2012-03-04: Public Display of Anomaly


Fiona_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg Mikhail_icon.jpg

Summary: A coincidental meeting in Union Square, and two people trust each other more than they should.

Date: March 4, 2012

Log Title: Public Display of Anomaly

Rating: G

NYC - Union Square

Always bustling with life, this is Union Square, with its large statue of George Washington standing in the center. Live music, dancers, artists, activists, vendors, and more can all be seen here on a daily basis. There are even some tables set up for chess games. The Green Market can be found here, selling fresh fruit, breads, vegetables and other farm products. Union Square has more of a younger feel as most the kids who hang out here have that artistic, indie look to them, making Union Square one of the more open minded parks in the city.

It's late enough in the day that the best stuff is gone from the Green Market, and indeed all but a handful of carts are gone, but it's still easily early enough for there to be kids hanging out, varying ages, one or two breaking the rules and skate-boarding. Old people playing chess. A man is selling ice cream. It's all very Simon and Garfunkel-feeling.
In front of the statue of George Washington, a young man with short dark hair, wearing a blue hoodie and board shorts and ugly hiking boots, is doing "robot mime" for a small crowd of variously hostile-to-amused street tough wannabees. Or maybe real-bees. His moves are good, but they lack a certain energy that some of the better dancers throw into it. A bit too stiff, perhaps.

Of course, Fiona can't help but have her eye caught by the spectacle. Since it's not as if she actually has anything to DO as a high school dropout who spends her days wandering around the city… she figures she'll sidle up and watch. Hopefully the random street 'toughs' don't take notice of her. Hopefully, anyway. "That's quite something," she comments on his act, "It almost looks TOO realistic."

One of the "toughest" looking kids - a black kid with many scars where gang-sign was apparently lasered off - shakes his head at that remark.
"He ain't that good. He gotta loosen up." The kid demonstrates, restarting the music on the boom box that's playing an industrial track, going through exactly the movements that the dark-haired kid just did, but when he does them, they're inspired. Just a little more follow-through, a bit of the over-move-and-recover, and a bit more snap when he hits the "freeze" points. The dark-haired kid moves back to watch, head slightly tilted, standing arms crossed, standing next to the new girl. He grins at Fiona, "Thanks. He's really good, isn't he?" and gestures at the black kid as he finishes with a powered-down slump.

"He IS good! That's how it's supposed to look. Then again - I can't really dance at all…" Fiona trails off, glancing at the dark haired kid and then back towards the most recent dancer. "How long does it take to actually get good at that? I always feel like I just end up tripping over my own feet."

The black kid returns to stand between two black girls - one with bright pink makeup who looks adoringly at him and calls him "Jay-Jay" and one in an outfit so gangsta that Left Eye Lopes would have worn it. That girl shakes her head, and without a word, restarts the soundtrack again, and does her own interpretation. It's closer to the one that the black-haired kid did, but not as fluid as the black kid's moves. The difference is more obvious as she moves in ways that make sense for a robot with limited degrees of freedom - she never rotates her shoulders relative to her hips, but she allows her arms to move around in a complete circle that would HAVE to hurt. Her moves are slow, or quick, or in a few cases, lightning-fast, but they match the music and catch the beats perfectly.

"Wow," the black-haired kid says, applauding. To someone standing next to him, there's one or two things off. He doesn't smell quite right - an ozone sort of scent. His hands clap slightly out of synch with the sound of applause, and there's a 'thud' rather than a 'clop' as if he were slapping two pieces of automobile tread together.

Jay-Jay scowls, but admits defeat. "Little sister, you still best."
Impromptu contest over, most of the "toughs" wander off to other groups, while Jay-Jay and his pink friend retire to a bench to engage in reasonably polite PDA, while Little Sister scowls at Mike, then at Fiona, then winks at Mike and grabs the boom-box, taking it with her as she heads for another group of girls her age.

"I picked it up in a day, but I'm a natural," the dark-haired boy answers the question that Fiona asked before Little Sister's dance beatdown. "Although I'm going to see if I can reproduce what she just did, that was amazing. I think for most people, if they can dance, a week, if not, a month, or never in some cases."

Fiona blinks at Mike momentarily, then back to Jay-Jay, "I might just fall under that 'never' category," she laughs. She doesn't seem too broken up about it though - she can play the piano, after all! However, he gaze centers on Mike for a moment, as if she's trying to put something together but just can't quite come up with it. Donna had said that she needed to start opening her eyes - looking for things that don't belong, or things that shouldn't be. A whole different way of watching the world around her and understanding it. Well, starting with this guy right here! Of course, she would never be able to specify why she thinks that. The smell of ozone and the clapping? Things that her brain knows are wrong, but she doesn't consciously.

Mike provides a whole universe of slightly-not-right to those who study him intensely for long enough, but that was true even before he became a robot. Since then, he's become very good at ensuring his vocal synthesis matches his image-induced facial expressions and the apparent tension of his body when moving; he has visible skin texture including fine hairs, there are variations in color and veins and scars and fingerprints visible if you look closely. His breathing is a different matter… it's not accompanied by moving air, since it's entirely a visual illusion caused by image inducer.
"Do I have spinach in my teeth?" Mike asks, as Fiona gives him that more intense gaze.

Fiona closes her eyes for a moment and shakes her head, "Errr, no! It's nothing like that." When her eyes open, they are glowing just a little bit with her nervousness, and then die back down. They seem to do that whenever she gets excited. "It was just something… odd… no, it's nothing, really" she shrugs, glancing to the other two kids and then back to Mike, "So you come here often? To dance, I mean?"

Mike doesn't seem to notice the anomalous emission of photonic energy, at least he doesn't react to it, except to say in a sort of exaggerated relief, "Whew, I was afraid I was going around with salad mouth. No, I don't come here to dance very often. I'm not really that good, I'd have to work at it more than I do. I was just standing here earlier thinking about something and one of them asked me if I was performing - I guess I forgot to move."
Yeah, who forgets to move to the point that someone mistakes them for a performer?

Fiona does a bit of a double-take, "You… forgot… to move?" the girl looks really confused at that. "What do you mean? They just saw you standing around and thought you were performing? That's kinda silly…" Yeah, obviously she doesn't quite get the full meaning of his words - if he was just standing there. Still something seems off!

Blush mode engaged. "Uh, I was trying to figure out how to fold some extremely thin material - I guess I was standing here for about ten minutes. It's not really hard to do, I mean…" Quick, Mike, come up with a plausible excuse. Ah, there's one. "My folks used to make me stand in the corner perfectly still when I was being bad, and I turned it into a game to see how long I could go. Then I used to do it to win bets. Don't you have any weird things you learned to do as a kid?"

Fiona rubs her temple. Clearly, she's not buying it - she wasn't really all that sure before, but she kinda is now. "Well yeah, I guess but…" she trails off, "I mean. You're not exactly… normal, are you?" the girl smirks a little. "I've got… a few weird things I learned how to do when I was younger," her eyes glow purple for just a second again, "Though I dunno about standing still in random public areas," she laughs.

Temporarily glowing purple eyes. Mike makes a note to check that against the list of known mutant powers. Still, maintain the facade.
"Nobody is normal, really. At least I didn't fall asleep standing up. That would have been embarrassing." Mike shrugs. "So, I should've sat down first, so it wouldn't look so weird, before I started trying to model graphene folding. Anyway, it was easier to go along with them about it being a street performance, than it would be to explain things." Obviously.
A hint of sly humor crosses the dark-haired guy's grin. "I'm Mike. Do you have a name, or should I just call you Pandora?" Because of the alabaster skin, of course.

"Call me Fiona instead, 'cause that's my name," the sorceress laughs. When he mentions graphene well, "Graphene?" she questions - she's not exactly familiar with… well, anything scientific, honestly! They didn't exactly teach that stuff in high school. Even if she's not currently going. It's also likely that she doesn't realize what her eyes are doing currently - it's not something that's directly under her control.

Mike explains, with hand gestures that may or may not make sense. "Carbon atoms connected up in hexagonal grids, like chicken wire. Strongest material that occurs naturally. If you can get enough of it in a continuous sheet, or fold it in the right ways, you get super-elastic, or super-durable, or you can mix in other atoms and get really weird things. It's amazing. You can make stuff like carbon-fiber frames for bikes, or cars, or spaceships. Better than adamantium because it doesn't poison people."

"… adamantium?" Clearly, this girl needs some education in that area but - it's probable that most normal people don't know what that is either. "That's good?" she smiles, laughing and shaking her head a bit, "Sorry. I'm just not, you know, familiar with that sorta thing. I mean, it sounds awesome! But I certainly wouldn't know what to do with it if I got it. You happen to have some though?"

Mike laughs. "Adamantium? No, that stuff is hard to get. Only people who can get that stuff are like the Avengers, or Fantastic Four. But I do have some graphene," and he pulls a pencil out of his pocket. "Pencil leads used to be always made of graphite, like this one. And graphene was first extracted from graphite. It's just in very short, not really useful bits. Has to be pulled out, stretched out flat, and stuck together to get big enough pieces to be useful. It's like the new magic material, though. You can do amazing things with it."

"Oh yeah? Magic huh?" the girl replies with a clever grin, "I dunno about all that!" she laughs, eyes glowing involuntarily again. Stop it, eyes! Yeah… "Although, I suppose super strong, super light bikes and cars would be great." She knows that much, at least. "But magic?"

"Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic. Also, any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science. The Mad Sparks and Evil Geniuses guidebook requires that I either cackle madly or laugh ominously at this point, but it would attract attention." Mike tries to look serious and ominous but it's not convincing at all. He puts the pencil (with its tiny cargo of magic graphene) back in his pocket. He also makes a note, while checking the list of mutant powers, to check 'glowing purple eyes' against the much smaller list of Known Magical Signatures. (Smaller because he doesn't really have access to any of the good lists.)

And such is the way conversation goes when you've been forbidden by your teacher to come out and exactly say what exactly it is that makes you… unique, per se. Fiona, however, seems adept at dropping hints, at least. "I suppose that could true. Every kind of religion or magic has its own special rituals and rites that must be followed… It's really not that much different from science, just… a football to a baseball… At least, so I've been told."

Rituals! Mike does a lookaway-look-back double-take when Fiona essentially equates religion and magic, but then realizes that it's not terribly inaccurate, at least when considered historically.
"Yeah, my folks had that discussion once. Or twice. Imagine trying to eat dinner with a kid you want to be friends with, while your parents are arguing the differences between Greek Orthodox Liturgy of the Faithful, Roman Catholic Missa Vulgaris, Episcopalian Rite Four, and the Hindu memorial funerary meal."

"Bleh, I couldn't have done that," Fiona shakes her head, "My parents are both pretty normal. Lawyer and a doctor. You know. They don't believe in any kinda that sorta stuff! Not a bit," she tsks in mock sadness. "Do you?" the girl asks. "Nnnnnot necessarily religion but… the supernatural?"

"Uh, yeah, it's difficult NOT to. And I believe in both. My parents are priests. And I've seen magic in action, not that I was very good at dealing with it. I haven't made deals with any special beings, other than God, and He almost never interferes in a way that can be proved." Mike shrugs at that. "And if it can be explained as help granted by things that live in other dimensions, well, I'm not going to argue with that concept at all. Especially when it can be reproduced."

Fiona scratches at her cheek, "Well, it's not exactly that," murmurs the girl, "At least, I mean, I wouldn't think so, anyway!" she clears her throat, kicking at the ground slightly. "If I were to suggest, it would be that it's a universal energy, embedded in all living things. Your very life force, if you will. So naturally, a god's will be more powerful than a human's, but it exists in everyone…" she bites her lip. Too specific? "I mean. You know. That's what I read. I dunno if I believe it."

"That sounds very, uhm, well. Blepomen gar arti di esoptrou en ainigmati. That's Greek, sorry. We see through a smoked glass, roughly. Whenever I start to contradict someone I have to repeat it to myself."
Mike tilts his head as he thinks about it. "The life-energy in all things, that's remarkably like The Force from Star Wars, but I don't think you meant it that way. Anyway, for most people, and that would include me, the trick of making things happen by drawing on universal energy through ritual, we just don't know the underlying truth that lets it work. Most of the people I've seen using actual magic, not some other power, seem to do it by drawing on contracts or exchanged favors, or by having just an enormous, overwhelming amount of that universal energy."

"I would suppose demonic contracts are probably the easiest way of gaining control of magic - there… probably… a lot of demons out there, and a lot of people who'd like to wield magic, so it works out, neh? BUT, there's certainly have to be people skilled in the manipulation of said magic to make contact with those demons in the first place… I figure they were out walking around, we'd see 'em by now, huh?" Fiona laughs, yawning and sliding onto a nearby bench. Tired of standing. She's been standing up forever! "Those are probably the ones you have to watch out for the most…"

Darnit, another mistake. Should have invited her to sit down before. Robots don't get tired of standing, but flesh does. Mike follows along, and sits down on the (fortunately concrete) bench. "There would have to be something to offset it, like, the demons being forced off or prevented from staying. And logic says that not all of them are demons. I was talking about favors to other things, though. I know a woman …" Careful, Mike. Keep it close to true but let us not reveal the names or places. ".. who taught comparative mythology, and she described some people who would make pacts with the Fae. Shakespeare wrote about that too, so it's not completely unlikely."

"Oh yeah? Well, might've had one himself, to obtain storytelling so refined…" Fiona trails off, picking her feet up off the ground one or the other. Even with her thick soled boots, wandering around the city all day can play hell on your feet.

Running though New York City is Mikhail, should he be out here? no, is he being childish, maybe, is he gonna get in trouble when he gets back to school? definitely, does he care? Hell no. Dressed in black jeans, a dark grey polo top and white sneakers he catches a familier scent and changes direction mid-run, sunning across Union Square he jumps over the chest tables and slows to a walk just over ten feet away from Mike and Fiona, "Heya Mike".

"You think he had an arrangement with a leanansidhe?"
The dark-haired guy pulls a cellphone out of his pocket, glances at it, and pokes at the surface quickly, sending a text message. "No, I am NOT going to come back to help you clean the garage. Dad pays you to do it." He smiles at Fiona afterwards. "Sorry. Business thing."
Then Mikhail comes up, and Mike stands, "WOAH! Hey, Mikhail, you're looking good! Long time!" He offers a handshake to the acrobatic fellow.

"Well," Fiona shrugs, "Who knows! All we know is that he was exceptionally talented. Could be a Faustian type deal. I mean, have you read A Midsummer Night's Dream?" she grins just a little, purple eyes falling upon the new arrival.

Mikhail shakes Mike's hand flashing a fanged grin at the familiar feeling of his tire track hands, "Thanks a friend dressed me", not literally, "Where have you been? Why don't you visit us?" He looks over at Fiona as he drops Mike's hand and notes her purple eyes, "Heya, you're new".

Mike laughs at the 'friend dressed me' line - and it sounds like a real laugh, which is much better than last time Mikhail heard Mike try to make that sound.
"This is Fiona. She's a nice person I just met here. She was unfortunate enough to be exposed to me dancing, but she's forgiven me for that. I've been busy with school and working for my Dad. I can't go back because Mom doesn't think it's safe enough, after the last time I visited."
Well, being dragged off to a hell dimension and turned into Frankenstein's Robot was pretty unsafe, yeah.

Fiona gives Mikhail a little wave, "Nice to meet you!" she greets him, eyes flicking over to Mike, "Oh? You're not goin to school in Hell's Kitchen are ya?" she laughs. "That place can be fairly nasty at times."

Mikhail tilts his head slightly as he looks at Mike, "Your laugh changed, what happened?" He's never quite understood how Mike works, he knows he's not a robot but beyond that… "Heya Fiona", he give two thumbs up, "Pfft, Xaviers' isn't dangerous, I'm there and I recently figured out how to work the coffee machine… Coffee is good! and all the dissappeary stuff now happened off campus, but it's bad".

Mike shakes his head to Fiona. "I attend a private reform school for incorrigible gear-heads and weirdos. As opposed to Xaviers', the one I went to where I met Mikhail here, and don't let his awesome good looks fool you he's not as hot as he thinks. Xaviers' is a charity populated by defrocked priests and nuns, ex-prostitutes, and retired gansters who take in cases nobody else will touch and raise them to be public nuisances." There is nothing untrue in Mike's response, there. Honestly.
"I practiced, Mikhail… It took a while to figure out how to laugh without making children wet themselves, but I think I finally got it. And what disappeary stuff?"

"Oh!" Fiona replies, "My boyfriend goes to Xaviers'. He's a little weird, for sure, but…" she shrugs a little, "It doesn't seem like all that bad a place, I guess. Not that I've ever, erm, been allowed in there exactly."

Mikhail goes a little red and looks at Mike, "I don't think I'm hot, but I'm not really cold either… oh! you mean the other hot, and yeah same answer and my looks aren't good, I'm scarey, see?" he sticks his tongue at Mike. He frowns at Mike's description of Xaviers', "Hey!, I'm not always a nuisance and i'm never a public one", yeah the joke there goes right over his head, "Practice makes perfect. Oh, people at the school are going missing, things about werewolves and stuff, it's worrying but they're working on getting everyone back, just annoying that we're on lockdown".

Mike nods to Mikhail. "And as usual you're ignoring the lockdown. They're going to complain a LOT. Want me to let them know you're OK, if we're out past curfew?" Not waiting for an answer (he suspects will be 'no') Mike smiles at Fiona. "Oh? Who's your boyfriend? I may or may not know him. I left there after only two terms."
People going missing. Multiprocessor Brain Activate! Mike starts checking for names of people connected to Xaviers' who are reported missing, according to the non-security SHIELD database. Doubtless nobody will be there, but it's worth checking.

"Oh, his name's Jules," Fiona rubs the back of her neck a little, "Jules Lynch. He's a teleporter. Kinda skinny," she holds her hands out, indicating said skinniness.

Mikhail shakes his head, "Nope, I'm good, sometimes if you don't mention it they don't really bother picking up on it, unless of course you get in trouble but how often do I get in trouble?", he looks over at Fiona, "I haven't met him i don't think but then it is a big school".

Mike nods to Mikhail. "You happen to know the names of any of the people who've gone missing?"
His voice is a little distorted sounding, like he's talking through a cellphone or maybe an autotuner. Yes, it does take a large part of his processing to simultaneously maintain a very encrypted link with a computer he isn't really supposed to be connected to this way, while also speaking, keeping his appearance looking real, and searching that remote computer for information. He'll update, of course, with anything about Xaviers' losing people as well. Because why NOT bring SHIELD in on a kidnapping of a person they're theoretically 'protecting'.
He doesn't bother replying to the "how often" line, it would take too long. Part of the conversation continues without his immediate attention. Queued speech runs as he answers Fiona.
"I don't think I met a Jules Lynch, but I left Xavier's after Spring 2010."

"Well, I only met him just… six or eight months ago. So he might not've even been there before that." Fiona begins fiddling with a gold chain around her neck, a set of somewhat antique looking keys hanging on the end of them. She twirls them around her finger idly. "So you probably wouldn't have. In fact… I guess I was just back at my old high school around that time."

Mikhail hmms, "No one I know very well and they're not telling us much, Evelyn, Sophie and Jill might of been the names but I'm not sure, oh and Star Rosen", even Mik can't help but think 'of course' after that.

Mike frowns at that last name. "I think Star has the mutant power to be captured. She should use the codename 'pauline o'peril'." He adds them all to the list of people connected with Xaviers who went missing, although that might be redundant. Including what he believes are the probable last names for the ones that were named. Evelyn, he's not sure of.
And when (not if) he's asked about the use of the connection, he's going to justify doing this as practical homework for his "Cryptology" course. Maintaining a secure commlink in a simulated adverse situation. Most of the data is hiding in the parts of the cell phone headers dedicated to recovering from bad packets. There is even a completely realistic conversation between a grandmother and her grandchild, complete with bad noise, as a cause for the bad packets.

Fiona rubs the back of her neck, "yeah… I hear they found someone to help look for them. Someone who really knows her stuff," she smiles just a little bit, "But who knows about any of that. Sounds like a total mess to me."

Mikhail doesn't pay any attention to what Mike is saying as he has found something else to focus his hearing on, there has been a slight change in a sound nearby, "Fiona, is there something you don't wish to share with us?", his fanged grin is gone now as he continues to focus his ears on the sound.
After a moment, he takes off, following whatever it was he heard.

"Oh yeah? How does this someone work her magic of finding? Or is it science? I'll accept either. You know anything about HOW they were taken?" Mike finishes the fortunately-unheard-he-hopes Grandma-Grandchild conversation and closes that line. If he's lucky, SHIELD won't lock him down too hard for this. And Mik's announcement causes Mike to pay attention to his "radar" field. He scans for anything within 15 yards, that is there yet isn't there? (Of course, if Fiona uses her keys, this will give him a disturbingly bright "flash" in that sense and make it blurry for a few minutes — but neither of them knows about that yet.)

Fiona leans her head against the back of the bench, sighing. Donna was right. Trying to make some light conversation about her abilities - it always leads to trouble. "Look, I shouldn't have said that much. I'm breaking The Rules already," she shrugs a little, "But, it's being handled directly through Xaviers' - so I've heard. And she is VERY talented.

"I won't say rules are made to be broken because they're not, usually. I don't doubt it's being addressed by some of the Xaviers' staff, but I'm pretty sure they didn't bring anyone else in on it, and they've been compromised before. Which is why my Mom won't let me go back there. But there's nothing you or I could do about any of this, really, unless it were to jump out and bite us. So I'll just watch and wait, I'm pretty good at that now."
The dark-haired guy pulls his hood up over his head, just before a chill wind blows around, one of the occasional visitors from the bay. He looks at Fiona and smiles. "So, do you have a pact with the Leanansidhe or somesuch? Or are you a free agent?"

Fiona shakes her head, "I'm… a nobody. Just a stupid girl. She grips her keys in her hand, then loops them back around her neck, pulling her hair up out of the way of the chain. "I did something really dumb a year or two ago. Someone, right now, is saving me from my mistake. Perhaps, once that's accomplished, then I'll be truly free again."

Mike just nods. "Do you need any help? I can offer an ear to listen, prayers on your behalf, and the occasional ride if you need one and it's not during classes. I'm still considered to be a student, even if I am taking advanced-placement courses."

Fiona shrugs, "Nah… it's… not that bad. Most days I get to do whatever I want, actually. But my schooling is exhausting. There's no way around it. Just a piece of advice," the sorceress giggles, "Don't go enacting random rituals you found in a book at some dusty old pawn shop, neh? You never know who it might get you mixed up with."

"That sounds like very good advice." Mike says, head leaning forward. His eyes seem to be even brighter blue inside the cover provided by the hoodie. "So, what was the lure? What did the random ritual claim it was going to do for you?"

Fiona shrugs, "Nothin. It was supposed to open a portal to a hell dimension. And it did," she rolls her eyes, "And then I got enthralled by a demon. There. Happy now? Yeah. It sucked. But, how was I supposed to know it would WORK or that that sorta thing was real? I was just playing around. You know, like, Dungeons and Dragons or something."

"Wait, you deliberately did a … Oh man. You are SO lucky." Mike shakes his head slightly, but still looks impressed.
Of course, it's interrupted again and he pulls the cellphone out of his pocket, scans it to see there's a message, and taps away at it again. He talks as he enters the text: "No. I am not your forklift, I have school tomorrow, and I can't get there today and get back by tomorrow. Use your head, figure it out."
He looks up at Fiona. "You have a person helping you deal with the demon thing, right? I can get you a reference to at least half the priests in town." Just not the Catholic ones.

"Priests? I dunno…" Fiona trails off, shaking her head. "That's what the training is for. To strengthen me so that I no longer need fear the demonic influence. Someday, to kill him and break the bond," her eyes flare up again. "Yeah. That's right," she murmurs. "I mean, I appreciate the concern, but I have a lot of faith in my teacher. She doesn't mess around, with me, or jobs that she takes on."

"They've been dealing with 'em for a pretty long time, so they might be able to help if you get into an emergency situation. But they'll probably not want you to learn more magic, and I get the feeling that you would be a lot better of if you did - that ritual thing probably wouldn't work for one person in twenty, unless you had power, or some kind of destiny." This coming from a robot in disguise… but you never know, he might be right.

"Mmm… maybe," Fiona smiles a little, "I'll take that as a compliment, I guess. Just, me and organized religion never got on so well anwyay. It's not that I don't respect them - I'd just rather not rely on a fickle god to help me out of a jam when I can rely on myself, or people I can see 'n touch. I've never met a god."

Mike smiles. "You might be surprised. But think about it. You've met a demon, and that argues for there being something concrete about their opposition. Also, like I've said, God doesn't usually waste time helping me out of jams when it's something I really CAN do myself, or someone else can do for me. And I've been in some pretty ugly jams." Mike shifts a bit in his seat at the memories. Being killed by a train, being killed by Gremlins, then turned into a monster, then killed by fire… and of course, being told "I'm very disappointed in you" by his MOTHER before the whole train thing. That woman could even make a Congressman aware of his guilt.

"Yeah, I suppose," Fiona smiles a little, "I'd still just prefer to do things my way, yanno? I mean, I've prayed to God before and alla that - it didn't really help. I suppose, that he, or she, it, or them, wanted me to do more. That's, if there's anything out there. But it's important to be respectful either way… That's about the only thing I know for sure…"

"We all prefer that. In theory I'm supposed to get over that, and I probably will someday. But here's a thought. You went into this ritual and came out of it without losing your freedom to choose, even though it DID work. Sponge-bob-demonpants may have a mortgage contract on your soul but it doesn't own you yet, and you're getting stronger, and you have help. So far that looks like just enough divine intercession to me."
Mike offers a hand to Fiona. "I learned your secret. Fair trade. This is my secret." He waits for her to touch the hand. Which, under the holographic illusion of flesh and blood, is a steel, chrome, and tire-tread mechanism in the shape of a hand.

Fiona reaches out and touches the hand - she moves as if to grasp it, and then quickly withdraws as if she were bitten by a snake. "It's cold. And steel. Y-you're not human?" she blinks. Mutant, she's okay with, magic users… all sorts of stuff! But a robot or alien? She's yet to run into one of those.

"Only by ancestry. My parents are human, I started out that way. I just screwed up bigtime. I can possess vehicles, it's my mutant power. It came on about three years ago." Mike shrugs, "So in 2009, I was being a stupid brat kid and trying to punish a vice-principle who had it in for me. I stole his truck, wasn't paying enough attention, got hit by a train at the only railroad crossing without a safety barrier in the state. Totaled. Even went through the car-compressor as junk. My Papa found me - not sure how. When he called me I came out of the truck as a sort of car-bot. It's all very stupid."

"Wow," whispers Fiona, looking somewhat stunned. "That's an incredible story," she does, indeed, look amazed by it. "I didn't know that that could even happen. I mean, I thought mutants were mostly… you know. Pyrokinetics, that kinda thing. I guess they can be anything."

Mike nods somberly, then a thought strikes him and he grins again. "So this is why I was able to stand for ten minutes without moving at all. Also, I really hate how Jay-Jay was able to move - I can't do that. I'm pretty good but I'm still made out of metal, still got a car-chassis design. Cars don't turn at the waist very well."

"Yeah but, just think about it - you can do all sorts of things that you can do that he can't, you know?" Fiona consoles him somewhat. "I mean… can you… turn into a car? Or something?"

"That would be cool, wouldn't it? No, I can still possess them, but this chassis is what it is. The reason I'm looking into folding graphenes is that I want to design a better chassis. Maybe I'll be able to design it with the ability to turn into a tron bike." Mike laughs at himself though. "Really? What I want to do is be able to EAT."

Fiona glances at Mike critically, "You can't eat? How do you, I dunno, live, then? You have to get energy from somewhere, right? Are you solar powered?" Obviously, he doesn't look like it…

"I'm actually mostly car. I have a motor, but it runs really quietly. I burn about a quarter-liter of gasoline a day if I don't move around a lot. And the rest of it, well, it's pretty much the mutant thing making it work when it shouldn't really. I mean, where does the Hulk get an extra two tons of body mass from? How does Iceman make so much ice out of nothing?"
Mike shrugs. He asked, once, but Professor Drake wouldn't explain it. Or maybe couldn't.

"Wow, really? Isn't that, like, you know, toxic indoors though? Carbon monoxide and dioxide and alla that?" Fiona nods at his explanation however, "Yeah, I suppose that's true… there're a lot of things that aren't exactly all that explainable. Though, I'm sure if someone were to investigate it enough they'd figure out exactly how it works… but I doubt being a test specimen is on anybody's to do list."

"I thought about that Carbon Monoxide and other gasses thing when I first changed. I don't give off more than a human does, normally. Also only sleep four hours or so a night." Mike doesn't go on - but then, being a test specimen actually IS on his to-do list, soon. He's got to upgrade his chassis, and without killing himself, and there's no 'lab animal' to test it on.

Fiona snickers, "Oh! Well then I guess it's just not a big deal at then," she shrugs, holding up her hands. How was she to know? "That's convenient. I guess it's actually a little cheaper than eating. Though, I don't think I'd trade eating for much of anything…"

Mike nods emphatic agreement.

… end of scene …

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