2010-03-18: Shhhh This Is A Library


Mike_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo discovers a clue to his mutant powers, while Mike and Rashmi discover he's a homophobe.

Date: March 18, 2010


Rating: PG

Xavier's 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.

Shh. It's a library, you're supposed to be quiet and let people study. There's no noise, but Theodore Fegenbush is having trouble concentrating in here. He's not sure why. There's the quiet tapping of keyboards as a few students work on their homework. Theo walks down the large corridors of books, rather impressed. He stops as he spots a book on the history of trains. A subject which is of interest to him. He wasn't really looking for it, but here it is. He pulls it from the shelf, a moderately thick volume. It isn't a book written for a five year old, that's for certain.

Walled in by books on all sides, accompanied by the occasional skrtch-skrtch-skrtch of a pen, the very top of a copper-haired head can be seen working feverishly. What dastardly schemes could this quiet girl be hatching? At the moment…. history. And econ. And a paper on Mutant Ethics, none of which are due for the next few days. But the book-fort stands, a bastion of silence in the… slightly less silent study area of the Library.

Theo casually yet with great care opens the cover as he continues down the corridor. He scans the table of contents and frowns, not seeming satisfied with something that he sees. He comes out of the book corridor, slowly placing one foot in front of the other as he approaches the table where Rashmi is. He turns a page, and walks toward one table. He changes his mind, and seems to drift to the next. Finally, the one table that doesn't seem to have a computer at it, he stops at. Rashmi's. He examines the book fort carefully.
He sees an opposite chair, and he pulls the chair out from the table, making no more noise than one would expect a chair drawing across carpet to make. He sits down, and a slight creak comes from the chair as his weight settles, but he doesn't disrupt Rashmi, rather he just continues to look at his book. His eye, however, isn't focused on his book, rather on the spines of the books that Rashmi has stacked around her.

The sound is enough, apparently, as the head pops up, dark eyes peering over the stack to the student at the opposite end of the table. "Hello! Um… Did you need one of these? Because I think I've already got enough for my essays…" Trailing off, the redhead's brow furrows, looking more closely across the table. "Oh… are you new? I don't think I've seen you around before."

Theo shakes his head. "No, sorry, I was just looking for a quiet place to sit. I didn't mean to bother you. Yeah, I just got here two days ago. Y'all have a big library here," he says, keeping his voice lowered. My name is Theodore," he says. "You look like you must have a lot of work to get done. Did you put it off too long? Or are you just a go-getter type?" He indicates with his own brow toward the stacks of books around her.

Rashmi chuckles. "Oh, it's no bother, really. Just, I wanted to have all this done so I could have my reading time to myself this weekend, you know?" Looking around at the stacks, her smile widens. "Yeah… It's probably the best library I've ever been able to poke through, personally. …Oh! I'm Rashmi," she says, introducing herself with a bob of the head. "How're you liking the school so far?"

Music! Mike's radio is on rather excessively loud, a random playlist switching between Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants. It would be sufficient to blow out eardrums if Mike actually HAD eardrums.
He walks down the stacks to where Rashmi is known to create Fortresses of Knowledge, usually with the books he needs, and all the way this music is going.
Except that it's not. He's listening internally. The radio speakers are turned off. No sound from the radio reaches the outside world.
He walks up to Rashmi's table, noticing the new kid, and touches his collar in the ostentatious gesture of "Activate Prosthetic Voicebox" … because the completely human looking kid is wearing a collar that obviously is there to provide him a voice, and it's obvious when his voice comes out, pitched quietly for the library, "Hey Rashmi, have you seen the Treasury of Obscure Badinage?" He nods to the new guy, "Hello, new guy. My name is Mike."

"It's a lot to take in. The guy that guards this place is a -jerk." It appears that he stumbled at the last word, clearly his instinct was to use a far more vulgar term. "And the-" he stops as Mike walks in. He stares at Mike with horror as he walks up. "Hi, I'm Theodore. You DO realize this is a library, right?" He says it with a raised voice, as if he had to talk over something. Of course, Theo's voice is the one now that is drawing attention, and nearby students glance up momentarily at the spike in room volume before going back to their studying.

Rashmi blinks sharply, looking from Mike to Theo and back. "Wh…? Treasury of Ob… oh, yeah…" One stack is steadied from the top, a thick book worked out from the middle of the pile. "Here… um… Did I just sort of go selectively deaf or something…?"

Mike takes the book from Rashmi while looking at Theo as if he were an interesting species of new annelid. Or perhaps a new student who doesn't have power control?
"New guy, you don't need to shout," he says in that quiet outside voice. The inside voice, he switches the radio around rapidly for a moment then stops on a New York Classic Rock station, 'TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME, CAN YOU FEEL ME NEAR YOU, TOMMY CAN YOU SEE ME, CAN YOU FEEL ME TOUCH YOU, OH WOAH TOMMY! TOMMY!' … A very faint tinge of a smirk shows on Mike's face, and it's clearly a deliberate thing.

"Really?" Theo answers. "Because I can hardly hear myself over your music!" He looks at Rashmi. "How can you not hear that?" he asks. "Everybody within a five mile radius can hear that! Look!" He indicates to the people who are, once again, looking up from their books, and now giving Theo a rather peculiar look. Of course, it's also clear that Theo thinks they are looking at Mike.

Rashmi coughs quietly, shooting Mike a very visibly patient and tolerant look. "Because it's Mike's radio… the one he plays to himself. And, um… everyone's staring at *you,* actually, but could Mike please not do his best James impression long enough for the new guy to tell us his name?"

"Killjoy," Mike says, winking to Rashmi, after turning off the radio … without touching anything of course because it's internal. With the radio off, it's possible to hear that his voice has a distinct electronic edge to it. He offers a hand to Theo to shake, "No hard feelings, Theodore? So you can hear, what, machines? Radio? Or anythinng elsze?"
If Theo takes the hand, he'll discover that though it looks perfectly normal, it seems to be made out of tire rubber and steel.

The new teen looks thoroughly confused. Apparently Mike's figured out his powers quicker than he has. "I…" he isn't sure what he's supposed to say. "You mean you really didn't hear his radio," he says to Rashmi. "I mean, it was loud enough I could barely hear myself think," his attention goes back to Mike, rather suspiciously. "This is some prank you play on the new kids, huh?" he asks. He really doesn't seem to think that this is legit. "Everybody was in on it?" He doesn't look at Mike's hand, he's still preoccupied with the whole radio stunt.

Rashmi blinks, raising an eyebrow at Mike. "…No, Theodore," she says gently, "I really *didn't* hear it. Because… well… oh I hate explaining these things, just… Mike, turn off the hologram before he gets the idea that *everyone* is as bad as you are, mh?" While, yes, she does look amused, it's difficult not to be in this sort of situation, but the look she gives the robotic mutant, very definitely a gentle warning."

Mike gives Rashmi a mock-affronted look, which vanishes abruptly when the image-inducer turns off with a startrequesque sparkle of light. (Yes, that's a word, it's in the Treasury of Obscure Badinage, page 424, top of the center column.)
Now more resembling a car or a motorcycle that came to life, except he's still wearing the flame-shorts and the hawaiian shirt, Mike's casual and open facial expression is gone, leaving only a somewhat fixed, vaguely-smiling facemask.
"OK, thiz is the real mee."


This guy is a machine! And that's not a metaphor!
He looks like someone took a regular, if somewhat buffed-out, teenager, and cast a mold of him, then used that to make a robot. His body is streamlined and sleek, painted a shining metalflake-white, and has lines of articulation in places (that don't follow the "banded" scheme of Collossus.) Along some of those lines, he's got bright cherry-red pinstriping.
The palms of his hands are apparently a hard rubber tread. His feet aren't feet with toes; they're boots, articulated, with the same hard rubber tread on the bottom. It occurs in a few other places inside joints.
His face is somewhat stylized, large eyes glowing faintly blue like headlights in the distance (8K HID headlights to be specific). He has a slight smile, pleasant and thoughtful, but his face doesn't move much, except for an occasional blink.
He's wearing a vivid red hawaiian shirt that has an equally vivid blue/green/yellow abstract pattern on the front. Short sleeves, buttoned all the way up.
He's also wearing some kind of black and red knee-length leather shorts with a pattern of red flames in the same style as a hot-rod … garish yet blatant.

Theodore's eyes seem a little wide with amazement. "Wow, that's really impressive," he says. "That's really you? You look like some super warrior robot or somethin'," he describes, actually finding Mike's power to be one of the most interesting to him yet. "But I don't get still why I could hear your radio and nobody else…could…" he trails off. "Maybe that's my power?" he realizes. "I can hear radio waves." He ponders it for a moment.
"Man, that sucks," he finally concludes. "I was hoping I'd be able to shoot lasers or fly or something. What a lame power." He takes a deep breath, and lets it out in a labored sigh.

Rashmi chuckles quietly. "Maybe it is, maybe not… Probably if you don't know already, you'll figure it out before terribly long. And honestly? That's not all that bad, even if it is. I mean, it doesn't hurt you or anything, right? So, that's a bonus right there…" Pulling out a chair for Mike, she restacks the books to cut the front 'wall' down to a third of its size, the better to hold a conversation. "Besides, just about any power has a good use…. Some just take more creativity than others."

Mike laughs a bit inside (and at this distance it might be audible to Theo) at the Super Warrior Robot part.
"I'm a pazifiszt, acxually, I don't fight very well at aaal. And no weaponzs. Besidez it takesz a lot of work to repair me if I get brokenn."
This latter bit said in a bit of a pragmatic tone as he accepts the chair and sits down.
"I don't think it'z quite juszt that. Can you sztill hearr the station I tuned in before? Maybe you hear electronixz, instead."

Theo shrugs. "Yeah," he says, "Well, what's your power?" he asks Rashmi. He closes the book on trains that he's been holding, and puts it down on the table next to him as Mike sits down. "I guess I don't hear it," he says, seeing Mike's point.
Theodore scratches his chin, not sure what to make of the whole situation. "I guess maybe I can hear electronics, I dunno."

Rashmi opens her mouth to explain, frowns, closing it again with a sigh. "…Why do I even *try,*" she asks of Mike, settling back in her chair and turning her eyes upward. In the space of a moment, a half-dozen spheres of faintly-glowing blue light fade into view, revolving in a lazy orbit around her head. "….Basically, that," she says, gesturing upwards. "Addison says they're made of telekinetic force or something… I don't really understand it. But…" And the orbit breaks, the spheres drifting across the table like beads on a string, to settle into place around Theo's head. "They're solid, if you want to check."

Mike tweaks his image inducer back to "on" so he can talk with regular facial expressions, and leans to rest his chin on a fist, the fist supported by the elbow, the elbow on the table, the table on the floor, the floor on the joist, the joist on the foundation, the foundation on the bedrock, the bedrock on the foam of rock that floats on the thin molten skin of the Moho, and … Mike blinks. "I think I just did my Geology assignment," he says to Rashmi.

Rashmi's orb comes near him, and the freshman gives a rather apprehensive stare at the flying beads. "Well, that's pretty." He reaches out and tries to take one out of the air, starting to smile a little as he does. Theo stifles his laugh as Mike speaks. He's not exactly sure why he got the joke, it seems a little obscure, and he actually wasn't looking at Mike's position, but somehow it translated.

"Yes, but did you write it *down?*" Clearly by now quite familiar with Mike's homework-completing mental wanderings, she watches as the sphere slips past Theo's hand, tilting her head slightly. The orbit starts to change, the glowing spheres dipping up and down at set intervals, so that from her vantage point they resemble a thick coin halfway toward settling out of a spin, and absently pushes a blank sheet of paper over to Mike. "May want to do it now, while it's still on your mind."

Mike smiles innocently at Rashmi. SUCH innocence. His mother would SLAP him for that. Besides, if he's not careful he'll have to set the image inducer to "blonde" and then he'd look way too much like Rashmi's in-the-doghouse boyfriend.
So he stops the innocent and takes a pen out of his belt pouch and begins writing onto the paper.
"I don't forget it," he says in a mock-petulant voice, "I keep it until I have time to put it in the output queue and then it all comes out at once. Or if I forget to mark it "preserve" and it gets garbage collected when I back up."

Theo continues to watch the orbs, and asks Mike while his eyes are still distracted. "So your brain works just like a computer then? You have a perfect memory and you can just clean off information you don't need? Wish I could do that." He leans back in the chair on to two legs, and rests his arm on the table to steady himself.

Rashmi snorts. "Yeah, and he's got a perfectly airtight excuse for not doing his homework. 'Parity error' my foot," she murmurs, smirking at the robotic teen and nudging his shoulder. Don't worry, Theo. Like as not there'll be something you can do that maybe one or two other people can, and even then it'll rarely be exactly the same way. That's kind of one of the neat things about this place, once you're done getting weirded out every other minute…"

Mike's dump of the homework to paper is quick and doesn't stop, exactly like a printer but going through fingers instead. It takes practically no time to finish but of course it took the usual time to do the actual work, which was above and beyond his grasp of how rocks work.
"Yeah I don't have parity errors, I use a six bit huffman code," Mike says absently as he glances through the Treasury. "There used to be a Compendium Of Mellifluous Phraseology here too, but I haven't ever seen it. I think it's maybe a fake book that someone made up. Theo, I don't have perfect memory because I'm limited to how well I perceive events in order to index them, just like when I was human. Same as you, most likely. Hey, Rashmi, should we introduce this guy to the Doom Brothers?"

"Doom Brothers?" Theo echoes. "That sounds ominous," he says with a little uncertainty, though he tries to hide it. "Is one of them that Cam guy that can explode heads?" he asks. "I gotta say, that's gotta be the worst power in the world." He continues to balance on the back of his chair, "And yeah, I gotta say that there's been a lot of weird moments since I got here, and I'm willing to bet I'll be having more of them before I'm done."

Rashmi blinks, turning to peer at Mike, a deeply puzzled look on her face. "…Why does everyone keep saying that? I mean if he could, why would he have been so freaked when he saw Dr. Doom? …Oh. Right. Speaking of. The Doom Twins. That's… not really their name — Vincent and Pryce — Just that they're apparently like nobility back in Dr. Doom's country, and they're really huge tech inventors. It's like the first time I met them? They were trying to work out how to invade Atlantis, just for fun. … …I hope."

Mike admits, "I kinda like Vincent. Pryce scares me a little … but there's something awfully Corsican about those brothers, really. Twins are close but they have almost the same body language."
He steals a few more sheets of paper from Rashmi — "I'll pay you back at the dorms promise." — and stares off into the distance for a moment to, apparently, organize the essay. On nature, if the phrase he was looking up in the Treasury is any indication.

The new kid sets the feet of his chair back down on the floor, and stands up. "Well, I guess I can hear what their stuff says later. I'll be like Dr. Doolittle for household appliances, I'll be a great TV repairman." It's getting kind of late. I think I'm gonna head to bed. It was good to meet you two," he adds, offering a hand to Mike that earlier had been rejected. "I just hope people aren't talkin' about me tomorrow as "that guy who yells in the library". Thanks for that." He's not sure whether to be upset about that prank or not.

Rashmi snorts. "Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much. I mean, it could be worse, you could have people call your powers 'psychic bowling balls,' or have a nickname like Robbermaid. "….Or you could have had James be the first person you meet." Clearly, if the past is any experience, a fate she'd not wish on anyone. "It was good to meet you too, Theo. Sleep well, okay?"

Mike nods enthusiastically. "Yeah, James is a seven foot tall Hyena. He'd be going easy on you if he set you on fire and buried you in the back garden at the same time. But you'd enjoy it or be terrified, one or the other, possibly both."
He does the handshake thing, and there may be a sense of something WATCHING from around a corner.
"Hey, before I forget, what squad did they put you on?"

"Got it, avoid the seven foot hyena," Theo repeats to himself, a serious mental note to make. Um…I dunno yet. I overheard some of the teachers talking about something called Corsairs, but I don't think it's official yet. I think I kinda scared people when I showed up. Apparently this place is supposed to a secret or something. One of those "We find you, you don't find us" kind of outfits. I hope they don't think I'm some terrorist or somethin'."

A statement that actually manages to startle a laugh out of the redhead. "Yeah, um, I don't know how to say this… Probably you haven't had the *most* spectacular entrance… Talk to Six sometime, he actually didn't even know about this place. Just… sort of fell through the roof of the coffee house in town, got carried to medical here. But… yeah, usually the school finds the kids first, not the other way around. Still… if you're on a team, then you've got nothing to worry about."

Mike's demeanor changes slightly. "Corsairs. Lucky dog. Well, I'd hate to have that yellow even more than the creamsicle nightmare I wear, but it would be cool to have Scott for a trainer."
Honestly when he says that? the image inducer hiccups a little "heart" above his head for a split second.

"Well, I hope you're right," the brown eyed teen answers Rashmi. Theo raises a single eyebrow, watching the little heart. "Um…yeah. I wouldn't do that too much," he says with a point up at where the heart was. "People will think you're a queer," he says with a rather blunt tone. "So I guess Scott is like one of the "Mom" teachers they give students to help them cope with being away from home?"

Rashmi coughs, evidently trying not to laugh *too* loud. "Um, yeah… I, uh… I hate to break it to you, Theo? But, um… Almost every single boy I know's already paired off with another boy, except my boyfriend and like one or two others. Kael and Max, Robyn and Jordan, The Parker-Mayfair teachers and their kids… Um. Who'm I missing, Mike? … …Anyway. No, um, Scott's the Headmaster of the whole school, and he's going to be the one putting you and your team through… er… athletics, just to make it simple… about four times a week."

Mike snorts. He was unaware of the little heart, stupid subconscious manifesting things. "Scott isn't anybody's Mom teacher. Not even CLOSE. I think it was just because Leighton had to go back to Canada, poor guy. But I am allowed to like him. He fixed me when I was really in a bad way. I nearly died."
He looks over at Rashmi, "I'm not 'with' anyone. Uhm… Zack, except he's Vanished, right? Trying to think who else, Cloud? yeah, he's not attached. He's probably bi though."

Theo looks like he was just told he forgot his pants. "What? You mean this whole school is a bunch of - " he lowers his voice. "A bunch of homos?" he asks. "Crap, and I got changed in front of my roommate! You think he was trying to check out my junk?" He seems to roll that over for a moment and shutter.
"Well, I guess that makes it easier for us straight guys, right?" he adds to give himself a silver lining. "So my trainer is the headmaster? Man. Guess I better not screw around if he's at the top of the food chain."

Rashmi's expression flattens, a glance thrown at Mike complete with raised eyebrow. "….Yeah okay, school rules, no using your powers on other students… All right, Theo. Ground rules for talking to… well just about anyone, really. Even *if* talk like that wasn't stupid enough to begin with? *You are a mutant.* You think gay people have it tough? Hop on over to the City sometime, check out Mutant Town. Imagine not being able to get an apartment in any other place because, hey, what if you might maybe if it's your power and even then small chance but you could blow up the top three floors? Or turning on the news and watching fifteen right-wing goofballs screaming about how you should have some kind of radio collar or something?" I mean there's practically an entire Gypsy nation of mutants living *underneath New York's sewers* because they don't have the kind of luck you or I do, or Dr. McCoy to make them a thing like Mike's got, and are just *too ugly to show their faces* and — " Well, she had to pause for breath *sometime.*

Mike raises an illusory eyebrow and to Theo. "I strongly advise you to think really hard about what you let come out of your mouth here. If it's poisonous or bigoted, it will come back to bite you in the ass, and you can think of that in whatever imagery makes you most uncomfortable."
He looks over at Rashmi, "Honestly, you KNOW I haven't paired up with anyone." No boys. Yeesh.

Theo isn't really certain how to respond. His mouth sort of hangs open for a moment or two. "Um, okay. Well, if they don't hit on me, we won't have problems. If they do, then we'll have issues." He pushes his chair in.
"I don't blame people for not wanting us near them. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet myself. There's some real stuff to be scared about with mutants. A week ago I was top of the honor roll and my biggest worry was how to keep myself acne free. I keep hoping I'll wake up and find out I'm dreaming, and I'm still top of my class back in Manassass. I know that ain't gonna happen, so pardon me if I'm still tryin' to adjust." Now he's getting a little warm under the collar.

Rashmi finishes sucking in a double lungful of air, quite content to keep on the verbal railroad. "And that's fine, everyone has problems coping in the beginning, but as long as you're here, just keep in mind that no matter how many couples you see, you've got two gay *teachers,* and anyway the idiot right thinks mutants're a worse problem than any single outbreak of 'the gay,'" It's amazing, how well she can vocalize the quotes without needing fingers for emphasis. "So just — " Blink. Train of thought derailed. "…Of *course* I wasn't talking about you, Mike, I was just trying to remember who *was* a couple, you know?"

Mike collects his stack of homework, and counts the pages. "I owe you five sheets, Rashmi. I haven't written out the one about nature of humanity, I'll save that tonight… but I'm way overdue for a backup and I need to refuel."
He looks at Theo. "Hope you are just talking out of ignorance. And don't worry about people jumping your bones without permission. But don't think you have any right to complain if they WANT to but don't, because you happen to be their unaccountable cup of tea."
He turns OFF his movie-star looks, and turns on the lamps of his eyes, and heads for the exit. Because it would be embarrassing to fall into backup mode in public again.

"Yeah," Theo says, "Well, I'm gonna head to bed too, I guess. I'll talk at ya later, Rashmi, was good to meet you." He grabs the book from the table, and heads toward the exit himself, decidedly several paces behind Mike so that he doesn't need to talk any more, since they are both going the same direction. He stops to check out the book at the front counter, and then heads out the door as well.

Rashmi lets out a quiet breath. "Good night, Theo," she says, *much* more gently. "And, honestly? It really *is* great here, once you get used to it. Sleep well."

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