2010-12-14: Getting Real


ErikLensherr_icon.jpg Mason_icon.jpg

Summary: Magneto scolds Mason for his indiscretions, and suggests that he help with the Block Party. (Follows A Good Cause)

Date: Monday, December 14, 2010. 8:15pm

Log Title: Getting Real

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Staff Lounge

This room is warm and relaxing, the walls are a dark mahogany, a long L couch rests against two of the walls. One wall has a large flat screen TV that is set into a hidden compartment in one wall. There is a table and chairs off to one side for conferences and meetings, and a bar with stools to the back, with a variety of coffees to choose from.

Mason seems to NEVER go anywhere without an instrument. His keyboard has been the choice to be toted around today, his personal favorite. The $1,500 instrument sees a lot of the school. He received an e-mail that one of the professors wanted to meet with him. What it's about, he hasn't a clue, and so he doesn't make any presumptions.
The door to the lounge swings open, and the musical prodigy casually walks in as if he were entering into his own living room. If Mason is nervous, it isn't betrayed by his stance or his face. He leans his keyboard in its case against the wall gently as he passes the threshold, knowing that he's not likely to be playing it quite at this moment.

Magneto is sitting in one of the armchairs, casual, a cup of tea on the table beside him. He has the New York Times in hand, and he looks over the top as Mason enters. A pause; he looks the young man over once before looking back to the article he was reading. "Young Mason. I see you have some concept of timeliness. Doubtless a plus in your presumed profession. I would speak to you. Let's start with your concert in Mutant Town. What was it… a week ago? Two?"

He looks up again. "Tell me, young Mason. Do you intend to cash in on the notoriety of mutants as cheap publicity for your future concerts, as well? Or will run-of-the-mill widows and orphans do?"

Mason's tone quickly adjusts as the older mutant makes his accusation. He doesn't take a whiney tone even as he becomes defensive. "I didn't use anybody as cheap publicity," he answers dryly. He doesn't really know who he's talking to. "I kept it low profile and only publicized by flyers in Mutant Town, and e-mails at Barnes and here." He makes his defense succinctly and accurately. "I was trying to do something that would attract mutants and people who are friendly to mutants so that they could enjoy each others company without having to worry about who has what genes. Most stars wouldn't give a free concert anywhere, let alone in Mutant Town. You think it's bad to be charitable?" He doesn't return with a biting tone or make a derivative face, but the words themselves carry an edge of their own. He's used to answering reporters and columnists, and it shows by his careful reservation in his tone.

"You didn't publicize? You kept it low profile? Young man, I know the value of so-called reverse psychology, especially when it hits all of the major papers." He folds the paper he's reading so that Mason can see the substantial article he's been looking at. "It's how long after the 'event' and look — you're a major piece in the Arts section. Again." Magneto tosses the paper aside. "Considering you put on your concert AFTER a series of very high profile attacks in Mutant Town? Are you seriously telling me that wasn't part of your estimation for the PR value? Or do you think I'm too stupid to notice something like that?"

Mason knits his brow. "There were other attacks?" he asks, his reserved tone cracking for a moment. He had only been in town a few weeks, and while he keeps up on current events, they aren't those kinds of events. "I wanted to bring people together," he says. "I didn't want to make a big scene. It wasn't supposed to go like that. Are you suggesting that I wanted people to get hurt at my concert?" He seems personally offended at the concept. "Mr. Lensherr, I'm trying to bring us and the non-mutants together." Publicly, of course, the articles all talk about Mason being a human reaching out to mutants, since he's not publicly known as a mutant.

Magneto steeples his fingers. "Young Mason. You are telling me that you went into a politically sensitive area with a politically sensitive message, and you idn't do your research first? I should think that any young mutant growing up in this day and age would have something more than hearts and flowers in mind when he makes a public gesture! Perhaps he would have something like a plan when — not if, boy, but WHEN — those elements of society which would oppose us on every possible front crawl out from under their rocks!" His voice drops and intensifies. "Your intelligence does not impress me."

Mason's posture closes a little at the insult. "Yeah, you're a ray a sunshine yourself," he answers. "Just because I'm famous doesn't mean I know everything. I'm sixteen. Everybody expects me to have all these answers like I'm some politician. I'm just a kid, man. I'm here so I can learn this kind of stuff. I wasn't born knowing about that kind of thing. I haven't lived in this whole — " he gestures around himself, " — mutant world for very long. I rely on people like you who know more and have been around longer to teach me about this kind of thing." It appears he doesn't have a grand opinion of his own knowledge. Certainly not the standard teenage response that claims to know everything.

"Do you really? Rely on people like me? Tell me, young Mason. Which of us did you consult on this event? Frankly, young Mason, I don't CARE that you're only sixteen. Do you know how many sixteen year olds were in that crowd you were entertaining? Do you know how many children? Old people, injured, people whose mutations leave them that much more vulnerable to the things that HUNT us? Perhaps you should remember these things for the future!" He stands, and as he stands his nice, beautiful professor's suit melts and flows into the cloak and armor of the Mutant Master of Magnetism. "You don't get second chances to be wrong!"

Now Mason understands who he's dealing with. Or perhaps at least identifies who he is dealing with. The blood drains from his face, and he takes a few steps back. "I will!" he answers, now having very little restraint in what was his earlier measured tone. "I'll for next time! I'll make sure there's better security, I won't let my mom rush the performance, I'll make sure there's all kinds of precautions taken to protect us." He rattles off the statements quickly. He doesn't seem prepared for a fight, though. Combat is a skill he's sorely lacking in, and the only earth he has are a couple of small rocks in his pocket. Not hardly enough to defend against a seasoned warrior. "You know these things, you can teach me to do it right," he adds quickly, appealing to Magneto's personal expertise. He's backed himself up to the wall. He misjudged where the door was.

"Boy." Magneto takes a step forward, and another. The cloak ripples around him, making him seem much large than he is, seeming to drink the light in the room. Part of those decades of experience is knowing one's moment and knowing how to work it, in ways that stage lights and drama coaches can only dream of. "I do expect you to do all of those things. I expect you to be one HELL of a lot more careful, especially around our people. We are few and our enemies are legion, and that concert?" He spits the word. "Those enemies used you! And you opened the door and invited them in!"

Something in Mason's tone seems to shift. It's slight at first. "I'm tired of getting used," he says quietly. "I've been getting used by somebody my whole life. Most of the time it's just annoying. But that showed me that I need to make a stand. I won't let anything like that happen again. But I need help to stop it, because they are just going to try again." He stills seems intimidated, but much more sober-minded.

Magneto snorts. "Of course they'll try again, boy. They'll always try again. It's in their blood. Their kind and ours cannot co-exist. One of us will go extinct." He's stopped half a pace inside Mason's personal zone, too close. He's massive at this range, a six-foot and change wall of muscle and armor, and glittering ice blue eyes from within the Greek-style helmet. "It doesn't matter what you want or you don't want, young Mason. It matters what you do or you don't do. And your last concert? You failed. You failed badly.
"I don't ever want to see you fail that badly again. You got lucky, and by now, you should know you don't deserve luck. Neither do I. So expecting it is stupid." He pauses for a long moment. "I do hope we are clear."

Mason doesn't give a nod, but he doesn't change his posture as Magneto comes within his space. "Crystal." His one word response. The deep blue eyes meet Magneto's. Whatever prompted the attitude shift, it seems to be growing. He declines to respond to the claim that humans and mutants can't co-exist. The earth mover looks less intimidated by the moment. "Luck is for people who aren't prepared, I don't plan to be unprepared anymore."

"Excellent. That is the precise response I required. You pass… barely." Magneto turns away. "Now. We should discuss your attendance on the block party that will be taking place this Friday."

"Wait, what?" Mason asks, caught off guard. "What happened to not going out and doing something stupid?" He follows Magneto as he turns around, and scratches behind his neck. "I mean, most parties are happy to have me join them, but then you get fangirls and paparazzi that get called, and the whole thing becomes a mess in the span of about thirty minutes if you aren't ready for them."

Magneto smiles. "We'll be ready. You should plan for a mid-evening set, something appropriate for a mixed crowd of families and singles. There will be security provided — I suggest that you set up personal security on your own party within the larger security perimeter." He gives Mason a stare over his shoulder. "This concert is expected to end similar to the way your last one ended… save that this time, that end is being planned for. Do you understand?"

Mason's brow furrows, and he studies the elder mutant carefully. "I'm going to play dumb so you'll spell it out. What are you trying to say?" he asks. "You want people to throw grenades at you and shoot at you?" He doesn't like the smell of this one bit. "I don't like playing anyone's funeral. You make it sound like some kind of twisted trap."

Magneto returns to his chair and by the time he sits down, he's back in his nice, tasteful professor suit. "It is a trap, young Mason. And while I have no fondness for putting the lives of our own at risk, in this instance, I believe there really is no other choice." He steeples his fingers. "Have you heard of the Game?"

"With Michael Douglas?" Mason asks. Apparently not. "I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but what are you going to do? Turn them over to the police?" Given Magneto's reputation, he doesn't expect that to be the case. He carefully takes a seat himself, sinking into the cushion of the long L shaped couch.

Magneto gives one of those sighs that says more about what he thinks of Mason's lack of knowledge than any number of words could. "The Game is a contest being run by mutant haters. Teams rack up points for kills — that's mutant kills, and the families of mutants, and even people who help mutants. Daily, weekly, monthly high score prizes. And ten million for the year's best scoring team." He pauses. "They're behind the multiple attacks in Mutant Town this summer. And we're bringing them down on Friday night."

"So they were the ones that attacked the concert?" he asks. "I don't want people to hate me. I want to play music so that people can enjoy themselves. You're also going to have to help me know what you mean by 'bring them down'." The last statement is added with care. "I know that a lot of the media that comes out about mutants is wrong, but you'll have to pardon me, your reputation isn't exactly the most desirable with the media." Translation, are you going to go on a killing rampage?

Magneto smiles. It isn't a nice smile. "We will stop them. If they survive that stopping, we'll hand them over to the police." He won't expand on the part about surviving. "As for my reputation, it is both well deserved and carefully cultivated, and is larger than actual life — and I leave it to your imagination, and that of the general public, to decide just how much larger."
Decades of experience, much of it in the eye of the media. Magneto knows exactly what you're asking… and he thinks the question is a bit … narrow. But then, you are only sixteen years old.

Mason shakes his head slowly. "No," he tells Magneto. "I have lived most of my life in the spotlight. This isn't like that. I don't want to be part of anyone dying. Mutants, sapiens, martians, anybody. I'm not a killer. I won't be a killer." The blond teen's heart starts to race. He understands who he is telling 'no' to, but he says it anyway.

Magneto waves a hand. "Did I say you had to kill? That you even had to fight? Your part could be as simple as putting on a show, and then using your security to assist in keeping the people attending that show safe from… predators." He tips his head back, as if to look at Mason from a different angle. "I doubt you're much in combat, young Mason. But if you can keep you and yours safe, and perhaps a few others safe with you? That will be enough."

"But you're asking me to take part in something that is going to kill people," Mason answers. "Just because I don't pull the trigger doesn't make me less guilty. I've got enough guilt to deal with in my life, I want to see mutants prosper and thrive. What you're doing will just set us back another ten years. You're like the black gangbangers who go around mugging people because they don't get a fair shake at a job. What do you expect the stereotypes to be when you behave like that?"

Magneto tsks. "You sound like Miss Franklin. You should ask those questions of her — I'm sure you'd both approve of the answers you gave each other." He picks up his neglected cup of tea. "So. Your final answer is that you do not intend to attend the block party in Mutant Town next Friday. All right; I'm sure we'll be able to find other entertainment for the party-goers." He spreads his fingers over the tea, and a moment later, it begins to steam again.

"You know Rashmi?" Mason asks, a rather skeptical look in his eye. "You mean she hasn't talked any sense into you yet about this?" He feels rather awkward with the knowledge he has regarding this party, but doesn't let his surface show it. "You really want to do this? I can't believe you called my move stupid. What if they are expecting your trap? What if they kill hundreds of mutants? Then their blood is on your hands. You should call this whole thing off. This is just a bad idea."

Magneto chuckles. "Talk to Miss Franklin, young Mason. I suspect that the things she tells you will make more sense to you than the things I tell you. For instance, she could have made much of your speech, word for word — and yet I know that she plans to be there in Mutant Town Friday night." He lifts his head. "You have to choose your battles. Know what you want, and what is the easiest, least … expensive … way of achieving it. War and politics are like that — you have to fight the battle you are facing, not the one you want to face." He salutes Mason with his tea cup. "Casualties and all."

"So you think it's okay to put her in harm's way, too?" Mason asks, standing to his feet and pacing a little. "Why not just figure out who these guys are and turn them into the police? I hear about this kid here that can work magic with machines. He's supposed to be a little hard to deal with, but he can probably get you all their social security numbers and everything. Wouldn't that be safer? Or what about Ms. Frost? She has telepathic powers, she can find them all using Cerebro and you can be sure to get all of them." Alternate options seem to be flying out of his mouth as quickly as he can manufacture them. "I'm sure there's other ways you could catch them. Just not ones that kill people."

"Are you telling me to limit Miss Franklin's freedom of choice, young Mason? And do you think she will thank either of us if I do that?" Magneto laughs. "As well spit to hold back the sea, boy."

He samples his tea and puts it aside again. "As for the other things… we're dealing with an organization of at least several dozen mostly independent teams of killers. Identifying them has been a priority. We've moved on some already. We can't move on all of them in the time we have." He lifts a snowy white brow. "Or do you have a temporal ability that will give us the necessary extra weeks and months we would need to find all of the threads of this? With, of course, the teams continuing to operate. To kill." His tone goes cold. "Thank you for your advice, young sir. It is duly noted." He picks up his tea again.

Mason grows very still. Into his pants pocket his hand dives, and pulls out two rather ordinary locking rocks which he rolls around in his fingers. "This sucks," he says. "I wish I never knew about it." Unfortunately, he no longer has the comfort of ignorance. "This happens on Friday?" he confirms. He doesn't want people to die. Acting supports something that kills people. Not acting fails to protect other people who may die.

Magneto doesn't say a word. He just picks up his tea again and sips.

The pop star eyes Magneto as he fiddles with his stones. His finger drags acros the rock, shaving off chunks until he has two cubes, roughly the size of a pair of dice. "How long do I have to think about this?" he asks, unable to come to a conclusion quickly.

"You have until Friday, of course. You can think about it after that time, as well, but I think we can both agree that it would be of no use to either of us." Magneto leans back in his chair. "Is there anything else you would like to ask me?"

Mason shakes his head. "You've told me more than I want to know already," he answers. "I'll let you know by Wednesday," he tells. "That's the latest I could get things pulled together." The teen gets back to his feet, and returns to his keyboard, picking it up off the wall. "It's been real."

Magneto watches the boy leave. Once he's outside the door, magnetism's master sips his tea and mutters, "Not especially. Not yet." Then he shakes his head and picks up another section of the Times to finish his interrupted reading.

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