his jeans for several moments, then go into his pockets and back out again. Once more they enter his pockets and ball into fists before he finally regains himself. It seems he cannot meet the man's eyes, constantly down and away, eyes always moving despite it. This entire display of hesitancy, of depressive and submissive behavior is ended with a whisper of, "I don't know how long. I really don't. I think the thing I hate the most is that… someone back home has been trying to help me for so long, and it's only been recently I've seen what he's been trying to do."

"Well. That's an improvement, yes?" Magneto watches Connor fidget. The young man is resisting; fear, Magneto thinks. Fear of many things… but mostly, fear of Connor himself. "For a young man who froze in the face of overwhelming opposition, and who nigh sacrificed his own hand to take it down… I think that you have had some very instructive lessons of late."

He shifts, half-turning away, takes a step to give Connor a bit of metaphorical room. "Can you set aside your fear of the future, young Connor, long enough to tell me what you want out of it? Where do you see yourself, at Christmas break, for instance?"

Connor relaxes fully from the at-ease he was trying to maintain, but the question does seem to make him pause, this time in a more thoughtful nature. This time takes less than the others, "I want to finally get past this disorder, Sir… I want to go a day without the compulsions, or the fears. But at least by Christmas? I'd like to know where I'm going. If college, or maybe the school Rashmi's attending… and I'd like to have the confidence to stick to that choice. I'd like the focus I can get when I'm fighting or very intent on something to be something that happens more often."

"You'll need confidence for that, young man. The confidence to act… and to continue acting, even when things fall apart. Even when you cannot think what to do." Magneto flicks fingers, indicating Connor's head, his hands. "The compulsions, and the fidgeting… these are signs that you want to act, but do not know what to do. So, you do something you know. A ritual, to replace actual effectiveness. Your subconscious knows your needs better than your consciousness does; respect that, but do not let it control you."

He stalks several steps away, cloak floating around him, and stops to stare down the driveway. "Emma Frost has invited me to be staff in this coming year. I am considering the offer." He turns his head to look at Connor over his shoulder. "Powers training, among other subjects. High level. Up to and including failure modes."

The young man's mouth opens… and then closes as those last words are spoken, and he then gulps before replying, "You're… you're going to teach, Sir? I… I'm… wow." Connor then pauses, before nodding, "Thank you, Sir." Obviously a hundred different things that are left unsaid because too much could be said.

"Either teach… or take control of the detention class. Which I am sure will be a learning experience all on its own." Magneto smiles with a humor that has teeth.

The comment does get a chuckle from the young man, as he replies, "If there WAS a detention class, I'll bet I know most of the people who'd be there." Connor then lets it settle, and a deep breath later, he adds, "Either way, Sir… that alone tells me I'm never going to forget my senior year."

"Pressure already, young Connor? Tsk." The Master of Magnetism swirls his cloak around himself and rises into the air. "If I'm the only reason to remember it… it won't be much of a year!"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License