2011-06-20: Nothing Happens On Sundays At Barnes


DrewD_icon.jpg Kisha_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg

Summary: Tex fails to get his PT done again, after he learns about Bad Things happening from Mike and Kisha.

Date: June 20, 2011

Log Title: Nothing Happens On Sundays At Barnes

Rating: PG

Barnes Academy - SHIELD Sub-Carrier Dock

Utilitarian and gray, this dock, assessed through a huge mechanical hatch at the back of the main dome, this space has no decorative touches or viewing areas. Only the slightly curving, Teflon coated surface of the Sub-Carrier's hull at the far end gives a clue that this isn't just a warehouse sized storage and staging area, with several cargo handling skiffs and stripped-down Mandroid exoskeletons for cargo moving along the walls or actively loading things into one of the carrier's cargo bays. When the Sub-Carrier is at sea, a flat wall of that gray white alloy that makes up the floors and ceiling slides into place. Also notable here are ten 'hard points'. Automatic and manned heavy weapons stations that can swivel to face into or out of the area, protecting from threats from either direction. Whether trying to breech carrier or school, it will take an Omega-level threat to break through here directly.

Join SHIELD, save the world, be a special agent, defeat Hydra and other terrorists, run a motor pool! Wait, how's that again? Yes, all paramilitary agencies live on their bellies, and they're naked if they don't have logistical people. And naked people have a lot more trouble with bullets than someone in proper tactical kevlar.
But what has this to do with a Sunday afternoon and a robot-kid? Well, the motor pool (including the aquatic and flying-conversion vehicles) is a source of endless fascination to the vehicle-maniacal mutant.
So here he is, with a handful of motor-pool agents, and an LMD scientist scanning him and making copious notes as he tries out various new schematics for SHIELD vehicles. Currently, he's testing a design for a jet-ski with a force screen and a 500MPH 'skimmer' mode.
Said jet-ski, manifested through his power to possess and change vehicles, is floating on the water, explaining that there is a catch in the steering mechanism that feels uncomfortable and might jam at high speeds.

Dressed in SHIELD-issued sweats and without his usual accompanying white cowboy hat, Drew Daniels, the Texas Twister, enters the sub-carrier dock on his way out. He jogs over to one of his fellow SHIELD agents to ask about using a vehicle for later. After the short conversation Drew is ready to begin his late morning jog through Ellis Island, when he spots the student mutant. Since his return to Barnes after a hush hush SHIELD adventure, Drew has not seen any of the students. Approaching Mike, Drew head over and goes to tip his hat, when he realizes he is not wearing it and smirks, "Old habit. Howdy Mike."

The jet-ski reverts to a standard SHIELD model as the robot kid appears, like a car turned humanoid but without the Autobot decal, standing on the dock next to the LMD scientist.
"Good afternoon, Agent Daniels," he says, and turns to the scientist. "My energy reserve for transformation experiments is now at zero. Please send me the data when you've finished."
Turning back to face Tex, the robot blurs and is replaced by a kid wearing a SHIELD-like Barnes uniform. (Or, actually, it's just that he's turned on his image inducer.)
"What can I do for you today?" he asks the agent. The motor pool guys return to their regular work, one of them paying off on a bet to another.

Blinking a bit as the transformation occurs, "You'll have to forgive I haven't seen you transform into vehicles other than cars." Embarrassed a bit, "Looks like I will have to spend the summer catching up on returning student files as well as those of the incoming class." Drew scratches at his head, "Oh nothing in particular. Just givin' a greetin' before I go on my run. I had been so busy, I hadn't run into any Barnes students since I returned. So I spotted you and thought I'd say hi. How've you been, boy? Any plans for the summer?"

Mike's expression cycles quickly through confusion and then surprise, then normal.
"Uhm. I hadn't thought about it. I've been well. I'm doing my first official college-level courses this term. I was planning to stay over the summer, since there's no actual need for be to go back home. My parents are going to take a vacation, back to Greece and to the islands, then to Istanbul, and then to England. Papa has been on hiatus from motor work, since January."
(That's about as much as he's said about himself all year.)

Tex's facial expression seems to follow Mike's expression cycle as he is confused, surprised, and then normal. He hmmmmns, "Well, congratulations on graduating from your high school level courses. You're a college man now." Drew half smiles as he ponders if 'hiatus' means 'out of work' but then with a European vacation that may not be the case. "Well be sure to try to have some fun over the summer as well. You know what they say All work and no play…"

[* Note - Mike is taking some college-level courses, but he hasn't graduated yet. Tex will probably find that out later.]

"…makes Jack a dull robot. Fortunately my name is Mike." He cracks a brief smile. "I shouldn't keep you from your run. Would you like company?"
The student uniform is replaced by Barnes gym attire: shorts and tee-shirt, and fancy looking running shoes.

Surprised by Mike's response and smile, Drew lets out a chuckle an nods his head, "Definitely I could use some company on the run. Not sure if I can keep up with ya, But I sure as hell can try." Noting Mike's shoes, "Fancy, huh?" Drew heads towards the exit as Mike joins him on the run.

"They're an illusion, so I can make them look like I want," Mike answers. "And I'll be a pace car for you, if you like. What's your usual time-to-distance while training?"
He matches the agent's speed while they go to the actual, outdoor training spot.

Running at a moderately quick speed, Drew jogs along with Mike, "I've never really been one to time myself. This will be my chance. I guess." As they jog along, Drew asks, "So I gotta question, what was being a student at Xavier's like? And how does it compare with being here?" Drew has recently encountered some Xavier students and had been working one on one with Kael on his aerokinetic abilities.

"My experience with schools when I was flesh and blood was never great," Mike answers. "For me, Xavier's was my first experience with a private school. Scholastically, it was a wake-up; having brilliant people for teachers, and having a much better student-teacher ratio, it was amazing. My parents joked that turning robot was the best thing that ever happened to my grades, but I think it would've been just as good if I were still bio."
He laughs, a bit mechanically. "On the other hand, within my first week of arriving, in the middle of a demon invasion, I nearly lost my hands fighting a possessed student, and in short order, met the worlds most terrifying mutant terrorist, who gave me my voice back, and then later nearly killed me with an EMP. And, when I went back to visit, I got dragged off into some sort of creepy halloween universe where I got turned into the Frankensteam Monster for a while, and had to kill a friend."

Stopping from his run when he hears Mike describe his experience at Xaviers, "Wow." Drew musters as he scratches his head, "Pardon my language, that is one helluva an experience." He had heard about the Halloween adventure but still hearing that and the other description from Mike gives this agent pause, "The students there must be incredibly resilient having to survive experiences like that. Kael never described it to me like that." Shaking his head, he takes some breathes and then starts to jog again. This time at a slower pace.

Breathing, not a problem for the motor mutant. He starts listening to the heartrate and breathing patterns of the Texan agent, so he can adjust his pace to match.
"That's about half of what really happened. And I suppose you could say they're resilient, the ones who survive it. Not everyone does. But in two semesters here, I only found my life seriously threatened once, when the hunt club attacked the people in Mutant Town and outside the Genoshan embassy. I was able to help, but not nearly enough."
And his combat and strategy training, Tex might note on checking, has ramped up since then.

It's almost prophetic that the topic of unfortunate experiences at Xaviers should come up right before Kisha arrives, here to make her daily attempt to idly snoop into the construction techniques used in the defence turrets. She doesn't announce her arrival, although the blasting steampunk inspired chaphop from her touchpad computer can likely be heard by ships with sonar from miles away….

When Kisha arrives, Drew Daniels, dressed in SHIELD issue sweats stops his run, but jogs in place for a few moments. He had known of Kisha's arrival to Barnes, but had not formally met the new transfer. Looking to Mike, he nods, "Should probably introduce myself to the new student. Was she a classmate of yours at Xaviers?" He begins to jog towards her, "Howdy. I'm Agent Drew Daniels. I don't think we have formally met yet." He bows his head.

Having his hearing turned up, Mike stumbles for one step as his sensory processors suddenly have to filter unusually high sound levels. He focusses on the new person. "I think I know her, but we met only briefly, during the excursion to hell-o-ween town."
The robot kid does not have a spider-sense to warn him of potentially dangerous things, so it fails to go off, just as it didn't go off when the Doom Twins were discussing exploratory mechanical engineering.

"No we probably haven't," Kisha agrees with a brief nod, proudly wearing a badge that says Hacktivism FTW and another which says Defy authority, ask me how!
"Is that… the legendary Mike? Aka the king of sexy tech himself?" She smiles, an actual normal looking smile. "I'm afraid I don't remember meeting you before now. I have no memory of the evil dimension thanks to.. what I'm informed was a giant demon pumpkin eating me."

"It seems you have a fan." Drew turns to Mike smiling a bit. But the smiles turns to more of a half-smile when she says giant demon pumpkin. Drew is a bit of an occult afficiando having been possessed and dealt with demons during his time with the Rangers. "Never heard of that type of demon. I'll have to look it up… Well, um, welcome to Barnes." He offers to Kisha.

"Probably a good thing," Mike says, quirking an eyebrow at 'legendary', "not to remember that place. The physical laws seemed to be largely the whim of some insane chthonic horror that man was not meant to be introduced to at a picnic social. We - you and I that is - only met in passing anyway; I had to stay near the only source of fuel, which was a bar that had something close to grain alcohol."
He shrugs, still looking entirely human. "According to the student roster, you're Kisha Dorogoi? I never got your last name before. What do you think of Barnes vs. Xavier's for tech?"

Kisha nods. "Barnes has more obvious tech," she offers, glancing around. "But on the whole it's of a fairly same-y level. While Xavier's has a few items that are far more potent. Like the danger room or the obscene server they use to keep student test results on." She scowls. "This place also has even more invasive spook tech. Which is most annoying."

"Invasive spook tech?" Drew quirks his eyebrow, "Not sure whatcha talkin' about Kisha." Drew looks to Mike. While SHIELD is known for their spying, Drew ponders a second and could see how some of the students could see that. "If you're referring to SHIELD being all about spyin' and whatnot. There's more to use than that." He says as he smiles innocently.

The robot boy's reply might be surprising to some people, especially with his attitude towards authorities.
"It's a multi-governmental security agency, tasked with dealing with espionage and terrorism, i.e. spooks. Ergo, it has invasive spook tech. As long as you're not doing anything wrong, it's a trade-off for giving you access to those technologies, and to the training they can provide."
He glances across the bay to a place about 400 yards offshore where a SHIELD skimmer transport is surfacing from one of the random launch zones, and then jetting across the water towards Manhattan.
"And they have very, very nice vehicles."

"I'd rather go without the toys and know my personal data was personal rather than having some creep checking to see who I'm talking to and what sites I'm visiting," Kisha states solemly, then with an innocent smile of her own she adds. "And if I was the sort of person who never did anything wrong I wouldn't have been exiled to military school. They won't let me play with the vehicles yet at least not in any way I'd find enjoyable…"

Having just returned, Drew only heard the bare minimum on Kisha and so he is not completely sure why Kisha was 'exiled' to Barnes, but if she came from Xaviers and from the description, he has heard thus far with demon pumpkins and people nearly getting their hands chopped off. Drew can only fathom what she must have done to get kicked out of there. "And how do you define enjoyable?"

"Exiled?" Mike checks his copy of the roster for links to anything odd about Kisha's admission, but finds nothing, of course.
"How are you exiled? Also, the people who check the personal traffic aren't judgemental at all. You'd probably like them." Before she tried to hack them, of course; Mike now recalls a conversation about the girl from Theo, of all people. Admiring and envious at the same time, and somehow an utter failure for the technopath's attempt to prove his heterosexuality.
"Yes, that's a good question, how DO you define enjoyable?" He uses the image inducer to create a grin that oozes innocence.

"Well. For a start almost every vehicle ever made has a safety margin within it's performance capabilities," Kisha replies cheerfully, tapping away on her touchpad without even glancing down at it. "Which are always far wider than they should be. Also nothing says fun like inbuilt supercomputers and high end electronic warefare suites." She pauses, then shrugs. "Exiled because Emma Frost thinks I'm unmanageable. I simply prevented a drugged up kidnapper from abducting me, nothing more and nothing less." Of course she did so by stabbing him with a screwdriver a few times, but that's besides the point!

Shaking his head, "Wow it seems like kidnapping is a daily happening at Xaviers. Well not sure about Ms. Frost or anything like that, but hopefully stuff like that doesn't happen to you here. So far, no kidnappings since I've been teaching here." He looks to Mike and half-smiles, "Unless of course you count yourself at Xaviers." He scratches his chin, "Maybe some others. I should actually check before I spout off such statements without making sure."

"How'd you prevent a kidnapping? And if you're unmanageable by the Ice Queen, then you must be, uhm. Stubborn."

First thing you learn at Xaviers' is that you always question the first statement because it's hiding something. Mike has not found anything at Barnes that makes him think differently. He looks over at Tex, though, and considers mentioning that recent student Tabitha Jones has disappeared. But the agent will find out soon enough.

Kisha tilts her head. "By making the person trying to kidnap me pre-occupied with keeping vital fluids from leaking," she states indifferently. "How about brainwashings? I ran into one of the girls from my suite… her name was… Peaches? Poncho? Something like that. She'd encountered two supervillians who happen to be related to a student from Xaviers."

Blinking as she says "Keeping vital fluids from leaking?" He looks between her and Mike and suddenly feels like there is more to this girl with the Russian name than meets the eye, "We don't have any students by the name of Peaches or Poncho, but you said supervillains and brainwashing." Drew sighs as he has encountered said villains and shakes his head, "Damn it." He looks between the two mutants, "Excuse me." Drew jogs off to get more intel on who was kidnapped and what has happened.

"Patches. Tabitha Jones," Mike calls out to Drew's back. He returns his attention to Kisha.
"Do you have a bandwidth issue with your corpus callosum, or do you simply not use mnemonic techniques to affix names?" If he asked that with a rude tone of voice it would probably sound rude, but it's neutral-to-curious. He begins paying attention to the computer she's been tapping away at; it's noisy in several radio bandwidths.

"I'd never actually met her before and she was hardly in a state to give a proper introduction," Kisha points out, tapping a few more of the glyphs that seem to be displayed instead of normal keyboard characters. "Besides my capacity for 'people' empathy has been degraded by the incarnations of my ability. Which has thankfully stabalised into a more natural and less long-term fatal state."

"I see why the hell-place threw you back. They wouldn't have been able to force you into any of their roles. They had no room for intelligent women who create machines." Mike leans against the nearest leanable wall/bench/lamp-post. "Stability is a good thing, yes. Brain reorganization has been an involuntary hobby of mine as well, but my issue was more that my emotional operations were overwhelming the rest. Not helped by the drama at Xavier's nor by events in personal life. In any case. You said safety margins… I have to disagree with you a bit. The safety margins exist because the reliability of consistent manufacturing and the cost-to-profit ratios are manipulated to allow cheap materials to be used which really don't behave well when they do break down. So, while any vehicle I happen to be possessing will behave like the specs say, most of them, will not."

Kisha laughs. "Have you ever read Snow Crash?" she wonders. "Because I have a sudden urge to make you some of the smart tyres from it." And make the gun called Reason for herself, but that's hardly a new development. "I doubt I'll conform any better here. It's a little too fascist for my liking. Besides I don't really fancy a career in Shield, which is something I'm lead to believe they would rather people they've spent money educating were interested in."

"The sticky, high-contact ones? I do those sometimes," Mike admits. "They wear faster, and that means I have to replace my feet more often if I'm not careful."
He considers the idea of the career in SHIELD. "I suggest, if you want to thrive here, that you look for the secret underpinnings to this apparent fascist regime. They exist to manage certain kinds of things, but they do so in ways that are entirely subversive of the mindset. It's very much an onion. Layer in layers, but the goal is to protect people from authority misused, and from anarchy misplaced. Social engineering via cool spy tools."

He pauses a moment, then says, "Honestly though? They want you to come out in favor of those goals, and they don't seem to care whether you come out working for them, or working for yourself, or staying completely civilian. They just want to keep us from all turning out supervillains."

"The ones where the wheels are made from individual pads on spokes. They don't actually stick to the road but they go over rough terrain like it isn't even there," Kisha explains enthusiastically, before glancing at the read out on her screen and frowning.

"To be honest I've had several versions of the 'why you should come to accept being here' and none work as well as the one which is keeping me here. The 'if you don't stay here you'll end up back at your dads house with your psycho anti-mutant brother trying to shoot you' logic."

"That would be a powerful motivator, but I'm not explaining why you should be here, just what they want from you. It's up to you to decide."
Mike scans the book from his archive, and blinks. "Wait, those? The variable-spoke-and-pad smartwheels? No, I never tried that. I could do it though. Want to see me try?"
He grins an actual not-calculated grin. "I can get you into the motor pool, but you have to promise not to hack anything you can't put back exactly like you found it."

Kisha winks. "I promise not to get caught doing anything bad," she says innocently. "And for the record I'm too busy with a coding project to spare the time to hack anything interesting…" She shakes her head at the screen, then lets the touchpad dangle on the carry strap. "Lead the way! Those are indeed the ones I'm meaning, but wouldn't it be far easier for you if the vehicle already had them?"

Mike leads the way back down to the motor pool/sub pool, switching his gym attire for his simulated Barnes student uniform as they pass from public view. He grins at "get caught" … "Yeah, just don't damage anything, and realize that these guys know as well as we do what the limits are, and they don't need surprises when they're in a life-or-death. And training is sometimes life-or-death here."

The mechanic on duty looks at Kisha and frowns at Mike. "Fine, if you want to bring her in, then it's on you if she screws anything up. Anything." Yes, the intrusive fascist thing again - nobody is unprepared. Like in the real world.

Mike looks around for a vehicle to tamper, and stops at his own "smrt" car, the thing he built for use at Xaviers' Danger Room sessions. He drops the illusion, standing there in his normal robotic form for 2.5 seconds before he vanishes into the car, which changes from a glorified golf cart to a glorified golf cart with smartwheel technology.
His voice comes from somewhere inside the car. "This feels WEIRD."

"I suspect now you know what it'd feel like to be a catapillar shapeshifter," Kisha exclaims with a smirk, watching the vehicle shift with avid interest. "I wish I had the time to sit and attune my ability to your vehicle in that form. I could probably retroengineer the technology without much trouble. Of course I'd likely need to sit inside you for upwards of a day…."

Not that this is offputting to her. "I am fully aware of the work people here do you know. Just because I don't like them snooping on me doesn't mean I can't appreciate that there are people who really do need hunting down and removing from the general population. Like Heathers parents for example. I may not know the people in my suite very well but that doesn't mean I want them brainwashed."

The car moves back and forth as Mike figures out how to make the wheels work.
"Almost. I've been a Caterpillar, the treads don't feel like this," the robocar says, making the obvious pun.
A few adjustments, as he reassigns processing power to 'watching his feet' and he moves more surely.
"Well, I like the feel, but I won't be using this on any day-to-day drive-around. It would be great for those New York roads, though. There's a chronic pothole on the freeway junction going into Westchester that could swallow a compact car entirely. Maybe I'll figure out an image inducer setting to hide them."

The mention of Heather's parents filters through after a moment. "Wait, that's who attacked
Tabitha? That's… not good. Have you sent a note to Ms. Frost about this yet?"

"I meant the insect," Kisha points out, giggling. "And perhaps I'll work out how to make them normally, then sell the rights to build them to Tony Stark." At the mention of Ms. Frost she rolls her eyes. "Of course not? I emailed Shield because it concerns a missing student here. I also let everyone else within my suite know, but I don't feel I owe any great loyalty to my former headmistress. Besides can you honestly imagine they've gone after a Barnes student and not hit a dozen from Xaviers?"

Impatient Car is Impatient. "That's the POINT, the illusionist could do a lot of damage before anyone spotted him. It's not about loyalty, it's about protecting the other people there."
As he says that, Mike composes, encrypts, and sends a quick note, using the key pair he still keeps active to Xaviers' in case it's needed, and unfortunately it has been.
"OK, sent. And I think Mr. Stark may already have a design for these. I think he uses them for the roller skates in his armor."

Kisha shrugs. "He's not selling them for road vehicles though is he?" she counters. "Besides I think he'd probably rather sell a version he didn't invent, less risk of anyone using the retail version to compromise his personal equipment." She doesn't seem in the least bit bothered by the Impatient car routine. "You should probably know that my capacity for consideration towards others is also impaired. I try but little things like that slip past me."

"Yes, you said that before, and I begin to understand what the ramifications are. I would, in your situation, consider a technological solution, as a sort of emotional eyeglasses, but a mechanical sense of empathy is almost a contradiction in terms." Mike says this blithely, fully aware that he has his own solution, but then, it's not entirely contingent on his technology, and what works for him would very likely not work for anyone else.
He reverts to his anthropic robot self, leaving his mini-car parked, and doesn't bother to re-initialize the image inducer. Instead, he goes over to the gas pump, and fills a metal sports bottle with high-test.

Kisha laughs. "I don't honestly consider it a problem," she points out. "Everyone else does, but I'm fully functional and I don't have the same needs for other people that would make such a condition impede my life." The fueling process is again noted with overt curiousity, only coming just short of filming the process thanks to the knowledge her computer is engaged in other tasks. "Besides I have dozens of projects on the go already. I'd never get around to it unless I incorporated it into something else."

"Other people do consider it a problem though, in general." Mike points out. "And if you plan to continue living among humans, it might be good to find a way to manage it, so that don't you encourage them to consider you a problem in specific."
Which is as close as Mike will get to 'Mein Gott Herr Frankenstein, der villagers mit der pitchforks und der torches!'
… today anyway.
Refueling, for him, is simply drinking through a straw. Excitement!

"I don't plan on sticking around for that long. My aim is to have my own planetoid or orbital facility before I'm thirty," Kisha states matter-of-factly, leaning against a wall that looks relatively technology free. "Anyway I better head back to my room. I need to debug some code and do a hotswap on some hard drives. It's been nice meeting you and if you ever need any repairs doing let me know."

"We'll talk," Mike says, promising no more than that about the repairs thing. But … orbital facility? Interesting thought. He finishes his lunch and heads off to his own room; time to call his Dad for Father's Day.

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