2010-05-04: Food For Body, Food For Thought


Mike_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Connor_icon.jpg Tara_icon.jpg

Summary: Tara is in dreamland over an upcoming date with Six. Later, Connor shows up with his pre-Danger Room dinner and there is unexpected discussion of faith vs. reality.

Date: May 4, 2010

Food For Body, Food For Thought

Rating: G (Contains religious discussion)

Xavier Mansion - Recreation Room

What was once the Parlor has been turned into a Recreation Room for the students. A nice plush carpet meets the light blue walls giving it a homey feel. A pool table at one end, a foos ball table at the other, and entertainment center with video game systems, movies, and of course, cable TV. Big comfy chairs and couches surround a coffee table for comfortable loafing. Long glass windows with a pair of French doors line one side of the room bringing in plenty of light during the day. The main rule in here is to clean up after yourself.

This session continues immediately after Cerberus, Drawn As A Puppy

Note - because this session went a LONG time, Connor came and went and came back. To adjust for the IC timing factor I have introduced the traditional three stars into the middle of one of my poses so that some time can be considered to be passed without being recorded. — Mike

Mike closes the door and looks over at Rashmi. "OK, yeah, I'm instigating. She doesn't know about the robot thing yet either," he grins.

Rashmi lets out a heavy breath as the thre-headed pencildog vanishes, closing her eyes for a moment. "Well um…. Call me crazy, Mike, but just…. hear me out here. She drew that, and it came to life…. right?"

Mike nods. "Yeah, it was sorta alive on the paper too. I saw it move. I think."
He grins. "I have the best squadmates. Superman-sorry-Astro Boy, Chase the C'thulhuporter, Chezlie the tattooed ninja mormon girl, fill-in-the-blanks Rush In, and now … No, I deduce that she did NOT mean her codename was Echidna, so what do you call someone who can make her own a-Ha video come to life?"
He bounces a little. "This is gonna be an awesome session tonight."

Rashmi nods slowly. "Well, there you go then. Question is, d'you *really* want to instigate someone who could perhaps maybe be inclined to sketch up that puppy's *mom* if she's mad at you…?"

"Huh? No, the instigation is all on watching Hank's reaction. I'm sure she'll … aww crud. OK, don't assume. You are such a damp comforter, Bowling Girl."
Mike sighs dramatically, and rather obviously so since he doesn't actually BREATHE. "OK. She might have issues that freaking out a teacher would affect, but I"m pretty sure Professor McCoy would take it well anyway."

* * *

Mike sits on the floor cross-legged again, CLUNK, near Rashmi. "So what's up with you lately. Has it really been two weeks since I saw your face? That's kinda depressing."

Rashmi bobs her head, settling down next to the not-visibly-robotic boy. "Something like that, yeah… Since Ms. Walters came to take Mr. Heckler to Barnes, so…" She draws in a breath, letting it out. "…Better, now. I think. Lucas is doing a *lot* better. James too. Er… right, did you know James is doing this kind of ROTC thing for X-Force, now?"

Mike nods. "The rumor mill has it that James actually brought a new student through without traumatizing her at all. I think he's been replaced by a pod hyena."
He scratches at his hair. Squeekasqueeka. "So, this 'Barnes' place. What do we know about it?"

Rashmi lifts a shoulder. "Sort of like here, except not just mutants? Ms. Walters was talking like it was a government thing, but if *she's* able to recruit, it's not all that military… College-level stuff too, I gathered."

Mike thinks about this for a moment. "And at the moment, of the students here, only you and I seem to know about it."
Mike looks at Rashmi for a further moment, his expression vague. And he continues: "So do you ever feel unsafe here? Because I do."

"Well, yeah," Rashmi replies, looking down at her knees. "I mean, it's pretty insane around here, but… I don't know. Honestly, I've thought about it now and again… and I'm still really glad I'm here, you know? It's like, sure there's a lot of horrible stuff just waiting to happen… but what d'you think it'd be like if it did whether or not we came here in the first place? Like… you can't throw a brick without hearing of that Friends of Humanity mob thing, right? Well… if you never came here, you wouldn't have any way to look flesh and blood. What d'you think people like that would have thought, seeing a boy made of metal and talking in radio samples?"

Mike shakes his head. "That's neither here nor there, I think. It's not that I am ungrateful in any way. I like the people here. I like the school. The only thing that I don't like is the feeling that things are so far out of control of the staff that I might as well be living in some sort of Lord of the Flies world. Rashmi, Magneto makes me feel safer than Scott and I REALLY admire Scott. But he doesn't seem to be aware that he has at least one unreformed Marauder wandering around in his school. He's afraid to say anything. For that matter, SKYLER… I like the guy, I love his new look, but not the creepy thing that sometimes pops up like an evil sock puppet. Demons I could handle better than this shit, Rash."

Rashmi blinks. "Creepy sock puppet? Um…" She frowns at this, chewing on her lower lip in thought. "Well okay, I guess I understand… But… I'm not sure the Headmaster's where the problem is, honestly. I haven't seen Addison at all, lately, and, well…" She blows out a harsh sigh, running her fingers through her hair. "…Okay fine I don't know what to say. Have you *asked* to talk to Mr. Summers? Like, sat down and *told* him, hey, this is going on, and it's really scaring me, is there something that *can* be done? I mean for all we know, they're *trying* to find a way, and we don't know it."

Mike shakes his head. "No, I haven't tried to talk to him. Rashmi, I do NOT do well with school authorities. The last ten schools I went to, I was branded a troublemaker after the first month, second at the most, the last one before here, Crabtree, the guy who was supposed to be there to help me get used to the place, accused me of seducing my friends and freaked out when he saw my robot eye. You remember, I talked about this, or drew pictures anyway … I stole his truck. You know how that turned out. He's started trying to call me. Somehow he got my number. I replaced that truck, Rashmi. With my own hard work and my college savings. So, no … I haven't asked to talk to Mr. Summers."
He shrugs, "I just… I always had home to go to where I could feel safe. This is getting to me. I suppose I should consider it a test of faith but… is it too much to just want a break?"

Rashmi raises a finger. "Um… hang on. I've got a question before we back up and talk about the important stuff, just… have you *answered* Mr. Crabtree at all, when he calls? Because, um… maybe he's had time to come to his senses, and wants to thank you for being more decent than a lot of kids your age would even *be?*"

Mike shakes his head. "You remember falling over Friends of Humanity stuff everywhere? Well, this would be another case. He used to use their dogwhistles in his speeches to the student body. He could leave a message if he wanted to talk to me. He just wants confirmation that this is really me."
Suspicious boy! So cynical at such an age too.

Rashmi is silent for a moment, one eyebrow rising. "Mike," she says, gently, "do you *really* believe that? Or d'you think maybe, it's just easier?" Reaching out, she rests a hand on Mike's knee. "And even if it's true… so what if he knows it's your number? Do you honestly think for *one second,* regardless of whatever else, a hate mob like that would last five minutes trying to get anywhere *near* this place?"

"Depends on who was leading it," Mike answers. "How much effort was it for the Marauders to just waltz in here? How hard was it for Magneto to come in whenever he wants and tear up the courtyard, and yes I heard about that, you're worse than I am but I had the excuse of being literally out of my mind when I told him to detonate the sun."
Mike grins a bit in memory but then sobers up again. "And I don't want to end up hiding here on the campus forever. Did you know that Theo's family was burned alive in their home. By Friends of Humanity? I think some of them might've gotten away. Maybe. But how hard would it be for someone to make something like a Sentinel, send it here? Did you know that at least half their specs are already on the web? They're not hard to make, it's just the two or three parts of the weapons system and the mutant detector that aren't, well, not off-the-shelf, but close to it."

"Magneto is, in the words of the back half of your brain, 'a-statistical-anomaly'" The last bit of her sentence, accompanied with outstretched Frankenstein's-monster-like arms, and a bad Dalek impression that swiftly dissolves into a grin. "He's *taught* here, and as much of a frightening boogeyman as he is, he's also not inclined to be, um…. proactive? against people who happen to be mutants, anyway. If I was stupid enough to do something besides argue philosophy, well then yeah, I'd probably be a smear. But—-*anyway.* Would it be hard to make a Sentinel? Maybe not prohibitively… but think of something else, Mike… *There are Sentinel pieces buried all over the place!*" The outburst, complete with arms flailing upwards for emphasis. "I *think* if there's anything we have to worry about, that isn't it."

Mike breaks out laughing. Almost like … yes. He's actually sampled the blood-elf and night-elf laughter on that MMO and figured out how to do a credible impression of something halfway between.
"OK, that's a great impression of me with my subconscious mind in control."
He shifts a bit, still sitting crosslegged on the floor, still image-induced. "The thing is, Rashmi, even though there are lots of destroyed sentinel parts around, there is a reason why we now have a second dorm. There was an attack which destroyed one wing of the mansion. I don't quite know what to do about Crabtree trying to call me because any action could really CONFIRM my location and identity. Just rejecting his call doesn't feed back any information."

Rashmi looks around at Mike, eyebrow rising higher. For a moment, she holds his image's gaze, silent, then clears her throat. "Um… Mike… I know this is probably going to sound silly, but… *How* easy would it be, exactly, to have someone… hell, *James* even, if not Forge or Dr. McCoy or even Mr. Summers… Make it so the phone says you're someplace way away from here? Like, Yellowstone?"

"I looked into it a bit. Part of the problem is that … phones are all digital. Look up SONET on the intarwebs. All the packets have cell tower IDs in them up to a point. Kinda scary how much you can get with a radio sniffer."
Then Mike shrugs, "OK, you have a good point. Talk to them what knows. Forge should be able to help. I'd like to talk to him anyway, he still hasn't explained some of the stuff he did to me."
He sighs. "I dunno, Rash … it just bothers me, the whole idea that a student can have a killing persona implanted and then NOT be made to put a leash on it. I don't think that's right. And I think the guys at Barnes, if they're really government, might be, I dunno, more aggressive about fixing that? I mean… Skyler can't help it. Can Jordan? And I never heard anything about Brian either. Did you see what happened to his hands?"

The door to the Rec Room opens and Tara, quite literally, floats through it, with a dreamy smile plastered on her face. If little hearts could float around about her head, and follow her around, they would do so. "Hey, guys," she says in an abnormally mellow tone as she floats over to the couch and sinks down into it with a sigh.
"I know, Mike, and it bothers me too… but I just don't think it's fair to assume that because *we* don't know if anything's going on, it's not, you know?" Sighing through her nose, she leans against her robot little brother's shoulder. "I wouldn't call it a test of faith, more a lesson about delegating it."
Rashmi is about to say more, but Tara's entrance, and the invisible hearts drifting around her head, serve well to put the brakes on her dimming mood. "Oh, my… Tara, um… Who's the lucky boy?"

Mike looks at Tara, and back at Rashmi. He stops talking about things that are making him worried. Not good to show potential weakness to the cute girl. Alas, that hearts-and-flowers look means she's probably gotten into some flesh-and-blood fellow, so he philosophically decides to celebrate for her instead.
"Spring is in the air," he says, "Apparently. Wait, I'm sure of that. I've had to clean the pollen out of my air filters twice this week. So apparently there's a nasty little putti with love arrows flying around skewering unsuspecting people again?"

Tara lounges in the couch, and lets out another wistful sigh. "Yeah," she answers to Rashmi. "Six. We're going out on a date Saturday."

There's a low whistle from Rashmi, as Tara identifies her new beau. "Six… wow. So, um… Are you going to have to file a flight plan before your date, or something? Cause, um… I'm pretty sure you forgot what gravity is…" Looking back at Mike, the girl shrugs, leaning in to murmur, "I'm not saying stop worrying. Just… that there are things that *could* be done to help you worry less, y'know?"

Mike is already deep into denial about that earlier stuff. SO not thinking about it. That file is closed. He grins at Rashmi, though. "Ah, bat-winged putti rather than the usual cherub. I shall have to counsel the lad on proper etiquette. Do not pin corsage to skin. Do tip the waiters. Do not go past first base on first date unless she does so first."
Mike's eyebrows waggle in Groucho fashion - not just the ones from the induced image, but the ones on his robot-face that Tara can 'see'.
"But then again he may already have dated, before, which would mean my advice would be an unwelcome intrusion. You will of course do similar honors for Miss Kincaid, I presume?"

Tara blushes furiously at the prospect of going beyond first base. "Um. We're not doing anything fancy. Just going to the mall in the Salem Center." She, then, catches on the tail bit of what Rashmi says and turns to Mike and gives him a stern motherly look. "Something /other/ than turning off your emotions."

Rashmi's mouth falls open at Mike's suggestion, closing with a sharp click of teeth. "….Erm. Um. That's good, Tara, I'm glad you've got a date. Besides, you probably know what you're doing better than I would anyway, so, I'm not going to worry about giving advice." This last, said with a slightly stern look Mike's way, and a slight wince as Tara broaches the subject of Mike's worries despite her efforts at keeping them between herself and him.

"GEEZ! I haven't done that for … four days now," Mike protests. "It's not that bad, anyway. It just keeps me from being distracted."
The robot boy humphs. "Touche Miss Kincaid. Good volley, nicely played. Also, make him take you for ice cream. I hear there's a Cold Stone Creamery there."

"It's not healthy," insists Tara, but lets it go at that. "Cold Stone," she asks with a small groan in her voice. "Man, I'll have to work out twice as long to burn off the calories from that." She sighs wistfully again, this time at the thought of ice cream. "But it'd be so worth it."

Rashmi bobs her head. "They do. And a Cinnabon in the mall, just in case you feel like working out for twice as long," she puts in, grinning.

The robot boy sighs melodramatically. "Cinnabon. I remember cinnabon. They were soooo good."

Tara considers Mike thoughtfully for a moment before stating: "You need a Mr. Fusion, but with taste buds so you can enjoy food again."

Rashmi blinks, and starts to refute this idea as a silly one, but closes her mouth, hauled back by her own brain before yet again before she can speak. "….You know," she murmurs, looking at Mike speculatively, "that…. hmmm…"

Mike shrugs, "Yeah, that would be nice. Having a body that actually flexes and gives when it should, that would be nice too. Being a car, that's … I wish I'd waited until I was older to wreck myself, is all. Maybe I wouldn't have so many poor GM-style ideas and maybe a few more good ones. Or at least I'd have started with a Maserati instead of a Chevy Ram. But enough about me. What's going on with you guys? Any good intersquad gossip maybe?"

Tara scowls a bit at the question, being brought down from the pre-date high she was on. "I don't know. James apologized to me the other day, and said he's a changed person. I can't tell if he was sincere, or if he had an ulterior motive behind it. I've heard about the kind of head games he could play." She sighs and shakes her head, settling back down in the couch, with her arms crossed. "I want to believe him but…."

"He really is trying, Tara." Rashmi smiles gently, utter sincerity in her voice. "He knows what he's got to deal with… he was pretty cracked, before he finally woke up to how badly he'd let himself get. I mean, I don't know if you heard what happened to Lucas and Jono?" She shrugs slightly, tilting her head. "But it made him realize, yeah, he had problems that needed fixing. And now, he's got to live with what those problems did to other people, y'know? So… he's trying. For real."

Mike shrugs. "I say give him the chance. Let him prove himself. How often should you forgive someone? Seven times seventy. I.e. always, if they're really repentant. But at the same time, watch to see that he isn't faking it. That's all."
Mike is pretty much going to give that kind of answer, though. Even if it's not one he necessarily seems to practice all the time. Fairly few people are perfect, after all.

Tara nods at Mike. "Yeah. That's pretty much what I did. I was also up pretty up front that I thought it could be another mind game from him."

Rashmi nods slowly. "Well.. I guess I can understand that. But, do me a favor, Tara? Don't harp on it. You've got that feeling out in the open, now it's his turn to show you the truth. So… I guess just please keep an open mind, now?"

Mike really has nothing to add to that. He checks his watch, and there's still a little time before he has to go to the Danger Room. Such a lovely name, "Danger Room" — wonder if his parents would freak if he told them about it.

Tara nods at Rashmi. "I'm not gonna," she assures the other girl. "If what he says is true… if what you said is true, then he deserves a second chance." She shrugs, then, "I guess I'm just not forgiving enough to give him a third or a fourth."

Rashmi nods quietly, apparently satisfied enough with that answer to keep from pushing further. As she catches the glance Mike gives his watch, she pats his shoulder. "Hey… don't be a stranger, all right? Two weeks, definitely too long to go without talking to you, y'know?"

Mike says, "Oh, no, I have about 45 minutes, that ought to be plenty of time for us to get caught up for at least three more days worth, right?"

Tara rubs the back of her head and sinks even further into the couch and lets Rashmi and Mike continue on catching up.

Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "That'll do, yeah… …Oh! Right! ….Um." Sitting on the floor next to Mike, the redhead purses her lips. "…I had something I wanted to tell you… but, um…. I'm… going to have to wait for it to make another pass, I guess, sorry Mike." Shaking her head, she turns her gaze back to Tara, face splitting in a broad grin. "Anyway. *Really* hope you have a good time on your date, Tara. You'll have to tell me how it went, okay?"

Mike plays back a chuckling-noise. "I'll have to find out from Six how it goes. Then we can compare stories."
Yes, merciless evil robot boy.

From down the hallway comes the smell of teriyaki chicken… followed by the form of Connor in the middle of reading a book in front of him, while lipping up a piece of chicken off the top of the pile. He's acutally so involved he doesn't realize anyone else is present until he flops down on the couch, and sets his stuff to the side, checking his spot, and seeing the others, "Oh… hey…" Moving forward a moment, he slips two cans of Coke out of his pockets and puts them on the table next to him, "What's up?".

"Making room for you, Apparently," says Tara as she quickly scrambles over from the middle of the couch to avoid being sat upon. Mike's comment gets him a glare. "I love you, Astroboy, but not in /that/ way. You're just an older, metallic, sexually ambiguous brother to me." Hah! Take that!

Briefly, Rashmi's spheres fade into view over her head, one separating from the orbit to bump against the back of Mike's head. "Be nice, both of you," she says, her voice exaggeratedly maternal and warning. "Don't make me turn this school around… Hi Connor! How're you doing?"

Connor looks around, picking up the fork from his pile of food, and then taking a large bite… chewing and swallowing as he watches, and then puts it back to one side… and then cracks the can, and drinks down almost half of it, "Me? Fine… actually… pretty good…" Another drink from the can and then looks around, "So… hi Tara… how's things? Sorry I almost sat on you… I wasn't paying attention."

Mike looks dubiously at Connor. "I know it's been six months since I last ate food, and when I did it was cafeteria food at my old, evil highschool, which means I will never be able to actually identify what it was other than 'gray, brown, beige and yellow' but… did you really intend to eat a bunch of food before going to the Danger Room? I seem to recall throwing up when I did that kind of thing. But hey, if it's no problem for you…"

Rashmi bobs her head, at Connor's answer, smiling. "I'm glad to hear that, actually. You looked like you were having it rough, before…" Mike's advice on the Danger Room earns a startled blink, a second look at the food in front of the other teen. "Oh… right… … …Actually what I'd worry most about is, how does teleporting on a full stomach affect you?"

Connor looks at his food, back at the pair, to the food again, "You two REALLY know how to ruin someone's appetite…" Sighing as he flops back, and starts on the can of Coke, closing his eyes, and groaning a bit before it's completely gone, and he one-arms it to the recycling bin after crushing it down, "Fine… one perfectly good bowl of my mom's chicken teriyaki will go to waste… unless you want it Rashmi…"

"Waste? Save it for microwave later." Mike mutters. "Or yeah, Rashmi can eat it, she's got to learn that there's more to the world of cuisine than curries and naan."

*PONK* "I have, thank you," Rashmi says with a sniff as her spheres fade out of sight. "…I just can't *cook* it. And sorry, Connor, I didn't mean to ruin your appetite? And yeah, can't you save it for after, when you'll be all hungry and not want to move much anyway?"

Connor looks back and forth, "No… usually don't have much of a want to eat after a DR session… it's usually fifteen minutes in the shower trying not to let it overwhelm me… after that I usually just want to sleep." Rubbing his eyes, as he holds up the second can, and cracks it open, "I've missed caffiene… calms me down."

"I guess I understand that, but I think it would be safer to get some sort of a bland food for after."
Mike tips his head. "But hey, maybe there won't be anything that bad."

Rashmi nods. "He's right… and besides, you should be starting to get used to them, soon. It's… I dunno, I guess it's like what I've heard about skiing, you know? The first few times, it's just *horrible,* until you get used to the routine. Or… well considering the Danger Room, the complete lack of one…"

"Hank's REALLY good at that. He's never done anything the same way twice." Mike grins in remembrance. "He did this thing with balloons. SO weird."

Connor groans once and then looks back at his food, and reaches for it, hugging it close like it was gold, arching a brow and then finally just takes another bite as if in defiance of all that has been said, "There's no point in expecting anything in there…" Another bite quickly chewed and swallowed, "It's not the routine that bothers me… Mike's seen me… all this…" Motioning to himself, "Shuts down and suddenly… well…" Shrugging and looking at Mike as if in confirmation, "It's always after when I have the problems…"

"Really, Connor, you should ignore the robot when he says stuff like this. You should also realize that you're awesome and that we all do better because you're there, so far. But you are gonna end up with the red visor effect if you can't calm down more." Mike is so full of advice tonight it's just SO … yeah.

Connor smiles up at the robot guy, "Mike… I couldn't do half the stuff I do without you there… you're the core of the group… Chezlie and I are strikers, I just with Cloud would pull his weight a bit better… but I mean… seriously… you're half the reason I can even cut loose. It's just the more I push, the more I feel… something… I dunno what it is. But don't worry… I've got a session with Dr. Mayfair-Parker coming up. Allright? I'm not shirking this thing going on in my head. I just… when I'm in the zone, I can keep most of it down… but when it's over… yeah… crash." Gulping once before he goes back to digging into his small snack-meal.

Rashmi listens to Connor talk, eyebrow rising higher and higher. Finally, as Connor digs back in to his meal, she looks to the robotic teen at her side, grinning and nudging him with her shoulder. "…Junior Leader."

"What? I do not." Mike looks terribly embarrassed. Stupid BLUSH code. "We keep trying to get Cloud to do it but he's … you know that his power affects him like cocaine right?"

Connor mumbles out between bites, "I'm not kidding… now if we could just get a petition going to get the team uniform changed from creamsicle nightmare to Beast-fur blue…" Then he swallows down and finishes the second Coke, adding it to the recycling bin with another deft hit, "Anyways… Mike's got this idea that me synching up with him means he could enhance my dimensional sense and fine-tune my teleportation effect… maybe even extend my defensive field around the whole meckmobile… I'm still game for it tonight… just no promises, big man."

Rashmi nods slowly. "Now I'm not asking because I don't think you forgot, Mike, but you told him about that bit of your power, right? ….Which reminds me, how's your data collection on it going? …Or is this going to be the first real opportunity after Cloud? Anyway… it's okay, Connor. Probably it's the best thing you could do, talk with Dr. Parker-Mayfair… Mayfair-Parker… whichever, I can never get it straight for long… But anyway, just keep at it. Pretty soon, who knows? You might even have fun with it, you know?"

"I would go for the red as an alternative," Mike allows. "What, the addicting thing? I've got it under better control. I can run for a good half hour without it triggering."

The bowl is empty in the space of a few moments, and he's even carefully picking bits of rice out of the bowl, before Connor adds softly, "Red's Hellion colors… and I think that Julian guy might take a lil offense to it, Mike…" Smirking a bit as the bowl is then wiped with the napkin be brought with him, "So anyways… Mike's been like… a workout buddy in there. So… how's things for you, Rashmi? Have the terrible twosome been behaving themselves? Lucas seemed a bit more upbeat than usual last time I saw him."

Rashmi nods. "Lucas is doing a lot better, actually. Just… well. You know what they say, climbing up's always the hard part, right?" With a slight shrug and and a smile, she tucks a lock of hair behind her ear. "Like I said before… he'll learn. And then, he'll be all right, I think. As for James… You know, I'd almost not have believed it myself, but this X-Force ROTC thing is really, really good for him."

"I guess so. I'm hesitant about the idea. I'm … a pacifist, Y'know? But this fighting thing is kinda totally necessary sometimes. It's almost depressing." Mike scratches his head, "I have been using the firehose trick more but … that takes more energy than I think people realize."

Connor frowns a bit at the robot teen, "Mike… you're not listening… no one here LIKES violence… even the ones who claim to. You think James really likes it? Maybe a part of him… but that's the same part that wants to protect people. Fighting to protect something, or to defend yourself is different from fighting to hurt someone. Believe me… I know."

Rashmi bobs her head. "Besides… Even if you're doing combat drills in the Danger Room, which isn't a guarantee… it's useful for a whole lot of other things. Like… y'know how they used to say video games are really good for hand-eye coordination? Well… I kind of have the idea that the Danger Room is sort of like that, only it's training up brain-reflex coordination, you know?"

"I haven't taken you out to the Chapel yet, have I, Connor?" Mike smiles something like his usual robot face only with the image-induced form.
"It's a big videogame, I get that, Rashmi. But … you know how much it bothered me what Elizabeth said about her Cerberus? I don't want to lose that. I think if I ever let muself get into the spirit of the combat? I would lose that. It's why they're teaching me aikido instead of pa kua."

Connor shakes his head, "Nope… Robyn's the first person to take me anywhere off campus." Shrugging as he sits back once more, and then after a moment shifts in a fidgetting fashion to get comfortable, "It's not what you think…" Eyes trailing back and forth, "I learned Systema from when I was seven years old… that's a decade of training. And the key any martial style teaches you is not how to fight… but how to perceive the fight, and how to end it. Sometimes… a smile is a better defense than a block… and sometimes… there are times when the person you face has to be stopped. It's not a matter of like or dislike… it's about living, and being responsible to the world you've been given to."

Rashmi nods slowly. "I understand what you mean, Mike… I feel *really* horrible for Elizabeth, too, that way. But Connor's right. *Especially* if you're turning into the de facto leater of the team. For the leader… it's not even really combat, in the Danger Room. It's a puzzle, one that you have to solve quickly, while it's happening. Like when Jono and Kenta put us through a bomb that pretended to blow out all our ears…" She pauses there, shuddering at the lifelike representations of the wounded and terrified New yorkers, but gives herself a shake, and continues. "We had to figure out what was most important, how we could use what we had to help each other and the people we could, you know? It wasn't a fight, but it *was* a test of how quickly we could get our priorities together and do what needed doing."

Mike tips his head to the side a bit. "You do know that both of my parents are priests, right, Connor? My mother is an Episcopal priest, works in Olympia. My father is Greek Orthodox, hence the last name Drakos, and he was a consulting theologian until the Metropolitan of San Francisco got bent out of shape that he wouldn't tell his wife she was forbidden to become a priest. He's still a priest but he doesn't do that for his work, he designs automobile engines, builds custom cars. Used to just be a mechanic but that was too easy for him."
He does one of those "stretching" back twists. Something clicks as he rotates into an internal stop brace.
"Darnit," he mutters. "Yeah, I know what the point of that is too. Hank put us through something like that before Connor got here, it's howcome I call Cloud "Rush-in" sometimes. He didn't think then either, and the building collapsed around him. I got smashed by a beam trying to take him out. Virtual of course. Quinn got there late. Richard did fine, of course. But it was his first time. That's when I started doing the subtle-leader trick."
Mike blinks and says, "I know what the martial art mind is for. But without ever learning it I already knew that it's better to stop a fight before it happens. Most of the fights I've actually been in have been with adults. School administrators. Because I won't automatically," and he uses the Cartman Voice by way of a sample played back, "Respeck they autho-ri-tai."

Connor chuckles and rolls his eyes, "Your dad sounds like a stand-up guy. He'd like my dad… he spends most of his days number-crunching angle versus velocity, flight stability mechanics, and all that stuff. Worked for Boeing for years now… been loaned out to seven governments… including the Saudis… but never once made us move with him." Then looking over at Rashmi, he blinks a few times, "That's harsh… but… knowing how you'll act and who does what in a crisis is important… I mean…" Exhaling a soft breath, the other young man the yawns softly, "Caffiene's starting to wear, and it's not even showtime… I should be good though… but I was saying…" Trailing off as he tries to regather himself, "We're all sort of encouraged to find our roles here… right?"

Rashmi nods to Connor, silent as the two boys speak their minds. "We are… Oh. And it was also a way Jono and Kenta cooked up to give us a taste of what Marshall lives with… y'know, being deaf and all. Honestly… if it wasn't for the fact that the Danger Room is sort of almost a little *too* good at making simulations… I'd probably be really fascinated by the whole thing. Like I said… even the combat simulations, I start looking at like a puzzle. Mr. Keller's tactics classes back in Marchish really helped with that, too… Anyway. The point is… you're not going to lose that part of you that was bothered by what's going to happen to Elizabeth's dog. You *can't.* If only because you're *way* too aware of it, but besides that you've just got too good of a nature to really allow it, you know?"

Mike grins, again. "You should refuel, then, Connor. That reminds me … need to fuel up a bit before the session. Speaking of caffeine. Ether and nitro in the gas tank," he mutters, and pulls a flat flask out of his pants pocket, tapping it with a straw.
He sips at it while he answers.
"My Papa is awesome. He's also a Yeti. And yeah, we're not gonna agree on the topic of essential nature, Rashmi, you know that already. I'll break out Nicea and you'll break out Nestor and we'll go 'fie!' at each other in Greek and it'll be another 2000 years of sulking and pouting. Remember that my subconscious mind has no solid morals whatsoever. Viz. Re. Detonate the sun."
He doesn't argue the tactics and such - he found it valuable too, and really, has been reading up during the parts of the day when people think children should be asleep.

Connor can't help but chuckle a bit, before shaking his head once more, crossing his arms over his chest, "Please, whatever gods are left on this Earth… save me from the damn Iliad! I HATE grecian mythos! Everyone's banging everyone else, or slaughtering them… it's pretty much an action flick on the pages. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Blame the 60s? I Blame Homer… I blame pantheistic religion… but I think the Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions are too uptight as it stands… Abraham proclaimed there is only one God, He who is Called I Am. But just like any good idea… intentions go to the wayside once people get involved…"

Connor grumbles, "Zeus commits bestiality, knocks up a woman as a shower of coins… three male gods piss on a patch of leather to make another… pluck stars from the sky… split their own damn heads open to create Daddy's little Headache and Goddess of Wisdom… don't even get me going on Artemis… angriest lesbian on the planet… only man she'd ever let close to her for even a peck on the cheek would be her twin brother Apollo…"

Rashmi grins, shaking her head. "Actually not the Iliad, Connor… Mike and I… well, he's Episcopal, and I was raised Thomasine. So even without the fact that I'll admit I'm pretty deep into the essential goodness of the human soul, we're not at *all* likely to agree on a lot of the stuff that goes on around the edges of Jesus' message to the world. It's not mythology we're arguing," she chuckles, "but theology. And honestly, it's sort of unnerving that between the two of us we can have a five-hour religious argument, and not one single hurt feeling between us to show for it."

Mike laughs. "Yeah, Connor, and what you forget is that even if the stories got distorted, those are all based on real persons. Hercules is occasionally an Avenger, as is the distinctly blond and smooth-shaven rather than red-haired-and-bearded Thor. They didn't have a theology as such in most of the pagan faiths because they weren't about that, they were about symbolisms and conjuring and appeasing or driving off the malevolent. We believe the same thing for our faith, but Jesus didn't stick around and become a super-hero, he went back OUTSIDE reality as we know it, after he told his followers that THEY were his body now."
Mike pokes at Rashmi gently with a folded-over hand. "Which is why we're supposed to be able to do that marathon argument but not lose track of each other's humanity and that we're supposed to BE that presence of Christ for each other. And yes, it's VERY weird but it's also why I can continue to insist that I'm human despite all evidence to the contrary."

Connor sighs, closes his eyes, and then turns to flop over the back of the couch, "There's something I really want to say in opposition to all of that, but I have too much respect for people who believe in general. But that whole thing with Thor.. and the rest of it… you do realize that this is all based on belief. Why do you think Thor is a smooth-shaven, blue-eyed, long-blonde-haired man of muscle… because the Viking were supplanted by the Aryans who have a firm belief in the perfect man, and many of them have espoused a bastardized version of the old Norse mythos… to the point that it's become seperate from the actual religion itself… which is still practiced in some parts of Norway… if you'd believe it. But because the bulk of the world thinks Thor is some Aryan superstud… well… there you go. If Jesus was to reappear today? He'd be half-south american, half african american, from a single lesbian mother."

"…Um," Rashmi says after a moment. "No, Thor is a long-haired, shaven blond guy because that's whose picture was in the paper last month when the Avengers saved Chicago from something. But as for the original incarnation?" She shrugs, a slow smile spreading on her face. "Who knows? There's probably at least six hours worth of metaphysical chicken and egg nonsense I could get out of that, though…"

"I kinda also think Thor is actually who he is because he is physically that. The Asgardians aren't concepts made flesh. They're people from another dimension that found compatible people in this one. That's not true for all of them, but it seems to be true for many. Most even. Magic gets involved and things get weird."
Mike stands up, "And if Jesus came back, according to a fairly large number of prophetic claims, he'd be leading an army of conquering avenging angels to remake the world. Which given the size of the universe would be rather a lot of them. Which is, I think, why he came back through us, for now. And we're generally doing a lousy job of being him."

"Aaaand that's where we start to disagree," Rashmi says, levering herself up onto her feet as well. "He says we do a horrible job of *being* Him, I say He's waiting for us to realize we *could* and set about to getting there." Brushing at her skirt, she straightens, grinning. "And we'll never agree, but where would be the fun in that?"

Connor doesn't look up for the others to see as he rolls his eyes, and then stretches out, somehow NOT falling off the arm of the couch as hie legs go into the air, "I think both sides of that point are full of it… no offense to either of you." And with that he slides off the couch, so all you both see is feet… not his arms pillowing the back of his head, "Or rather… you're both wrong, and you're both right, because you're arguing the nature of a being who's existence is being comprehended through the filter of a filter, of a filter, of a filter… etc. The originals, then your doctrines, then tweaked here and there because of politics, empire, convenience, wars… lost pieces of a greater whole… You want to believe in big G God… then believe in him… and stop playing the world's longest game of telephone."

"Did you know I can feel you roll your eyes, Connor?" Mike grins and it shows in his voice. "Of course we're both wrong and both right, and you've cut to the point as always, but, then you wander off without realizing why it IS the point. Why shouldn't we both have different views? We're finite and different. We are of necessity going to have different views of God. Not all of them are going to be accurate. But in sharing those views we get the greater picture of God that lets us improve and comprehend our own vision."
Mike picks up the small pack he left at the door a couple hours back. "We aren't telephones. We're corrective lenses for one another."

Rashmi nods quietly, likewise chuckling at the revelation of Connor's eyerolling. "It's like, a person needs two eyes to see properly, right? Well… we're people, trying to see things the way God does. And when you're talking about someone who sees everything, understands everything, and has a purpose for everything… You need a lot more than just two eyes to even *begin* to grasp the perspective. So, who knows? Maybe the marathon arguments Mike and I have do a little good all their own, you know? Anyway… I should get to bed, myself. *I* don't have practice until tomorrow evening, but, I need to look up how NYU handles internship for credit and start filling out my applications between classes."

Connor rolls over like a cat, and pushes to his feet, picking up his bowl as he sighs once and then begins to laugh, "I just outwitted myself, didn't I. But hey… first conversation all week where I haven't been selfishly complaining about my headcase issues… that's something. Even if the pair of you are enough to drive a man Buddhist." And with that he turns to head towards the kitchen, "Time to put on the nightmare and get to the show, Mike… I'll see you in five."

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