2011-04-05: Questions And Answers


ErikLensherr_icon.jpg SophieD_icon.jpg

Summary: Magneto comes to Xaviers for some research, and encounters Sophie in the Library; a question and answer session of a most serious nature ensues.

Log Title: Questions and Answers

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Library

Like most Libraries, this one has that respected quite hush about it. A desk to check out books sits next to the door, next to the desk sits a statue of an Orangutan with a sign saying Return your books or else. Row upon row of books goes up and down the room. In the middle of all the shelves are two computers for looking up titles and a group of tables for students to sit and study. Along the back wall are windows with padded window seating for students to read in quiet.


It's late evening in the Xavier Mansion, and the library is all but empty. Indeed, only a single person is present, though all the lights are turned off. Sophie DeCosta stands in the middle of the library, easily visible from the door and illuminated by shafts of moonlight from the open windows. She isn't reading, though there is an open book on a stand beside her. The music from the flute she is playing can be heard some ways down the hall; as she plays she rolls her shoulders and bobs her head up and down, putting her whole body into the alluring, almost mournful piece that she plays.

Magneto has arrived at the mansion in search of information. He comes in through the front door, his outfit morphing from armor to business suit as he walks. It's late, after all, and encountering a student while in full kit would probably be more interesting — for both of them — than he particularly wants to deal with at the moment.

He heads for the library, because it will have the nearest open computer terminal. He doesn't even notice that the flute music is coming from the same room until he enters and sees Sophie there. Dead stop. "Miss DeCosta."

The music abruptly ends with a single shrill note as Sophie jumps, and nearly drops the flute. She stands bolt upright for a moment, before one hand alights over her heart. "Professor Lensherr," she breathes. "I am sorry, you startle me; I am learning a new piece and I was concentrating very hard." She brushes her fingers through her hair and picks a wrinkle out of her blouse, and attempts to appear unruffled — she mostly succeeds. "Ordinarily it is not so easy to catch me unawares. It is embaressing that I was not more alert."

"No. The fault is mine. I did not realize that someone was using this room." Magneto sweeps a hand out in a gesture of negation, not that Sophie can see it. "Excuse my interruption. I will find another computer." He turns back toward the door.

Sophie shakes her head, "No; no, it is quite alright." She bobs her head, and sets her flute down on the stand beside her, over top of what seems to be sheet music. "I was getting close to the point in the song that I am having trouble memorizing anyway; so I would have had to stop and read the sheet music, si?" She moves to a nearby table, and pats at the surface until she finds her cane; the same one that Magneto made for her in the woods not so long ago. A flick of her wrist flicks it out to full length, and she sweeps the end across the floor around her. "I would appreciate the company, actually. What brings you to the mansion, if I may be so bold?"

Magneto pauses in the doorway and looks back to Sophie, frowning. He considers for a moment, then turns around again and heads for the computer stations. "Kick and MGH." He waves and a task chair rolls out for him. Another wave and the station wakes up. "I need information on them. They are causing problems in the city."

An eyebrow perks at the reason given, and Sophie turns to follow Magneto's movement, albeit with her ears rather than her eyes. "Of this I am aware," she observes. "I was present in Mutant Town when there was a battle outside the Genosha Embassy, between users of Kick and MGH… and mutants caught in the middle. I did not enjoy the experience." Her cane taps as she moves to stand nearer to the computers. "I haven't really left the mansion since; though that is more for lack of a reason to go into town."

"That is probably a wise decision, Miss DeCosta. From what I have heard, the people involved with these drugs are determined to have people use them, whether those people wish that experience or not. And in the case of MGH, the victimization goes in multiple directions, given the stuff is synthesized using the blood of living mutants." Magneto sits in the chair and starts to type. "I should hate to hear that you had been victimized in this fashion."

Sophie sighs heavily, and shakes her head. "I was… assaulted, during the riot," she murmurs. "At least two men dragged me into a building, and took a sample of my blood. I…" She pauses, and blushes fiercely. "I did not fight back. I cannot do enough with my powers yet to have done more than burned them, and I was afraid of their retribution. Thankfully they did not harm me otherwise." The blind girl pauses, and clasps both her hands around the top of her cane. "I suppose you can expect to see healing powers and neutron radiation bursts in MGH users in the near future."

Magneto pauses and twists in his chair to regard Sophie closely. "Two men, you say? Can you tell me anything about them that might identify them? The way they spoke, phrases they used, the type and texture of their clothing, their smell? Did they have powers themselves? And please describe, in detail, exactly how they took that sample." His tone is level, calm, and it covers a well of seething rage.

Sophie bows her head, and pauses for a long moment, searching her memory before she answers. "I was huddling in a doorway," seh murmurs. "I could hear gunfire, si? It was echoing all around, and I could not tell where it came from; and I was afraid of being shot. Eventually someone opened the door and pulled me inside, which I thought a blessing at first. They took me through…" she trails off, and shrugs her shoulders. "To this day I do not know where they took me, it was too fast for me to learn the way, and I think they took me a different route when they were finished. I do not think they were mutants; when I asked questions one of them said 'shut up, mutant'. If they were using MGH then they did not get any powers that were obvious to me. They forced me to sit in a chair, and one kept his hands on my shoulders while the other drew blood from my neck with a needle. They were both very strong; and one of them commented that I was fortunate to be blind, otherwise they would have had to leave me in the East River to 'hopefully be found alive'."

Magneto frowns. "They were very strong. Strong like humans?" Because mutants have several versions of strong. "Were you in Mutant Town by yourself, Miss DeCosta? Did you arrive with friends? Do you know if anyone else was attacked as you were?" He drums his fingers on the desk beside the keyboard. "Also, precisely where on your neck did they put the needle in?"

Sophie nods her head slowly. "I traveled in to town with a couple of other students, to share the cab fare," she replies. "But I was alone at the time. I was looking for a music store, hoping to find sheet music in braille; it is hard to come by." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "If I had to judge, I would say they were strong on the ordinary human scale; but then, I am no great athlete myself, so I am sure it is easy to appear physically powerful to me, si? I am sorry that is not much help." She lifts her hand, and presses a fingertip to a spot on the left side of her neck. "They pierced me with the needle here, Professor Lensherr. I chose not to struggle; I did not want the needle to tear a larger wound than I was going to have anyway."

Magneto leans back in his chair and steeples his fingers. "Do you know how much they took? And did they bandage the hole? Did you bleed a lot after? When they were finished, did they release you, or leave you where they took the sample?" He is assembling facts. Sophie has some, even if she isn't aware of it yet.

Sophie collects her memories, and then shakes her head. "I do not know how much they took. I bled a little bit afterward, but not much; they did not bandage it. It was some time before I realized I had blood on my fingertips; I may have left some on the upholstery of Headmistress Frost's car." She pauses, and taps the top of her cane lightly. "One of them dragged me back out of the room where they took my blood, and left me in the middle of some hallway somewhere in the building. I think it was an apartment building, with stores on the ground level. I used my phone to contact Xavier's, and the Headmistress came and got me, after I used my power to get through a locked door and into a storefront."

Magneto drums his fingers again. Venous blood, he's thinking. If they'd opened the artery, there would have been more bleeding. He should speak to Frost. "Miss Frost picked you up from that storefront, then?" Frost will know the address, if so. "And you were aware of only two men. You did not notice any others."

Sophie perks an eyebrow, and tilts her head. "Actually, I was certain that the one who opened the door and pulled me into the building in the first place was a woman," she replies. "She said 'Come with me, I'll get you out of here'. She seemed rather concerned. But later there was only the two men; she had disappeared." She pauses, and her brow furroughs as she goes over events in her mind. "I had not thought about it before; in all honesty I had been trying very hard not to think about it. But I suppose she might have been on MGH, and transformed? I do not recall being handed off from one person to another."

Magneto lifts his head. He knows of a woman who transforms. However, he knows of others who might transform to a woman. "You're saying that this woman had her hands on you the entire time, and that at some point, she became a man? Did you feel this change, or were you only aware of it after the fact?" His fingers tap. "Did she take you into the room with the man? Do you think the same person took you in as took you out again?"

Sophie taps her cane about in front of her and beside her, until she finds a chair. The blind girl pats it carefully, and pulls it away from the table so she can sit in it. "I… I am not sure," she murmurs. "I am certain that her hand did not leave my arm, and that by the time I was in the room there were only the two men. But I could easily have been mistaken — or fooled, I suppose. The woman might have been a third person who remained quiet after handing me over to the two men, if she hadn't moved I would not have heard her." She pauses, and blushes heatedly. "I am sorry, I know that is not a very helpful answer."

"It leaves open a number of possibilities which I was not already considering, and which may yet bear fruit. Don't worry, Miss DeCosta. You are being more helpful than you know." Magneto drums his fingers. "Please feel free to contact me if you should remember anything else. In the meantime, how are you feeling now? Do you think you have recovered well, or are you having difficulties because of this?"

"Physically, I am fine. The nurse ran some blood tests; it seems they used a clean needle. I am thankful for that; it could have been one they had reused many times." Her brow sets, and her lips purse into a thin line. "However, twice now have I been the victim and needed to be rescued. I am determined that there shall not be a third time. I am not a pawn to be advanced or sacrificed at another's whim." The blind girl draws in a deep breath. "I have asked Headmistress Frost to teach me to fence, and how to safeguard my mind from attack. Senora Rashmi suggested that there are several teachers who might also help me; and she promised me that Professor Logan would make a formidable martial artist of me if I sought his training, blind or not."

Magneto's mouth quirks into an expression that might almost be a smile. "Indeed. Professor Logan is more than capable of doing that. He is even gentle. At first." To say more would make Magneto choke, though whether on frustration or laughter is a moot point. "And I do think that you should learn defensive strategies. Thus far, the incidents you have been in have been relatively mild. No one has come close to seriously harming you, and I do think that state of affairs should continue. However, thus far you have luck to thank. Luck, however, is very fickle, and tends to repay thanks with extreme… whimsy."

Sophie nods her head solemnly. "God helps those who help themselves," she comments. "Senora Rashmi believes that this is because He need not carry them so far, si?" Her lips quirk upwards into a smile. "it is sensible logic, I think. And you are correct, Professor Lensherr; thus far I have been lucky, and I have been attacked on two occasions by people who saw a blind girl and an easy target. And they were right, I *am* an easy target… and next time I may not be nearly so lucky. I have no choice but to be prepared." She tilts her head, and taps her lips in thought. "Do you teach any classes that focus on defending one's self, or using one's powers, Professor Lensherr?"

Magneto raises an eyebrow. "I have done so in the past. However, you are not at the level where you would benefit from my teaching. You will need confidence, first. I admit, a large portion of my style of education consists of pitching the student into the metaphorical deep end of the pool, and then critiquing the strokes they use to stay afloat." He waves a hand in dismissal, in spite of the fact that Sophie will not be able to see the gesture. "At the very least, you need to learn to be willing to use your abilities. I do think you still have hesitation."

Sophie bobs her head once as she listens. She collapses her cane and rests it on the seat beside her, before her hands clasp in her lap once more. "I do not disagree with you," she murmurs. "I am still not entirely… comfortable with the fact that I can burn people and set fire to things. But at least I can control when it goes off." She shakes her head slowly. "Still… I would be interested to know; what did you observe about me before I made that admission, that brings you to say I hesitate? I would appreciate the insight."

Magneto considers. "When you were attacked on the road, you were surprised, and upset. This sort of reaction is usually linked to hesitation. You confirmed this when you said that you went with the attackers in Mutant Town because you did not want to hurt them. Sophie DeCosta, you had no idea what they wanted. They could have killed you, and you gave them that opportunity on a silver platter. Lucky? Child, you have had hosts of angels riding on your shoulders."

Sophie shakes her head quickly. "No, Professor Lensherr; perhaps my explanation was poor. I did not use my power to defend myself because I am not strong enough to cause more than a burn to a person, and I can only fire a handful of blasts before my endurance is spent. I am sure I will grow past such limitations with practice… but so far I have not. But at the time they did not seem to want to kill me, and I did not want to give them a reason to." She brushes her fingertips through her hair, and bows her head as she blushes. "If I had thought I was about to be killed, I would have fought to my last breath; I would have drained myself dry to hit them with my neutron blasts, and when that ability was spent I would have employed my cane and fists and nails and teeth. I prefer to be quiet and gentle, si; but I have no desire to be a slaughtered lamb."

Magneto snorts. "Miss DeCosta. The easiest way to get you into a position where it is easy to kill you is to make you believe you are not going to be killed. I trust you will remember this. I do not want to see you in the Medbay. Or the morgue." There is an edge of honest anger in his voice.

The blind girl's face drains of color. She is silent, and slowly sits up straighter. Sophie licks her lips, and nods her head slowly. "You are right," she murmurs. "And it would seem that I have been gravely foolish." She pauses, and picks at the cuffs of her blouse. "I see I must change a great deal of my thinking. Turning the other cheek is no armor."

Magneto snorts again, but less vehemently. "I am sure that there is no dearth of persons here who will argue against that, despite its truth. But yes; against a man who wishes you harm, all of your peaceful intentions are as gossamer. The ability — and the willingness — to defend yourself is critical, not only to your safety, but to the safety of those you are around. How can they properly defend themselves, if they must look out for you, too?"

Sophie nods, and picks her cane up to toy with it. "It becomes more difficult," she replies. "It is a strange situation in which I find myself; up until two months ago my greatest worry was finding my way around the convent without falling down the stairs. Now I must contend with people who wield stolen super powers, firearms, and malicious intentions." Her carries no bitterness; she is merely making an observation, as her eyebrows rise. "Still, I am sure it is as I said the other night while you were flying me back to the Mansion. What I want is irrelevant; reality is upon me, and I must deal with it. My approach is incorrect. I will change it."

Magneto nods. "In many ways, Miss DeCosta, coming to grips with the reality of being a mutant is the hardest part of being a mutant. The children here are used to being human — to being included. They do not understand what it truly means to be an outsider in society, to be considered second class, bad, disposable… merely because they exist. They are used to having privilege."
He pauses for a moment. "They think they still have privilege. This has been a fatal mistake for far too many."

Sophie perks an eyebrow. "Professor Lensherr, I suggest that we do still have privilege," she replies. "It is simply that our privileges have changed. Instead of the usual privileges of social security, legal protection and societal acceptance… we have abilities permitting us to fly, control the elements, regenerate wounds, reshape any metal, or even bend space and time." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "It is a great shame that so many cannot accept us… but truly, I feel no anger towards them. Only sorrow, and pity."

Magneto leans forward. "Sorrow and pity are why you hesitate. Anger is why they do not."

Sophie settles back in her chair, and bows her head as she falls silent once more. "I…" She pauses once more. "You have given me a great deal to think about," she murmurs. "If I may be excused, Professor Lensherr? I am sure you wish to get on with your research; I will contact you immediately if I think of anything other detail that might be useful."

Magneto bows his head. "Of course, Miss DeCosta. I apologize for keeping you up." He rises. "Don't forget your flute and your sheet music."

Sophie stands up, and flicks her cane out to full length. "I will not forget them." She smiles pleasantly. "I am glad you came, Professor Lensherr. Speaking to you is always insightful, and I am grateful for the time you spend with me." She moves to collect her flute and music, going a bit wide at first but realizing her mistake soon enough. "You have challenged my perceptions of a great many things, and I am sure it will be valuable to me."

~ Fin ~

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