2010-02-11: Mental Firewall


Cam_icon.jpg Jono_icon.jpg Owen_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Owen asks Cam to find someone. It doesn't work right.

Date: February 11, 2010

Mental Firewall

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Atrium

The Atrium is large room with four corridors leading off in diagonal directions to the classrooms and dorms. A large window looks over the front courtyard. The Atrium has also been turned into a social area for students and teachers, with chairs, tables and a television set. Since its a main area of passing, it is encouraged that people keep things to a respectful volume.

Evening. Classes are over. Cam's sitting, quietly alone, in the atrium. In his hands, he holds a sketchpad. He also has a few pencils in his hand. One regular. One blue. One white. He's working intently on whatever it is in his hands. He even has one of those total concentration faces going on. His tongue is partly out of his mouth, as if he's chewing on it while thinking. He picks up an eraser and rubs at a portion of the paper.

One of the benefits to going to school at a mansion; even if you're doing homework, there's always someplace interesting one could be studying. This night, Rashmi's chosen the Atrium, and the sound of a buckle-less bookbag flap quietly slapping against itself can be heard, as she lugs the night's homework toward the nearest empty couch. Noticing Cam, the redhead begins to voice a greeting, but cuts herself off at the presence of pencils and pad. Contenting herself with a small smile in his direction, she sets herself down on the couch and goes about the task of unloading books, paper, and pens.

Something big can be heard approaching from the school wing. Peeking down the hallway just reveals a shadow. But after a few moments the Bat lumbers awkwardly into view. Owen-Bat is still just in the purple Unstable Molecule shorts but someone's been kind enough to attach a small supply pack to it for him. Ears twitch and a nose sniffs before he spots Rashmi and someone he doesn't know. "Howdy," he rumbles in a deep voice.

Thinking he hears someone out there, Cam pulls his headphones out. They're… loud. "In the middle I stay in place, skip or trip at zerospace. In the middle I stay in place, skip or trip at zero." comes from them. He gives a soft wave to Rashmi, but then he actually yelps out loud when he sees Owen. He starts scrambling backwards, falling over, taking the chair and the sketchpad with him. The sketchpad goes skidding. Anyone looking at it will see costume designing in progress. He ducks behind the fallen chair.

The appearance of the Bat comes as rather a shock to Rashmi as well, if the clattering pens and notebook on the ground are any indicator, as she bounces swiftly to her feet. Whatever call for help she'd be about to voice, brought to a screeching halt as Owen greets her. There's a moment's silence, large eyes blinking owlishly, before she draws up the nerve to approach, head turned to one side. "…Owen?"

Owen-Bat sighs at Cam's reaction to him and gives the saddest look the monstrous form of the Bat can. "Are ya'll alright?" he asks. "Howdy, Rash," he calls.

Right now, being scared shitless prevents Cam from controlling his own pronouncing of things. He looks at Rashmi and sees her talking to the… Bat, and bites his lip. "Ah'm fine." He says, remaining hidden behind the chair for a moment.

Rashmi looks over her shoulder at Cam, then winces in sympathy for the Darkforce mutant. "Oh my God, Owen… what happened? Are you, um… stuck like that? I think it's okay, Cam," she calls back to the artist interrupted, "you don't have to worry."

Owen-Bat tilts his head. "Ya'll can come out from there," he says. "Ah ain' gonna eat ya or anythin'…" he trails off. "Don' eat cute guys," he tries a bit of innocent flirting. "Lon' story short, Rash…The Bat almost killed Robyn and his glowin' knife sent it intah dreamin'. When Ah woke up Ah was like this an' Ah can' seem tah change back."

"Eat?" Cam asks, suddenly growling in the stomach. Damn tendencies. He totally ignores the other part. He goes, casually, to pick up his scattered things, blushing brightly. "S… so you're not normally like that?" He asks, quietly. He uprights his chair. "I just… you're the first physical…" He waves a hand over his body bashfully.

Rashmi draws in a breath through her teeth, patting Owen's shoulder. "Oh no… Has Dr. McCoy been able to figure out why you can't change back? Oh, trust me Cam, I know what you mean… The first student I met is my teammate Aleksey. Who's… actually completely made of water. C'mon, Owen… let's get you sat down, all right?"

Owen waves a wing. "Don' worry 'bout it," he says. "If you're hungry Ah got food in this pack. You'll need tah get it yourself though…can' open the dan' thin' with these," he holds up his hands. He heard the stomach rumbling after all. "Haven' asked yet," he admits. "Not thinkin' sittin' is the best plan for me…"

Finally regaining control of his speech, Cam shakes his head slightly. "I always have something." He knows he eats too much, and he can't help it. Especially when he's nervous. "Teammate. Which team is that?" He asks, trying to figure this whole thing out. "I don't even know who the people are on my team. Well, I've met one, but it wasn't a good night and I don't remember much of it."

Rashmi nods quietly, moving back to her spot on the couch and gathering her things back up, eyeing the pack. "Did you want help with that, Owen? I mean, it should be okay staying open…" Blinking, she glances in Cam's direction, digging a piece of paper out of her bookbag. "I'm Paragons," she says with a smile, "we're practically all new students… Um… I *think,*" she muses, peering at the wrinkled and much-abused training schedule, "…Ah, here you are. New Mutants, it says… …Oh! You're on Eddie's team! Then you've already impressed one of his dads, so, I think you'll be just fine."

Owen-Bat shakes his head. "Naw… the stuff spilled out when Ah tried leavin' it open. Thanks though," he said. He nodded at the mention of the New Mutants. "You're on Mr. Guthrie's squad then. Great teacher. Loved tossin' the ball aroun' with him awhile back. Great guy."

"I don't know what good I'm gonna do there, though. I'm a TOTAL non-combatant." Cam says shivering. At least they say his teammates are good, and his teamleader. "I'm just the homing device or something." He says, not meaning it to be insulting to himself, just stating facts. "Trying to work with this pattern and change it into something that won't look totally disgusting on me."

"Well, at least team training isn't always about fighting… Mostly it's learning how to deal with your powers under stress, you know? Sort of like what Addison does, only in a group. And there's all sorts of simulations the Danger Room can do, I'd be surprised if you weren't really a big help in msot of them, you know?" Glancing at the sketchpad, Rashmi wrinkles her nose, nodding in sympathy. "At least you get blue, though… Our uniforms are *so incredibly purple,* it hurts. …And they're jumpsuits, that just makes it worse."

Owen-Bat nods. "Rashmi's right. Ya'll don' have tah fight. Jus' do your best," he says, There's then a snort at Rashmi. "Hey, Ah had yellow in the Corsairs. An' ya'll can change the cut of it. Ah lopped the sleeves off mahne," he shrugs. "Wait…what power do ya have?" he asks Cam.

"Jumpsuits? Nonono. They said we have creative control as long as we retain our colors and decency. And wearing a jumpsuit on MY body is indecent." Cam says with a firm nod, turning one of the sketches around. The pants are loose, as is the shirt. It still has the colors. But over it all is a long white and blue trenchcoat-style jacket to keep his body mostly covered. Along with eye protection. In blue. "Trying to decide on wraparound or bubble-goggle-type to go across the eyes. And THEN trying to figure out how to actually MAKE it before I have to be seen in a training simulation in a jumpsuit." He shows the designs to both students. "I find things. And people." He explains. "If I know who or what I'm looking for."

Rashmi looks up at Owen, arching an eyebrow. "…Yellow. Augh, who comes *up* with these colors?" Shaking her head, she sighs heavily, peering at Cam's sketch. "…Actually hey, that looks really good. I'd talk to the teachers, maybe see if they have anything you'd just have to tweak a little?"

"Mr. Summers," Owen replies as if it answers it all. He then looks to Cam rather seriously. "Can Ah ask ya a huge favor?" he asks. "Ah need someone found. Someone real important tah me. Ah'll treat a tah dinner when Ah turn back tah normal if ya can do it. MAybe a movie too."

"Uhm, I'd need pictures. Or something. And I can try. I can't always find someone. And sometimes… they see me back." Cam says looking down. "I can't promise results… cause the other day someone wanted me to see someone. And I couldn't reach them." He admits. "But I'll try. If it means that much to you." He says, looking away. Surprised he might actually be useful.

He doesn't mean to be quiet, yet Jonothon none the less manages to enter in such a manner. Certainly not silent, for he can't manage that, but with hushed steps as he enters from the school wing. Just inside he stops to look over at you all. Eyes linger on Cam, for this is another student he hasn't met yet. That in mind, the man approaches, lifting a hand in greeting. His attire is black of course, but not his usual grunge. A turtle neck and slacks. Even combed his hair. Be amazed. Doesn't say anything yet, for he's curious about this finding business.

Rashmi glances at Owen, eyebrow rising. "…You mean Leo…?" Nodding slowly, she cracks open her book, determined to do something constructive while passing words with her fellow students. "If it is… yeah, I think you'd be sort of a hero around here if you could find him…Oh! Hello, Jo—" The redhead trails off as Jonothon's improved appearance registers, and a low whistle floats past her lips. "You look *good,* Jono. Date?"

Owen-Bat nods. "Alright. In mah pack there's mah wallet. Third picture…blonde guy. Name's Leo," he says. "Ah…Ah jus' need tah know," he says. Glancing back, he waves a wing to Jono. "Howdy," the massive man-bat greets. He gives Rashmi a look and nods.

Cam nods softly and goes to the pack to pull out said wallet. He holds it up to Owen to make sure he's got the right picture. "This one?" He asks, biting his lip. Hearing Rashmi and Owen, he knows they're counting on him. He bites the other side of his lip. "Ok." He's so nervous now that he's almost shaking. There's a thick air of nervousness. He can't fail at this. They seem to need this…

Jonothon can only roll his eyes at Rashmi, even if he appreciates the compliment. «Hardly.» Depressingly still single, and that isn't likely to change soon. «Thanks though.» Owen is eyed about the picture, and then Cam is briefly looked over again. «What's this about finding someone?» Brows lift at Rashmi with his question, and especially for Cam's nervousness. More questioning the how of finding than the two. Owen did mention something about that before.

"It would mean a lot, Cam," Rashmi says gently. "But it's okay if you can't. Just because we have powers, doesn't make us able to do everything, you know…?" Setting her book aside, she rises, crossing the room to stand next to the bigger boy. "It's Cam's power," she says to Jono, "he can find things, and people… But it doesn't always work, he says. Owen wants to know if he can find out what happened to Leo."

Owen-Bat nods. "That's the one," he says. Claws dig into the floor unintentionally as he waits. He's got nothing else to say, just stands there looking scary.

As he concentrates and begins to focus, on purpose this time, Cam's head tilts upwards and his eyes glaze over. "Leo." He says. His eyes begin to move, looking in each direction. "No…" He looks another way. "No…" He looks another way. "Blocked" His voice takes on an almost desperate cast as he keeps pushing and pushing, only to not find anything he can get a grip on. He reaches out a hand as if feeling a wall. He starts pounding slightly on the empty air. His hand stops, firmly, where the wall should be, if it were there in front of him. "come on…." he mutters. Both hands start pushing, but they're both stopped by the empty air.

«Heh.» To Rashmi about Cam's power, but to let Cam do his thing, Jonothon says nothing more and sinks into one of the chairs here. Slouching there he watches as Cam attempts to find Leo, and frowns about the pounding on empty air. What a curious thing. «Don't stress it, mate.» Not that Jono's really being all that helpful. Doesn't know a bit about how Cam's power really works.

"Hey," Rashmi says gently, reaching up to rest a hand on Cam's shoulder as she begins to frown herself, worried. "Hey, it's okay… Don't push too hard, all right? ..Cam? Cam, come on." There's a gentle pressure on the boy's shoulder, a mild shake as though to wake someone from a nightmare.

Owen-Bat growls, DarkForce leaking from his jaws without his notice. "Blocked?" he asks in a low tone. "What do ya mean? And who do Ah tear tah ribbons tah unblock?" he asks.

Suddenly, Cam snaps back to himself. There's a dribble of blood under his nose and he looks simply shocked. "Some… something hit me." He reaches up to touch his nose and blinks at the smear on his fingers. "I… I don't know. All I could see was white light… almost like a starry field… and then it was shut off. I didn't get a good look at anything. A wall was in front of me." He looks down. "And I don't see a trail…"

«Owen.» Jonothon warns the teen quietly. «That's the wrong way to think about this.» Especially when in bat form! «Stop it and put yourself back together before you hurt someone.» The bloodied nose has the man sitting up and forward in his chair. «You shouldn't try that again.» A warning he only hopes is paid attention to. « Especially if it gets you hurt. I'm Jonothon Starsmore by the way. Jono.» If that weren't obvious already thanks to Rashmi.

Rashmi quietly guides Cam toward the couch, scooting her homework out of the way. "…Okay, you're bleeding… That happens to me when my orbs get broken. Sit down for a bit, all right? We'll take you to Medical if it doesn't stop…" The redhead looks truly concerned now, a helpless look thrown at Owen and Jono. "…I… don't think it'd be a good idea to try again, Owen… not unless we can get a better idea of what's blocking Cam…" By the way she says this, clearly she has her own theories, but the Darkforce dripping from Owen's mouth does well to discourage any desire to voice them.

Owen-Bat just growls again. "Ah'll fin' whatever blocked ya and rip it tah little pieces. Drain it till it's nothin' but a dusty husk an'…" he froze at Jono's voice. Jaws clenched but the DarkForce didn't stop. "Havin' trouble not gettin' mad in this form…" he trailed off, gaze settling on the window.

"I've… never been blocked like that before. Or… attacked." Cam says, a little frightened by it all. "I mean, I've been blocked. But completely. Like when someone wanted me to look for Dr. Richards." Everyone knows him. "And I was seen by… uhm… The Ruler of Latveria." He says, refusing to ever say that name again. "But that was just… strange." He pulls his arms tightly about his chest, shivering a little. "I'm sorry I couldn't find your friend." He does go to the couch and sit. What else could he do? The worst part, though? He failed. The first time his powers were actually something useful, he failed. Go figure. Hearing Owen, Cam cringes against the back of the couch, feeling even worse now, for the failure.

Jonothon rises to his feet for the growling words of Owen. No, that doesn't sound good at all. Of course Jono hardly looks like anyone who could be able to handle the Bat, yet he steps between Rashmi, Cam and that black bat. No other warnings, just being prepared. «Rashmi's right.» This to Cam about his powers. «You shouldn't try again, but neither should you stress about it.» Glancing back, he shrugs a little. «Lots of things could block your powers.» Too bad he doesn't know enough to say more. Does wonder if he should look into this issue though.

"Owen," the redhead says, her tone warning, "I know it's hard, but try to calm down. For Cam, if nothing else." Sitting next to the new student, she rests a hand on his shoulder, her smile warm and friendly. "You tried. That's what matters, and we appreciate that more than you know. But it's like Jono says, lots of things could keep it from happening. Like, Addison couldn't find James, or Lucas, or the other students last month… and he's this amazingly powerful telepath, too. So, really… don't feel bad."

"Workin' on it," Owen-Bat grunts. "Might…be a good idea tah knock me out before the Bat wakes up," he says. The DarkForce flow stops and Owen-Bat relaxes slightly. "Ah need tah go blow off some steam…" he trails off, turning to head for the stairs.

Cam just shakes off the comforting words. He's dealt with those before. They're usually preceded by, 'We're sorry' and followed by 'It's not your fault you're not good enough'. But, he does his best not to let anything show on his face. Instead, he grabs his backpack and pulls a pack of cookies out of it, opening them and starting to munch on them. Well, his stomach WAS growling. "I… I should probably go to my room for a bit. Clean up." He motions to his nose before standing and moving in the same direction as Owen. He's… he's not scared of Owen, really. He's annoyed at himself.

So not blasting anything unless it's necessary. «That's a good idea. Why not use the gym?» Jonothon feels relief as Owen heads off. No going crazy with a new student here! Much less people who could be hurt by the bat. As one student heads off, he looks to another who is going the same. «Cheers.» Yeah, he can see the assurances haven't done anything, but he doesn't argue with Cam. No point. In the end Jono can only shake his head as he turns to Rashmi. «How are you holding up?» Any new angst there?

Rashmi looses a quiet sigh. "Cam," she calls to the upset mutant's back, "I mean it. Come talk to me if you're not feeling any better soon, all right?" Whatever else he may read into her words, there's little mistaking the utter sincerity of her voice. As the two leave, she settles back onto the cough with a deep sigh, moving her ethics book back to her lap. "…Actually it's been pretty good, lately. Mike was right… I just needed to talk to Lucas, make him understand what all his moping's been doing. And… well, ever since he got those new gloves, it's like you'd never even have recognized him."

Eyebrows arch, but in a pleased manner. «He got new gloves? Brilliant.» Jonothon is glad. That has to have made a big different in Lucas' mood. «Glad it's going well.» Hope it lasts. Good thing Jono doesn't have breath to be tempted to hold. «So… Cam, huh? Not sure I've ever met someone who so completely ignored me that I felt invisible.» More amused than upset though. Cam is obviously a little too focused on his power being his worth.

Rashmi chuckles. "Actually, I think he's really got problems letting himself fit in, you know? I mean, he can't blow things up, or breathe fire, or fly, or whatever… And the one time it means something besides just a party game…" She gestures to the door, shrugging with a frown. "I'll see what I can do to help, though. Nobody should be that down on themselves for no reason, maybe just having a friend will help, you think?"

«That sounds to me like he's the lucky one.» Of course he'd feel that way. Jonothon doesn't like his own powers all that much. Still, he looks the way Cam left and shakes his head. Might be strange to see that auburn hair glossy for once. «Bet he has no idea that just knowing he was so strongly blocked tells something important.» A shrug and he looks back to Rashmi. «If his power gets noticed by someone like Doom, and now he's pretty much been smacked, that means it really should be looked into. I don't call that a total failure.»

Rashmi nods quietly. "I don't either… Maybe Addison would have a better idea what it could mean? I mean, since none of us can figure it out, may as well pass it along to the people who've probably dealt with it the most, right?" With a shrug, she starts packing up her books, frowning for a moment at the utter lack of buckles, clasps, or pretty much anything metallic that would hold one thing to another. "So, honestly Jono… what's the occasion?"

A slow nod about Addison. «I'll mention it to a few people. It could mean nothing at all, but better to mention.» Jonothon tucks hands into pockets as books are stacked, but he doesn't reply immediately to that question. «Do I need one?» Asked with one of those eye-smiles. «Cheers.» Perhaps teasing that one, as he takes his own leave of the area. Sorry, Rashmi, but you aren't going to get a honest answer about this. At least not tonight.

Rashmi chuckles, hoising the bag over her shoulder and standing. "Have fun," she calls in reply, evidently refusing to be swayed form the idea that it's a girl responsible for the sudden change in dress.

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