2011-08-20: Tabitha's Story


Jessica_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: Tabitha gives her side of the events that occurred in regards to Mindbender and Upgrade.

Date: August 20, 2011

Log Title: Tabitha's Story

Rating: PG

Barnes Academy - HoloQuad

Stepping into the HoloQuad one would almost forget that they were in an underwater school. The sky changes to reflect the time of day, sunny with clouds during the day to night time reflecting what the Northern Hemisphere would look like without light pollution. Sunsets and Sunrises are even reflected in the room. It's impossible to tell there is a ceiling up there. Plant life, benches, fountains and pathways make the room look like a luxurious park and unlike the sky, the rest of the room is real. Sometimes a breeze passes buy and the room is always a comfortable temperature giving the students a way to feel like they're outside enjoying the fresh air.

Even though she knows what happened Jessica still has to ask Tabitha for her side of the story and the events she went through. She has summoned Tabitha to the Holoquad where she currently sits on one of the benches while she waits, looking over a tablet device, sliding her finger over the screen. She sighs to herself wondering why she has to do this since Nick knows she's not exactly fond of kids.

The rat girl in question arrives, precisely punctual and impeccably dressed in a Barnes Academy dress uniform; right down to shoes polished to a mirror shine. She marches across the holoquad to stand where she was instructed to, and her heels click as she stands straight at attention. "Sir," she says by way of greeting. …And underneath the formal exterior, it's plain to see that she's a nervous wreck.

Jessica doesn't look like she's dressed the part, she's just in a pair of jeans and a grey t-shirt with SHIELD across the chest and her hair tied back in a pony tail. "I'm a woman not a man, call me Ms. Drew or Ma'am, not sir." She says before looking up. "Have a seat Tabitha. I imagine you know why I called you here."

The rat girl's ears color as she blushes. "Yes Ma'am," she replies, very quietly. She takes a seat, and brushes her pants off before foling her hands in her lap. "I'm here to give my account of the events that have taken place since June 12." This is clearly something that Tabitha is not looking forward to. She sounds almost hollow; rather like a war veteran returned from the front lines, having difficulty coping with what she's seen… and done.

Jessica nods. "Yes. Well tell me what you can remember than any other details you can always submit later. You might want to have a few sessions with a school psychiatrist just to help you with coping with what happened. We understand you were a victim in this so anything you say won't be used against you in regards to anything."

Tabitha nods her head slowly. "Right," she murmurs. "Miss Franklin told me that I wouldn't be held legally responsible, as well. I just hope I didn't kill anyone." She shrugs her shoulders lightly, and focuses her gaze back on her knees. "It started on June 12th. I was taking a break from my studies, and had gone down to an automotive performance store to look at parts for my bike. After parking, I was approached by someone who later introduced herself as Heather, or Timeslip. She was trying to warn me about something, though I didn't understand at the time that she was referring to her parents, Mindbender and Upgrade. She tried to tell me I needed to leave, but I didn't. Moments later I was attacked my Mindbender."

Jessica nods as she listens to Tabitha's story tapping things on her tablet as she listens. "Okay, well you don't need to tell me every little detail but okay, so how did Mindbender attack you? I understand he is an illusionist?"

Tabitha nods. "He…" She pauses, and moistens her lips with her tongue. "I don't really know how it worked," she murmurs. "I think he took control of my senses. First everything seemed to stop. Then I was in a pitch black void. When I came out of it, everyone had been turned into… the best term I can use to describe it is 'zombie'." She pauses, and her ears color once more as she blushes. "I know that sounds ridiculous, but that was what everyone looked like, except Heather. And my appearance had changed as well; I looked like I did before I got turned into a rat. It was all very believable. I never felt I had reason to question any of it."

"I understand." Jessica says as she continues to listen to Tabitha and use her tablet. "So you were convinced that you lived in this zombie world and that you and Heather were the only surviors?"

Word travels fast in some circles which means that for the second time in under a week Tony Stark is paying the good people over at Barnes Academy a visit dressed in a black polo shirt, khaki shorts and high top sneakers. Though indoor on a casual stroll through the halls conversing with staff and students alike he wears a pair of expensive shades which remain on as he finds himself in the HoloQuad spying a fellow Avenger seated with Tabitha. The rather serious nature of the conversation has him listening in rather than acting intrusively at first. "Zombies? Oh, don't mind me." There's a wave for the conversation to continue despite his arrival.

"At first. Later there was Shane, and Cheryl, who I now know was Heather's mothe—" Tabitha's attention snaps to her side, and she drops the hat that completes her dress uniform. "M-Mr. Stark," she stammers, as she reaches down to retrieve the wayward chapeau. "I, err." She turns her attention back to Jessica. "I was told that someone called Marvin Brady was responsible for doing this to all of the people in New York, and that he had plans to do it to the rest of the world. I was told that Heather had been able to save me from it, and that I had to fight to prevent it from happening. They involved representations of other people I trusted. …I thought Mr. Stark was giving me missions to accomplish the entire time, for example."

Jessica makes sure to note that name, Marvin Brady, to see if he actually exists or not. "Yes, Cheryl Brown. She's a known super villain along with her husband Daniel Brown. They were caught in St. Louis a few years ago but.." She sighs knowing that no super villain is held for everyone. "Hello there Tony come to help me with hearing Tabitha's side of the story?" She then turns her attention back to Tabitha. "Was there anything odd, besides the world being turned to zombies. Anything to make you doubt any of them?

Tony closes the distances between himself and the seated women before him noting Tabitha's reaction as well as Jess' notepad. "Ladies," he greets with a slight smile. "I'm not here in an official capacity though I'd rather like to listen in if I may. It would at least save Tabitha another rehashing of information that she'll no doubt have to do multiple times over in the days that come."

Tabitha looks up, and shoots Tony a look that's a visual cocktail of gratitude, apprehension, stoicism, and outright fear. "The illusion presented was seamless," she answers. "It catered to all five senses, and Mindbender was very good at making other people seem like I would have expected. The representation of Mr. Stark behaved exactly like I would have thought he would, for example. I was typically kept too busy with missions or other tasks to spend much time questioning my situation. The only time I got out of their overall control was the evening of June 12th, when I got seperated from Heather on the way to the hideout. I encountered a zombie in possession of Rashmi Franklin's mutant abilities… well, I met Rashmi." She pauses, and shoots her gaze downwards once more. "I thought the zombie had hurt Rashmi, so I copied her powers and assaulted her, two policemen who'd chased me into the park, and what I think in retrospect was a helicopter with SHIELD agents, before retrieving my bike and escaping.

"That wasn't SHIELD." Jessica says quietly. "It was the NYPD but that's really not what's important." Not right now at least. "It's okay Tony, I'm also recording this and taking notes." She says holding up her tablet. "That way Nick can review it later and put it in the files. We have record of your various attacks on file so you don't need to tell us about every one of them. What about what happened at Xavier's…..the first time. Do you remember that at all?

"I'll take a look at the files when there's time." Taking up a rather at ease stance nearby Tony listens intently as Tabitha explains her experience with the illusion and how it related to the real world component. "Totally not helpful here," he begins. "Did you ever consider the likelihood of a Resident Evil sort of zombie apocalypse to be untrue? I can understand that they all appeared to be rotting undead out to eat your brains but it had to cross your mind at some point. Sorry, derailed the questioning there. I'll just go stand over here shall I?" The last bit is more towards Jessica as an eyebrow arches up from behind his shades. A few shuffles of his feed Tony seeks to find a place to seat himself.

Tabitha shakes her head in response to Tony's question. "No, Mr. Stark. The zombies, and Brady's monstrous underlings, all seemed entirely real, and not just to look at them. They smelled nasty too, and sounded like zombies, and so on. It didn't seem any less plausible to me than a lot of the other things I've seen since I got to New York… I just thought it happened to be his mutant power, enhanced by machines he'd built, like Cheryl told me." She pauses, and taps her hands on her knees as she returns her gaze to Jessica. "I thought we were attacking Brady's main compound. Cheryl said we had an objective to destroy in there or we wouldn't stand a chance. I was given the assignment to provide a distraction and given free reign to devise how. I decided that the best distractions are scary; and fire tends to be scary. I was copying the abilities from two fire-based mutants and a telekinetic; I stole a fuel tanker truck, crashed it into the main gates, and detonated it. With Cheryl and Heather present, we fought Brady and his lieutenants — Xaviers' students, I guess. Brady was an extremely powerful telepath. I know because I copied him, and used his powers against other people present. After a brief fight we retreated; I was told that the others, Shane and someone called Robyn who I only met briefly, had destroyed the target."

"Robyn and Shane…I'll have to talk to Emma about that and see if I can talk to them as well." Jessica says. "So I take it after this fight you were convinced of a small victory and had to prepare for another one, which happened a few nights ago at Xavier's?"

Having seated himself nearby on a bench facing the ladies Tony kicks back crossing his feet out in front of him then draping an arm along the back of said bench. "When you were free of the influence of the duo of escaped villains were you aware of what had actually happened or are you learning about all of this via others? Such as the attacks on the Xavier School."

Tabitha nods her head to Jessica. "Yes," she replies. "I knew we had to go back, and I was kept busy in the meantime. Even during downtime; I spent a lot of nights keeping watch in our various hideouts, generally prepared to shoot intruders with a glock I'd gotten off a zombie. …Just to clarify; they weren't the shambling, moaning zombies that you see in movies; they were fast, organized, and happy to use tools, weapons, and vehicles. And it made sense that they did, or at least it seemed to." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "During the second attack on Xaviers, I was struck in the back by a heavy blast of electricity, just after coming out of being intangible. It was sheer agony; I'm told that my skin and muscles were incinerated and my spinal column was exposed." She pauses, and shudders, clasping her arms around herself. "I lost consciousness and woke up in the medical bay here. They told me I healed myself. …That's nothing I copied at any point."

"I've read the medical report. And you never know what you might have copied Tabitha, you don't know if someone like Patch…I mean Wolverine was around when you went down and your body just instinctively copied his regeneration." Jessica says as she tries to hide her irritation, she's just not good at talking with kids. She doesn't like them. "So, now that we've got your story I have to ask you, how are you handling it?"

Tony pulls out his datapad thumbing through files as the talking continues. On the one hand he's mentally flipping through reports and on the other he is playing Angry Birds. None of this of course is actually on the datapad as it is merely for show purposes. "If you're in need of help to sort out what has happened to you I've a list of qualified people I can email over. I've never seen any of them though they do come highly recommended."

Tabitha sighs heavily. Her shoulders slump, and her composure deflates. "I thought I was doing the right thing," she replies, in a dull tone. "I thought I was fighting for what was right. I thought I was trying to save people. I thought I was getting advice and instruction all the way along from people I trust. Instead I was completely fooled, and used as a tool to cause a large amount of damage and hurt a lot of people. How am I handling it?" She drops lower, and burries her face in her hand. "To be perfectly honest, ma'am, I just want to cry."

"Than that's perfectly normal." Jessica says. "That's what I did when I found out that HYDRA lied to me, told me I was fighting for a better world. They even made this one man pretend to be in love with me, make me care for him only to have it all be part of their plan to make me an agent. When Nick told me the truth. I cried. Now Tony has an offer for you if you wish to take it."

"At least you are feeling something rather than being numb to it all." Tony peers up from his datapad. "It'll take time to heal from something like this but you've help here, and from me. Speaking with someone might be difficult though in the long run it's a hell of a lot better than trying to shoulder your feelings on your own." How he managed to say that is anyone's guess considering he'd never tell a soul about his own issues.

Tabitha sucks in a deep breath, and looks up, still dabbing at her eyes for a moment. "I feel like I've just come back from a war," she replies. "There were explosions, and gunfire, and people trying to kill me, and me hurting other people, some of them real bad… I know I impaled someone through the stomach with a pry bar during the first attack against Xaviers. I hope it wasn't a kid… and I hope I didn't kill him." She pauses, and bobs her head. "I'd love to see that list you were talking about, Mr. Stark. And I'll make sure to talk to people. Thank you."

"You did in some ways." Jessica says. "But at the same time you are going to school here, we are training to to face situations like one you just did. I didn't hear about any deaths at Xavier's so you should be fine in that regard but you can always think of it as a too realistic training session for what things will be like down the road."

Tony tucks his datapad back into one of the cargo pockets of his shorts. "I'll make sure to send over the information I have, Tabitha. Fortunately this situation is over and you're able to recover from it. Sadly, Jessica is right about what lay ahead." Legs uncross then cross slowly in the opposite direction. "Hopefully you'll never find yourself being controlled by another again though if you intend to follow the path you've set out for yourself there will trials to come. You know this already of course."

Tabitha nods her head slowly. "I know," she replies. "I always knew it would be hard. I guess I've just had a taste of just *how* hard." She sits up straight, and brushes her fingers through her hair. "I'm glad nobody at Xaviers died. Very glad. That's a very big weight off my shoulders… though I suppose I'd better find the guy and appologize to him. And to the headmaster… and probably to a bunch of other people, too." She pauses, and tilts her gaze up towards Tony, then Jessica, in turn. "Mindbender isn't going to get out of jail again, right? They're going to be a lot more careful this time?"

"I can't promise that Upgrade or Mindbender won't get out of jail again but once all the legal stuff is done they should be on The Raft for a long, long time. The security there is…well…if you'd like I can take you on a tour there." Jessica says standing up. "Well thank you for your side of the story Tabitha but I have to report this to Nick now. If you need help coping at all, well, Tony has offered. The school also has people that can help you as well."

"Don't beat yourself up about what happened," Tony mentions as he rises to his feet in difference to Jessica needing to head out. "The unfortunate truth is that individuals can and do find ways out of their imprisonment though every day that gets harder and harder to accomplish. Take Jess up on her offer to go visit the place these two will be spending the rest of their lives at. It might help you feel better knowing how secure the location is." Walking over to where Jessica is standing he stands just to the side of her until she walks away from him, "If you need a word with me Jess I'll be around."

The rat girl stands up as well, and snaps back to attention when Jessica says she's leaving. "Yes ma'am," she replies. "And, yes, I'd really like that. It would be good to see for my own eyes that they're locked up good and tight." She pauses, and clasps her hands behind her back. "I uhh… Is there anything else I need to do, right now? Aside from writing a full report on what happened."

Standing up Jessica looks at Tabitha. "Get a good meal, and a decent night of sleep. Talk to the doctor here if you need something to help you sleep. Oh and you don't need to write a full report, you just gave it to me." Jessica says holding up the tablet before heading out of the HoloQua.

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