2009-12-31: Response To The Response


Addison_icon.jpg Dallas_icon.jpg

Summary: Addison has to talk to the first student… and hand out punishment.

Date: December 31, 2009

Response to the Response

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Danger Room

A product of Shi'ar technology, the room generates apparently solid, realistic imagery by manipulation high-resolution force fields and holograms. The walls and floor appear as a steel room until a program is turned on. Overhanging the room in the center is a control Room managing the room's mechanisms to oversee the exercise while ensuring the subject's safety.

Morning comes. Addison is waiting in the danger room, in full costume. There is no program playing, but he is simply hovering in the middle of the room, in lotus position. He sent a mental call out for Dallas to come down. It didn't sound angry, or pushed, or anything of the nature. It just sounded urgent.

Dallas arrives in his New Mutant uniform, since he wants to wear it at least once before he gets sent home. The telepathic summons enraged him at first, given that he's not thrilled with mind reading in general but he swallows his anger. Mostly. His shoulders have a certain stiff set to them as he enters the Danger Room, looking around curiously. Seeing Addison floating in mid-air, he stops and gives the psychic a long look before saying anything. His expression is neutral but nervous. After a moment he says, "Um, you needed me?"

"Yes, come in. Close the door behind you." Addison says with a quick nod, offering a smile as he lowers himself to the ground. His costume is not a standard school costume, he's got his own. "I hear something happened the other day. Why don't you tell me about it. Or, if you prefer, you can show me in your mind. I won't invade and will only watch with your permission." he states… very plainly.

Dallas gives Addison a flat look at that invitation but he steps away from the door, letting it slide shut behind him. He walks closer and says, "I don't really want to get into it. If they said that I swung on Topher while powered up, they're telling the truth." He doesn't offer any excuse or shy away from his culpability in the matter. But then again, maybe getting expelled is the lesser of two evils.

"Oh, I know you did that. I also know that July wrapped herself around you. What I want to know is why, all of a sudden, you would jump at Topher. You don't seem the type to attack for no reason." Addison says with a nod. He actually already knows what happened, he's just wanting to hear it. "I just want to know what actually happened, so we can figure out what to do. After all, we all have to work together to make things work in this school. When you have lots of teenagers with raging hormones under the same roof, explosions sometimes happen. So, we have to root out what started the actual explosion and go from there."

Dallas blinks as he realizes that Addison apparently already has the facts. His expression goes pensive. It isn't actually ratting people out if things are already out there. After a moment, he settles on a bald recitation of the facts, trying to divorce his anger from the facts. "We were talking and a disagreement happened. I said something stupid. July reacted. Topher did too. He, um, read my mind. I tried to hurt him." Which is all factually accurate, if leaving out a rather crucial bit. He pauses for a moment and says, "I really am sorry for provoking the fight." But apparently not for swinging on his fellow student.

"He read your mind without your permission?" Addison asks, to be sure. He wants to double check. "Words, in essence, should never start a fight. We have a big problem with people not realizing that they need to agree to disagree. But, from what I've seen, Dallas. You didn't start anything. You didn't use your powers first. You didn't attack first. July started the physical. Topher invaded your mind without permission. You simply responded. Yes, you WILL be disciplined, but… you don't have to worry. You're not getting kicked out." He says pondering for a moment. "What was the discussion, anyway?"

Dallas takes a deep breath and lets it out in a sigh of relief. His shoulders lose a little of that set 'go ahead and punch me' tension. He looks down, not trusting his expression for the moment and says, "Yea. He was looking for a way to end the argument. He found it." Dallas shrugs uncomfortably. "And it doesn't matter who through the first punch. Trying to hit him makes me a bully. He's half-crippled by his powers. And even if he weren't, I don't think he's a match for me. July, either. It was like …going to smack around a kid." The guilt comes through there, even through his anger with Topher. He looks up and says, "They think I'm too much of a jock. I think they are slackers. The idea of wanting to win squad competitions and stuff isn't important to them. It is to me."

"Oh, is that how you think about it? How much do you have in the way of mental defenses, Dallas? Because Topher has a lot of ability to get in there and dig. To take your memories and your thoughts that you want private and display them to the world. That's not half-crippled. You simply responded in the way you know how. I won't ask what he uncovered, because that's not my business. And July can take nearly anything you can throw at her. Her body will flex around it. You don't need to be worried about injuring her without using OTHER methods. Sure, you may be able to do some damage, but the damage Topher could do outweighs lots." Addison says with a firm nod. "It doesn't take much to turn a telepath into a world-class bully. Dallas… do you remember the interworld invasion last year?" He asks. Some people weren't involved in it, but most news stations knew about it. An alternate universe of our own people invading and trying to take over.

Dallas considers Addison's words, looking back up to face him. The boy's expression is thoughtful as the psychic explains things and finally he seems to be more receptive and open to what's being said though his jaw clenches a little at the fleeting reference to what Topher took from his mind but he just nods and says, "Yea, I saw it on the news."

"That all happened because, when people were weak, a very strong telepath reached out and grabbed the minds of all of the other strong telepaths. Myself included. And used us to enslave the entire world." Addison says, looking up. He displays an image of our own manhattan with six figures floating around it. Two in gray, two in white, two in black. He points to one of the gray ones. "That's me." This is all done using the imagery of the Danger Room, mind you. "I know what it's like to be enslaved by a telepath stronger than I. I will not allow telepaths to run around with no ethics and no morals. What he did was worse than your response to him. And it will be dealt with as such."

Dallas gives Addison another look, this time faintly suspicious and says, "Ah. You're, um, feeling better now?" Which is about as polite a way as possible for a middling-bright teenager to ask 'You're not still a evil mind-controlling alien bent on world domination, right?' His expression goes worries for a different reason and says, "I know I don't get a say in what goes on when it comes to punishments and stuff, but maybe we can just let this one … fade away? I'm going to ask to switch squads so I don't have to be around July and I can avoid Topher."

"Things will fade away after I've discussed with everyone. And no, Shadow King was in my mind. He's not there anymore. And my shields are being rebuilt. You don't have to worry about me." Addison says with a chuckle. "As far as squads go, I really don't believe Scott will let that happen. After all, our squads are too full already. And, you can't avoid them. They're going to be here at school. But… as far as punishments go, you get a week of cleaning the cafeteria. After Breakfast. After Lunch. After Dinner." Addison says with a firm nod. "Sometimes, we have to work with people we don't like. So, squad changing won't help you learn to deal with that."

Dallas nods. "I wasn't talking about my punishment. That's …fair." Better than getting kicked out, anyway. He pauses a moment and then finally says, "Listen, here's the thing. If you punish them, they are going to talk about why they are being punished. And I don't want them starting any, um, rumors, because they're mad I got them in trouble. I'm totally okay with being seen as the bad guy here."

"And if they talk about why they're being punished, I'll hear about it. And if I hear about it, they get even more punishment and potentially… well… let's just say, I've had to do things I'm not proud of in the past, for the security of this mansion. Vladimir had to have events that transpired here removed from his memory before we let him out. He could do too much damage." Addison says plainly. He won't deny what he's done. He's just not proud of it. "If it's that big of a deal… whatever he found out, why don't you talk to someone? I'm good for talking. So is Dr. Parker-Mayfair. He IS our resident psychiatrist/psychologist. He talks to a lot of our students."

Dallas gives Addison a horrified look at the idea of mind-wiping somebody, that new-found aversion to telepathy making his stomach churn nervously. He frowns and folds his arms across his chest in a subconsciously defensive gesture, unaware that his shadow flickers around him for a second, there and gone too fast for him to register. He says, quietly, "It isn't that big a deal. Not to everybody else around here, apparently. But it's a big deal to me." He pauses and then says, almost as though thinking it through aloud, "It's too much. The whole mutant thing … my family is great but it's always going to be there, you know? And the thing with my grandfather. It's like a giant wall in our lives, you know? It marks the border of when I was normal and everything was good and when I changed and things got …weird." He says, "I can't risk being somebody even /more/ different than them. I have to be …good. Other than being a mutant. Or I'm going to lose my family. I mean, it isn't going to be like some crazy episode of a TV show where they throw me out or anything but it will be the same thing. It's just too much. Too far."

Addison nods, considering things. "I can understand. Fortunately, my mother's known for a very long time…everything about me. She… was also…" He points to the image still hovering in the room. He points to a figure in black. "We were forced to share minds totally by Farouk. I had no secrets from her. At all. We didn't even know she was my mother until he did all of that." He pauses for a moment. "Well, I will forbid them from discussing it. But what if they already have, Dallas? We can't put that cat back in the bag." He says plainly. "I'll do what I can on my end, but my reach is limited, despite being one of the most powerful minds on the planet."

Dallas gives Addison a surprised and half-amused look, even through his existential angst and worry. "You too? It /has/ to be related to the X-gene." He doesn't specify what he means but it's the elephant in the room. He considers what the X-Forcer says and turns away, clasping his hands behind his back as he looks up to the empty (as far as he knows) control booth. "If it's out there, it's out there. And that's pretty much it." He looks back and his expression goes as hard and cold as a relatively sheltered teenager is capable of being, "But I'm not /ever/ going to forget what he did." No threats attached to that, which in a way, is probably a worse sign.

"I don't expect you to. I WON'T do things like what I did to Vlad without VERY good reason. It's wrong. But I had to protect more lives than you realize." Addison says with a nod. "And yes. If it's what I'm thinking, we have that in common. I blame it on the charming Impulse." He says with a half laugh. "Anyway, you know what you have to do. I need to talk to them. So, get on your way to class or whatever. Cafeteria cleaning starts tomorrow."

Dallas nods and says, "Right." A pause, "Thanks for not sending me home." He heads for the exit, expression still fairly grim but at least still in the school. Everything else … that's up in the air. Dallas swallows at that thought and then straightens his shoulders and tries to look like he's not worried. Never let the other team see you worried. And right now the whole world is the other team.

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