2011-01-29: Neitzsche's Hand

Players: Connor & Magneto

Connor_icon.jpg Magneto_icon.jpg

Summary: In the wake of the capture of Rashmi and others, Connor escalates the level of conflict by involving the Master of Magnetism.

Date: January 29, 2011

Log Title: Netizsche's Hand

Rating: PG

NYC - Genoshan Embassy

The neo-classical building was built in the late 1800's and is one of the few buildings in mutant town that resembles old New York Architecture. The facade is colored and textured like high-grade marble, but is actually made of steel. Inside there is a large foyer with a sweeping staircase that leads the second floor where many doors lead off to public offices (such as taking applications for emigrating to Genosha). The Embassy is complete with a medical facility and Grand Ballroom, where the official functions occur.

Three o'clock in the morning in the Genoshan Embassy is a fairly quiet time for all. Security is down to those who watch dutifully on the camera between bouts of coffee and soft conversation, only a few aides and staff are active and working on anything that needs doing, and the cleaning service has already done their best to leave what was made here immaculate. Since no other alarms have been triggers, the motion sensor going off in one of the private Embassy meeting rooms is a bit of a surprise to the guard in the main camera room. Once the man has his systems up, the view shows a young man in black body-armor, pulling back the hood of a balaclava, and moving to sit down in the chair at the head of the table. Nonchalantly his feet go up on the edge of the large table, and he just seems to sit there. As if expecting something.

This is the kind of behavior that triggers alarms… only the Embassy has learned by now that loud is not always good. So instead all those necessary have a small buzzer and sound alarm go off… including in the room of one Erik Magnus Lensherr… Ambassador and leader of the Genoshan nation.

Magneto was asleep, sprawled across a giant bed in a welter of silk sheets. He awakes quickly, eyes coming open and his head rising to look at the alarm screen beside the bed. It shows a thumbnail of the visitor in the meeting room, and he spends a moment thinking about what he is going to do about the matter before replying.

"Security. This is Magnus. Cancel all alerts. I shall deal with our young visitor myself." He signs off and rises from the bed, stretching, letting the sheets slide away. A gesture pulls his costume to him, purple and crimson armor wrapping around him even as he strides toward the door. Hands through his hair, and there is no sign that the Master of Magnetism was caught napping, as his stride takes him through the residence and down a floor to the meeting rooms below.

Finishing a count of one hundred and twenty to himself, Connor rises up, and moves to the bank of monitors and computers. Turning them on, he waits for the code entry screen and proceeds to try pure gobbeltygook responses to the question for a log-in and password on the system. Taking his time picking out the keys as he starts counting once more to himself under his breath. Taking the first attempt, an obvious failure, he starts again, putting in a random set of numbers and letters on each of the sections…

In the commlink, Magnus can hear, "Sir, he is attempting to access the computer systems now. The sensors on the room are also detecting a strange distortion, nothing they are familiar with with our database of mutant abilities."

Magneto pauses long enough to acquire a pitcher of ice water and a pair of glasses from a hostess station. He listens to the security alert as he drinks one glass, then refills it. "I see. Yes, I shall be asking him about that." He'll sign off again and continue to the meeting room, waving the door open before him, letting the water pitcher and its pristine glass follow him into the room. Metal trays and magnetic powers: no need to carry anything, save the glass in his hand. "Mr. Blake. What an unusual time for you to come calling." He pauses by the table and watches the young man play with the computer systems. "You do realize that if you want something, it is far easier to ask."

Stopping what he's doing, the young man turns around, and the first thing that can be seen that the cameras have missed is the suspiciously square-shaped bruise on the side of his jaw, purple in the center with the brown-green around the edges as it begins to fade out. The suit it's in is nothing 'standard' to the X-men. It has all the earmarks of the costume fabricator, but more closely resembles a SHIELD-issue stealth operations armor. The young man exhales, and then Connor replies, "It's a little less than polite to walk up to the door of the Genoshan Embassy at 3am dressed like a commando and ask to see the man in charge. That kind of thing invites things like the police." A bit of ice in his tone as he then adds, "And besides… I'd rather have your full attention. And I got it."

The tray whisks around Magneto and lands on the table in front of Connor. "The Genoshan Embassy counts as foreign soil, young Mr. Blake, and as such, you should not regard the actions of the New York City Police as at all relevant to things which occur within it." He sweeps the cloak out and sets himself in one of the chairs, as in a throne. "I do assure you, my full attention can be had in many ways, and this is merely one of the more annoying." A thin smile, as he samples his water. "Tell me your business here in this place at this time, young man. My time is precious, and from the look of you? So is yours."

Reaching out, he takes up the pitcher, and pours himself a glass, drinking half in heavy gulps, and then washing the rest down his hair a moment. Connor then sighs and closes his eyes a moment, "About ten days ago, under the request of Hosea Ikbuku, a small group of students from both Barnes and Xaviers went to southern Nigeria to help an impoverished village improve their quality of life. Rashmi Franklin, Star and Cloud Rosen, Miss Hilde von Reigenleif, and David Alleyne to name a few. I was with the initial group, but went home to be a secure supply run for them, and a means of medical evac in case anyone was sick or injured. Unfortunately… a Nigerian warlord calling himself Nero had moved into the area. Nero and Hosea have history. The kind of history that usually doesn't lead to salutations and offers of liquor."

"Instead we were attacked, multiple times. They took one of our people… so three of us tried to take him back. It went south on us." The way he says the last part is in the same nearly-dead tone he had previous to the assault on the mutant rally, and his eyes return to that same expression of distance and haunting.

Magneto's brows draw in. He sips his water. Around you both, the computers come alive at some invisible gesture from the Mutant Master of Magnetism, and they proceed to do searches on several fronts. Maps, names, photograpsh. "Nero. The last of the Claudio-Julian Caesars, and reviled for his excesses. Not the worst of them, however." He sips more water. "Just how is it that a man, warlord or otherwise, managed to remove a student out of your group? You have been trained to resist such activities. Also, you have been trained to be effective in retrieval attempts. Why did the matter 'go south'? And why is it that this is the first that I have heard that students are needing assistance? My understanding of Hosea's mission was that it was both simple and well-planned."

"That's the reason I'm here.", Connor states in a cool tone, and none of it seems to be directed at Magnus, instead it seems to be turned inward, as if he's shut off a part of himself for the moment, "Two things we learned from taking a guard with us… he's somehow gotten his hands on mutant troops. He had a few that fought back, and had individuals with dart guns interspersed with his men… deliberately. They caught Rashmi on our way out once we discovered he'd taken all the prime prisoners either to his mansion there, or someplace else." He stops and then looks up, "This is where my part of it ends. I think I have something you want, Magnus. And I have something I want. I can give you a name… someone there who's name is too strange not to have been heard of by you. But I didn't come here for you to take what I have and brush me off. You're going to help. Even if I have to make you."

Before there was anger when he threatened, before there was pain, and rage, and a loss of innocence. This time, whether by bravado, or sheer force of whatever is driving him… those last words have the ring of promise. The kinds of promises that can start wars… or end them.

Magneto is amused. "'I am going to help', am I? And you will force me to help, even if I should believe that the best action would be to do nothing, or something other than whatever it is that you plan? Droll, Mr. Blake. But please, continue. Tell me this name, and tell me what it is that you believe I want, if they are not the same. Also, tell me what it is that you want, besides my help. It would seem that the past week has been… anxious for you. It is affecting your thinking." Sip.

Around them, the computers have settled on several files. Maps of Nigeria, photos of Nero and known associates of his, of the results of his activities. Text files containing reports of those same activities, and others. Magneto doesn't glance at them. His best source of information is standing in front of him.

Connor shakes his head, "You've shone me you're perfectly willing to throw people to the jackals if it gets you closer to your goal, let people be harmed for the greater good. So… I'm taking a cue from you. I want you to come down, and I want you to turn his little tin army and his little camp into a ruin of jagged edges and broken toy soldiers." As he speaks his voice goes quieter, and then he says in a husky whisper, "I want to see the look in Nero's eyes before I drag him beaten and bloody in front of all the ones who are left… and show THEM what it's like to fear… show THEM how powerless they are. And while it's all burning, and I know the people who I care about are safe? Then I'll decide whether or not to blow his brains out right there. That's what I want, Magneto. This man is a disease… a plague that rules and regulations will not end or stop. That the people's who's job it is to keep people safe have more important things like politics and favors to consider than doing any real good."

Magneto's eyes narrow as he studies the younger man's face. "Such words, Mr. Blake. Such… dark, passionate words." Sip. "Yes. I could do this for you. But know this: if I do, you will never go back to being the young man you were. This is a threshold. One step is forever."

"Ghandi said It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. I know the road I'm looking at. It's the same road I started on when I fought those in the plaza at the rally. I made a conscious choice to kill them before they could kill others. Because I saw they were not something I could subdue on my own. I had to make myself such a rage of shock and awe they had no choice to treat me as the greater threat… and the greater prize." Connor's eyes then close and he sits back wearily in the chair, "Prisoners… in cages… so afraid of everything they wouldn't run when given the chance. Children made to fight and kill each other simply to cultivate the heart of a monster. It has to end…" Shaking his head once more, the cold facade threatens to crumble before he says it, "The Sugar Man is working for Nero. And he's doing things to the mutants they take."

Magneto goes still at the mention of the Sugar Man, though it is a stillness as if a great weight has settled in the room, pressing everything in it to the floor, to submission. The moment stretches. "Indeed?" A tone light, unstressed, but with a volcanic passion freighted behind it, held in careful, precise check. "Well, then. He must be stopped."

He sets his water glass on the table and stands, the cloak sliding free of the chair and flaring outward as Magneto turns in place, looking at the photos up on the walls. "Do you have a plan, young Mr. Blake? Or should we away, before the sun rises much higher? It is after nine in the morning, in Nigeria. A lot can happen, in a day."

Watching for a long moment, Connor takes a deep breath of his own, some of the weariness leaving him before saying, "The problem is I don't know where Rashmi and the others are being held… we got a good look at the camp, but nothing else before they attacked us. We'd assumed it was just going to be a war camp like we'd seen before. The mansion and the rest was a surprise…" Stopping himself with a shake, he then says, "I'm wandering… allright… Hosea has one of the men from the camp who has agreed to draw us a map while in return for a shot at him getting his sister and getting out. I don't believe for a second about the family thing, but he knows we'll hurt him if he's not truthful about his intel. Once we have that…"

There's another pause as he takes another drink, a long one this time, refilling and making it half-gone again, "Nero has the upper hand on us in every category… his men have been taught how to go after mutants. They'll throw themselves at us until we're bogged down and can be darted… they're not stupid. And Nero has them firmly in his leash. That's why I came to you, and not to the school. I can't drag them away from protecting the campus in good conscience."

Magneto flutters his fingers, and the screens all round flutter in response. High overhead in orbit, baseball-sized satellites respond in kind, aligning their sensors in response to the demands this particular user makes of them. Nigeria appears on the walls, satellite maps that shudder and resize themselves until the prison camp Nero runs is centered in the largest screen. "A personal fiefdom," Magneto muses, crossing his arms as the image zooms in to the best magnification. "Do you know if the man Nero is himself a mutant? It might explain his rise to power." Then again, the Sugar Man explains this, too.

Magneto waves away Nero's precautions. He is Magneto, and has been fighting anti-mutant armies for decades. He has a few tricks up his sleeves. "Their tactics will fail, Mr. Blake. When we return, I will go in first and subdue this Nero's army. Barring outrageous measures, I doubt he will be able to forestall me. The Sugar Man is the person to worry about in that case, which is another reason to come in multiple waves: if I fall, to him, someone must take over."

Rubbing at tired eyes, Connor turns to look up at the screen, "Nothing Hosea has said so far tells me he is… he's just… well… he's a monster in the true sense." Walking forwards to look at it, "Hosea used to be one of his men, there was apparently a throwdown, and he decided to leave. But I'll bet that's where he got the idea of mutant soldiers." Watching the screen for a long moment he then lowers his head, "At least according to Yabani, the man we grabbed… his intent is to build his army with mutant soldiers at the core, and then sweep out through Nigeria, until it's all his." A pause comes as he listens to the talk about the Sugar man, "Right now we have five of us. Cloud, myself, Miss von Reigenleif, Hosea, and Mister Parker. I want to grab one other person for the assault. We've got strength and speed, but very little in directed damage ability. I'm going to see if I can get Lucas. His energy blast powers will mean we can get past anything hardened they've got present, I think."

Magneto nods. "Yes. Young Lucas would be useful." He is studying the layout of the camp. "I would suggest that you do that now. If for some reason you cannot, then get some sleep. You need it. I will apply my own intelligence-gathering resources to this problem in the meantime.

"However, before you go. Tell me just exactly who this Nero is currently holding. This information is vital to the actions which I will be taking, and how I will be taking them."

The list almost comes as a litany of guilt, "Travis, a student from Barnes was taken in the first attack… Rashmi was captured during the rescue attempt… there were… too many of them between me and her. I would have been taken too." That part seems like ripping his own guts out to say, "And while I was coming back to inform the school and… settle things… just in case… Star Rosen and David Alleyne were grabbed during a raid close to the Blackbird they'd taken down and had been shot down." Connor looks back up at the Master of Magnetism, "I am not strong enough to do this on my own. I'm not powerful enough. It was my stupid mistakes and my overconfidence in my abilities that got her captured. If they've… If I…" Tears begin to form, but he clamps his eyes shut, "However grateful I should be… I am not thanking you for this. This is enlightened self-interest for both of us." That said, the young man turns and starts walking towards the far wall, already shifting the gravity around him to spin up a portal.

Magneto watches the names appear in the files on the wall. "Travis, Miss Franklin, Miss Rosen, Mr. Alleyne. Yes. Thank you. That is pertinent to my planning." He flutters his fingers again and the satellites overhead spin in their orbits, sensors realigning. False color blooms across the wall as heat signatures are added into the map, showing vehicles and people in bright silhouettes. "Mr. Blake? What time are you planning for this action to commence?"

"Hosea knows these people best… once we've got a working map and the information out of our new friend… I'll have him begin a plan of attack that plays to the weaknesses he knows. Until then, we've got a village to defend, and an obligation to keep. Every minute they're in there stabs me in the guts, but there's no good to risking another hasty assault and getting more people captured. The group that's left… we're powerful… if they have a means of turning us… I would worry more for the world." The portal opens this time with barely a gesture, just appearing before him with no hand-movements save a raise of his palm, "For whatever it was worth… I came here ready to throw down… to pit every bit of power I had against you if I had to… and drag you there as a bargaining chip for their release. Give them a fish so big they'd either have to play by my rules, or I'd let you loose. Then I realized… that's how they do things. I have to be better. Otherwise… I'm only fighting the thing in the mirror."

Magneto gives Connor an amused stare. "Young man. What is in the mirror would not be your biggest difficulty. Surviving a 'throwdown' with me, with enough energy left over afterward to stand, let alone negotiate with someone like Nero? Much more immediate." He can't take offense at Connor's hubris; he was young, once. He knows why thoughts like that would cross Connor's mind.

"Go. Get your last recruit. Rest. By the time you return, there will be resources activated here and in Genosha, and perhaps enough intelligence that you will not have to rely on the questionable Mr. Yabani too much."

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