2012-02-09: Technical Difficulties


Chloe_icon.jpg Jill_icon.jpg

Summary: Failed cupcakes, time travel, and proving yet again that everybody knows you better than you know yourself.

Date: February 9, 2012

Log Title: Technical Difficulties

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Kitchen

This kitchen was designed to feed large numbers of people, and looks it with its bright white walls and stainless steel appliances. The stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher are all larger than normal. There is an island with stools around it for people to sit and eat around along with a table for twelve by the windows in back. Along the wall is a hole in the wall looking into the dining room so food can be passed back and fourth. Anything you want to cook or eat in the kitchen you will find the food and supplies to do so.

The warm, sweet smell of baking wafts from the kitchen and out into the hallway, truly a dangerous thing in a house full of hungry teenagers. The sleeves of her saffron yellow long-sleeved t-shirt pushed up to her elbows and a white apron tied across her front in the name of cleanliness doesn't seem to have stopped Jill from making a mess, though. There's bits of eggshell scattered about, flour pretty much all over the small island counter and dusting the blue girl's forearms and face. The small CD player/clock pumps out Better Than Ezra on an enthusiastic but sedate medium volume.

With all the demands a fastworld metabolism places on a growing teen it's no great shock that Chloe is dropping into the kitchen. She drops in every three or so hours (four if she's on a diet!). What is unusual is that for a change she doesn't appear to be dressed for a workout. Instead she's got her head in a much abused paperback and is practically crawling along at a snails pace at little over fifteen miles an hour.

The blue girl looks up at the positively glacial pace of the resident speedster just as the oven time gives an electronic chime. "Chloe! You're just in time to be my taste tester. And now we have…" Jill announces theatrically, whipping open the oven door with a flourish and fishing out a muffin pan with a pair of matching oven mitts. "Cup-" Her face falls at the horror her baking hath wrought upon the world. "… -cakes," she finishes with a drastic decrease in bravado. Turning the pan over, a half-dozen things not entirely unlike hockey pucks in shape and density clatter onto the counter. On the bright side, at least they aren't burnt. "Well… crap. Okay, you don't have to eat those."

Chloe glances up from her book and takes a suspicious sniff. "They smell…. Okay… Maybe they taste better than they look or, and on either count I mean no offense, how they sound." She ambles over and reaches for one of the puckcakes. "Here's to mutant grade teeth."

"Umm!" Jill gets a mini-panic attack, waving her mitted hands like she's directing a jet coming in for a landing. "You don't have to! They look pretty, umm…" Carefully she picks one up as well and regards it with trepidation and suspicion. It's roughly the right color, but with the same amount of mass packed into about a third of the volume. "I don't know what went wrong. I followed the directions… I think."

Chloe shrugs. "Maybe you forgot the raising agent?" she offers before chomping on it. "It's a little… chewy and a bit tough." She says between bites, her jaw moving at full pace to grind down her food based foe. "You might take a while to digest them, but I doubt anyone but a handful of us could eat them comfortably."

Jill grimaces but tries to keep a pleasant face after the blunt (but perfectly honest and true) assessment. She exhales a frustrated breath and taps the dense baked good on the counter top. Solid but at least not likely to damage the furniture if accidentally dropped. "Probably something like that," she admits reluctantly and wings the failed experiment toward the trash can. "Just thought I'd try making some from scratch instead of a box." Despondent, she tugs off the oven mitts with her teeth and begins to untie her apron. "You… really don't have to finish that if you don't want to."

Chloe laughs. "Trust me it's bliss compared with some of the things one of my future selves tended to eat. Meals consisting of mud and grass, plus whatever uncooked small animals she snagged while walking around. It was /gross/."

"Great," groans Jill with a melodramatic roll of her eyes toward the heavens. "At least I can cook better than mud and raw squirrel." She's just kidding though, shaking her head with a rueful smile while disposing of the rest into the trash. "I'm glad I never got to see what my future might've been. It probably would have been terrible." Visibly giving up on her endeavor, she starts to sweep loose flour and eggshells into the trash by hand.

"At least you /can/ cook," Chloe points out. "I mean I ate things raw rather than cook them myself. What does that tell you about how lame my cooking skills must be? If you'd seen your future in that world… yeah it would have. Everyone had a horrible life. Even the normal humans had pretty sucky living conditions, forever afraid and living in cities with areas just bombed to nothing."

"I've read too many sci-fi stories," says Jill, pulling the apron over her head and giving it a shake over the garbage can. A small cloud of flour billows off and drifts, mostly, into the bin. "Time travel, seeing your own future, that sorta stuff. It never goes well. Ever. 'Cause like," she pauses, raising a finger in a 'for example' pose. "Say you see something bad and you try to do stuff different so it doesn't happen that way. Then it turns out that what you did differently is actually what causes it in the first place. You can't win."

"Actually I think we did win. I mean we cheated by having Heather," Chloe explains. "I think she might have broken that possible future off from ours and stopped it ever happening. Which isn't to say we won't make another equally horrible future for ourselves, just unlikely to be that specific one. I try not to think about the specifics of time travel. It's just…. eugh it hurts my brain way too much."

"Somebody once said that while time travel might be possible, it shouldn't be because it's just too confusing. I think it was Stephen Hawking. Or maybe not, I dunno." Jill tries to brush flour from her forearms but some of it remains stubbornly stuck to her skin. She fiddles with the CD player to make it skip ahead to a different song, a cover of 'Conjunction Junction', and ties her apron back on to start washing up. "So, hey… how've you been? I don't… really get to see you so much since we're on different squads now."

Chloe frowns, then waves her hand. "So so I guess? The new squad just isn't as good if I'm honest. I was almost beginning to enjoy the murderous danger room sessions we got thrown into. Kenta's are much more laid back, plus there's been some ongoing bitchyness with Quenton and Ahmed. Doesn't make for a fun time." She sighs. "I have however done a ton of martial arts training and my overall skill level is the best it's ever been. I never thought I'd end up enjoying it, but now I can kinda see why my dad's so hooked. How about you? Been up to much since you got back?"

"That's good. The martial arts stuff, not the bitching teammates stuff." The combined noise of the music and the running sink faucet mask Jill's reply a little, but it seems to be a prolonged and unenthusiastic 'Meh' type of sound. "No, not really. Class and stuff. Kinda wonder if I've gotten as far I ever will with the training stuff. I mean, I don't know what's left for me to learn. It's not like I have trouble controlling it so I don't hurt other people. It's just…" She switches tones to something equal parts flippant mockery and a rough impression of Scott Summers. "'Jill, do a cube. Jill, do a sphere. Jill, do a Klein bottle.'" The mixing bowl clanks into the sink a little more heavily than it ought to.

"It's like you're his long lost twin!" Chloe proclaims with a grin. "Have you tried changing your cells so they function like different cells? Maybe make your fingers as hard as bone so you could… I dunno fight with slime claws or something. Then you could use your fingers like lockpicks, letting teammates in places. Plus a bunch of other entirely legal uses which I can't think of right this minute."

Jill blinks. Her mouth works for a bit but no sound comes out. "Well… no… but…" she starts, trying to keep to her annoyed tone and not being entirely successful at it. Her hands still move mechanically in the sink, washing batter out of the mixing bowl. "That's…" A really good idea, actually, but will she admit it? "An idea," she admits, meeting the impulse halfway.

"Or you could try making your cells take up less volume, then you could compact yourself instead of just making thin layers," Chloe muses, scratching her head. "I'm not really very up on cell biology, but you could see just how much control over yourself you have. Try and force your body to produce chemicals or change PH. Stuff like that. It's doing things like that which helped me figure out how I could turn off my ability to feel pain."

"See? You're so much better at this than I am. I've had it for, like, two years and so far my biggest accomplishment is that it doesn't take *quite* as much concentration to stay human-shaped anymore." Jill snags the muffin pan and dumps that into the sink as well. "I don't think the teachers have as much time to spend on each of us, either. Like Dr. McCoy, when I first got here, he was all excited and stuff, askin' for samples to run tests on. Now? I dunno. Maybe he's bored with me already."

Chloe chews her lip. "I'd expect he's got so many problem students who are a danger to others that he can't spare the time for you," she suggests. "I mean the stuff some of the less fortunate students need just to walk around in public… And I'm no better than you at power stuff, I've just had more time to think about it. Perks of thinking six times as fast as normal."

Jill's shoulder slump a bit in defeat. Her complaints, while not entirely without merit, really aren't all that bad in the grand scheme of things. "I know," concedes the blue girl wearily. "It was just neat gettin' all that attention for a little while, is all." The faucet shuts off with a squeak and she shakes water off all the rinsed dishes and utensils. "Okay, not better, just six times faster. So if it took me two years to think of something, you'd have thought of it in…" A pause for the formidable mental arithmetic. "Four months."

"Oh! You could also try store water inside your arm then firing it like a water pistol by compressing the water firing chamber," Chloe adds with a snap of her fingers. "Ahh, well… Maybe? Perhaps it's because I've been here longer and I don't think about how weird stuff is anymore. Alien invasions, demon kidnappings and that sort of thing all seem pretty commonplace."

Jill's apron serves well enough as a towel to dry her hands on. "Okay, the water gun thing I've got to try in the pool when the weather gets nice again. Sounds stupidly easy." Like a good student, she even puts the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. "Stuff like that still doesn't really seem real to me even when you guys talk about it. I mean, I know you're not lyin' or nothing, but it just sounds so strange, y'know? Maybe I'm just too grounded in reality. I'm too…" Her hand raises like someone will hand her a note card with the correct word on it. When they don't, she concludes, "Normal, if you can believe the blue see-through colony of amoeba saying that."

Chloe laughs, hands wide to concede the point. "Looks can be deceiving. You could be the most normal girl here now that I think about it… There isn't much competition that springs to mind. Hell even when you factor in the boys."

"I'll… decide to take that as a compliment." The cleanup job done, or as done as she feels like doing at the moment, Jill removes the apron and hangs it back where she found it in the first place. She pulls the sleeves of her yellow shirt back down. "Thanks for being my victim- I mean, volunteer!" she corrects comically. "If I manage to make a batch that doesn't suck next time, I'll save you one. But I'm done with this for today." Both hands flap in an exaggerated 'to hell with it' gesture.

"Happy to lend a hand and hard to break teeth," Chloe teases, tapping her battered novel against the counter idly. "It was meant as a compliment. Have you seen the level of crazy some people reach? Rashmi used to, if rumour can be believed, start arguments with Magneto over philosophy. Who in their right mind walks up to /Magneto/ and does that? A crazy person that's who. Although I must admit in Rashmi's case she's the sort who'll end up in a history book because of it, probably for talking people into world peace or something."

"Crazy doesn't even *begin* to describe some people around here. And I'm not just talking about Nigel and the Living Looney Tune." Jill digs in the fridge before coming out with a tiny silver and blue can, then silently debates the wisdom of offering Chloe a Red Bull. "I only ever met her a couple of times anyway, and usually not for all that long. Didn't strike me as too crazy." Sliding up to the counter, she leans over to read the spine of Chloe's book, so far she has to raise her other leg off the floor as a counterweight.

From what bits of the spine that aren't horrifically cracked and worn it can be presumed the novel is a crappy airport romance novel. The kind where the only thing cheaper than the paper is the plot. "Nigel… Something about his 'ability' just annoys me. I mean what possible reason could there be to evolve that? It's almost enough to make me doubt natural selection," Chloe replies "Rashmi isn't the conventional kind of crazy, more the selfless to the point where you can't really believe she's real."

Frowning disapprovingly at the poor choice of literature, Jill is still kind enough not to make a thing out of it. "Oh, and looking like blue raspberry Jell-O's a real evolutionary advantage over here. His is something to do with unstable molecules which I don't even understand to begin with, so I guess *it* could be. The cartoon thing is just… I don't even know," she concludes with a dismissive lift of her hands like it's not even worth thinking about, much less talking about.

"You can avoid virtually any conventional weapon that doesn't involve fire or massive explosions," Chloe points out matter-of-factly. "You're near impossible to kill. Tell me that isn't an evolutionary advantage? Besides all the fringe benefits like being able to taste with your fingers or get into places you shouldn't. Seriously Jill, you have a really useful gift."

"Uh-huh," Jill agrees, nodding to Chloe with each point she makes. "But a useful mutation would be passed on to the next generation. So how is it an advantage if I'm sterile?"

"How do you know you're… yah know… unless you've tried?" Chloe wonders, giving Jill an appraising look. "Unless you mean you've actually tried?"

Jill's fingers gently cover her mouth, like she didn't mean to say that at all. "N-no," the girl says, suddenly quiet and looking away. "Just… don't have any of the… internal parts anymore." She looks extremely embarrassed about the entire exchange now, cyan face flushed with navy blue. "Be kinda difficult without 'em."

Chloe coughs. "Oh uhm, sorry. Maybe if you can fake it well enough you'll be able to? I mean unless you're functionally immortal and you'll never die of old age or injury. Then you wouldn't need to have kids!"

"Umm, yeah. Sorry… it's…" Jill fidgets uncomfortably and won't look up. She waves her hands a few times. "Sorry, just forget I said anything, okay? Too much information." Managing a weak apologetic smile, her eyes reluctantly meet the other girl's.

Chloe winces. "That's probably a really depressing topic for you….. I shouldn't have kept talking. Mouth's faster than my brain you see," she offers. "Look I better get going. I have to grab some food, shower and head out for my daily run. I'd ask if you wanted to come along, but I think you might drop dead at the fifty mile mark."

Jill just shakes her head. "No. I mean, I would like to, but I wouldn't wanna hold you back. It'd be pretty boring to slow down enough for me, and I wouldn't last more than a lap or two around the school anyway." She brightens the smile in a cheering up effort, though for herself or for Chloe is a toss-up. "Thanks, though. Have fun, alright?"

"Will do! I'll see ya around sometime," Chloe offers, waving the battered book. "But first I'll grab a quick snack." At which point she raids the refrigerator for a catering size vat of leftovers. "Ah nothing like a light snack. Anyway, must dash!"

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