2011-09-24 This Is What Embassies Are For


Magneto_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg

Summary: Magneto and Tabitha have a chat, after banishing two unruly reporters.

Date: September 24, 2011

Log Title: This Is What Embassies Are For

Rating: PG

NYC - Genoshan Embassy

The neo-classical building was built in the late 1800's and is one of the few buildings in mutant town that resembles old New York Architecture. The facade is colored and textured like high-grade marble, but is actually made of steel. Inside there is a large foyer with a sweeping staircase that leads the second floor where many doors lead off to public offices (such as taking applications for emigrating to Genosha). The Embassy is complete with a medical facility and Grand Ballroom, where the official functions occur.

Late afternoon in new York, and at the Genoshan Embassy, all is quiet. The peacefulness lasts for… well, only a brief period of time, as it turns out. The front doors burst open to admit one rat girl, variously dressed up in goth clothing, tailed by two dogged looking individuals; one with a microphone, and the other with a camera perched on his shoulder. "Leave me ALONE!" shouts Tabitha, picking up her pace as she walks across the lobby. The two men pick up their pace to match. "Just a few questions," presses the one with the microphone. "Surely you can answer a few questions about all the damage you've caused!"

Magneto was walking down the main staircase, conferencing with half a dozen aides. He looks up at the commotion; most of the aides do not (commotions being common in the embassy, and their lives complicated enough without a new one.) Magneto pauses and the flock swirls around him, most of them busy scratching notes on clipboards or typing into PDA devices. "One moment," he says, and he reaches out with one hand and clenches his fist.

The microphone turns into a ball of scrap. So does the camera. Any SDS cards either man is carrying are simultaneously wiped by a mini-EMP. That done, the Master of Magnetism raises his voice, just enough to carry across the lobby. "Security. We have two trespassers on the premises. Remove them." Then, "Good evening, Miss Jones. Busy, are you?"

"Hey! You can't do this!" shouts the reporter, upon finding that he holds only a piece of twisted garbage; the sentiment is echoed by the loudly cursing cameraman. "The public has a right to know! This mutant is responsible for millions of dollars worth of property damage and it's only miraculous that nobody was killed by her actions. Don't you have anything to say at all, Miss Jones?" Even while security is approaching, the man pulls out a notebook and a pencil — trusty, non-metallic wood products — and starts scratching something out.

"No! Just LEAVE ME ALONE!" The rat girl retreats once more from the two men, almost to the point of bumping into Magneto, though she manages to stop just short of that. "I didn't do anything wrong! It wasn't my fault!" By now, her cheeks glisten with tears from each eye. "Why don't you go get clearance to interview Mindbender and ASK HIM!" The greeting from Magneto goes unanswered, at least for the moment, as Tabitha falls silent but for ragged, distressed sniffling.

Magneto ignores the reporters; Security has been called. "Miss Jones. Why don't you and I find a conference room where we can have a drink and some civilized conversation. It's too noisy out here in the lobby to talk." He will disperse the aides with a wave of his hand and will loft both himself and Tabitha up to the second floor with a flicker of fingers on the other.

Security catches up to the reporters at about that moment. "Sirs," says the biggest of them. "Come with us." The tone is polite, but implacable; the embassy staff are firm in their duties. They have an excellent example in their boss, after all.

With Tabitha abruptly removed from their clutches, the two news men find themselves with little option. They bluster and make several threats, demands, and insinuations; but ultimately they are removed from the building nonetheless.

Tabitha holds her breath until she finds her feet on solid ground once more. Her tail lashes behind her in agitation; she brushes her fingers across her cheeks, before nodding quickly. "Yes, I… yes, please," she mumbles. "Thank you. Sorry for… bringing them in here. I didn't know what else to do."

"Are you all right, Miss Jones? And it is quite all right to bring yourself to this embassy at any time. If riff-raff should follow you in… Security is quite experienced at persuading them to leave again." Magneto is unruffled. He waves open a conference room door and ushers Tabitha in. "So. What is this that they were accusing you of? Did I hear the name 'Mindbender'?"

Tabitha steps gratefully into the conference room, and nods her head. "Yes," she replies, gloomily. "I'm sure you've seen the news over the last few months, after Mindbender and Upgrade escaped from jail. They made me think that some super-villain had…" She trails off, and sighs heavily. "Look, I know this will sound absolutely lame, but it seemed completely real and plausible to me while they were doing it to me. They made me think that some super-powered villain had turned the entire city into zombies, and was planning to do it to the rest of the world, and Upgrade boosted my powers so I could copy lots of people at once, and then they… I dunno… used me as a distraction I guess. Made me go and blow things up and start fires and whatever else, to occupy the police as much as possible."

Magneto hmmphs. "That sounds like those two. Two grifters, getting innocent bystanders to do their dirty work for them." He activates the nearest computer and sends an order to the kitchens for tea. "I do believe that they've been thwarted. I'm not familiar with the actual details." He stalks into the room and chooses a chair; he puts his hand on the back of it. "Please sit. You're still breathing erratically and the tip of your tail is lashing. In my opinion, those two…" a pause, as he decides what to call the reporters, "miscreants are not worth such upset."

Tabitha doesn't need much urging, to get herself plopped down in a seat. She glances down at the tip of her tail; the insides of her ears turn red, and she sighs softly. "I didn't have a problem telling them to get lost," she replies. "I just… I was worried about what they'd say about me on TV. I already get people staring at me since then. Parents pull their children out of the way, people cross the street, that sort of thing. It's like they all think I'm right about to start lighting everything on fire or something." The rat girl rubs at her temples lightly. "Though I suppose that's not entirely unjustified, really." She pauses, and coughs softly. "They made me attack the Xavier Mansion, too. Twice. We did pretty severe damage the first time."

Magneto snorts. "Of course you did. I do wonder when Xavier will actually design a mansion that can withstand any single determined mutant attack. He's had enough practice." The cloak swirls as he turns, covering the chair; he seats himself and leans back, steepling his fingers. "You said 'we'. Who assisted you in this series of attacks? You did say that you thought the whole world was zombies. It would seem that there were some few who escaped that fate."

Tabitha nods slowly. "Yes, there were others. Mindbender and Upgrade posed as someone else. …For a long time I thought Iron Man was there, but too badly hurt to do anything himself, and he was the one giving me missions and stuff." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "The others were all Xaviers students, I think. Shane, Heather,… there was someone else, but I didn't get to meet her, really. I think she figured things out and they did nasty things to her." She pauses, and gazes down at her knees. "The attack on Xaviers was the closest I've ever come to killing anyone. I put a pry bar through someone's stomach. I'm told he lived, but that doesn't make me feel any better about it."

Magneto flicks an eyebrow at the mention of the pry bar. "What he fails to do in the designing of durable residences, Xavier does make up for in the retention of superior medical equipment and expertise. I do believe that he'd do better if he hired out to Medicins Sans Frontieres." He tips his head down. "Mindbender and Upgrade are the parents of Heather. Their intentions involved bringing her back under their control. They were thwarted in that, as well. I do not doubt that you played a part in that, although you may not have realized it at the time."

Tabitha shrugs her shoulders heavily. "Maybe," she replies. "I don't know. It just feels like I played a really big part in attacking what's basically a high school, setting Hell's Kitchen on fire, blowing up a few places around town, and causing massive havoc on the Brooklyn Bridge." She scratches at the back of her head, ruffling up her hair. "Though someone at Barnes told me I should be proud that I managed to stand up to Iron Man in a full on fight for several minutes, and then got away. I suppose that's something."

Magneto grins. "Yes. That is something. Something very interesting, and well worthy of pride. Iron Man is… a very determined opponent, and one who would not be easy for even an experienced power to defeat… or, in your case, delay. Well done, Miss Jones. I do wonder what Iron Man himself thinks of the matter."

He changes the subject. "What is your personal health like, Miss Jones? Are you experiencing any difficulties as a result of your … sojourn among the bad guys? Better yet, did you enjoy yourself?"

"Well… I feel alright." She leans back in the chair, and taps her fingers aganist each other. "Upgrade had me all… I dunno, whatever you call it. Upgraded I guess. Instead of just copying one mutant's main power at half his strength, I was able to copy five mutants at once — and everything they had to boot, at their power level. I have to admit that that was pretty satisfying. For a while I was walking around with the powers of two different pyrokinetics, a telekinetic, a machine empath, and someone who could drain energy and copy… stuff. Like turn his body into the same material as whatever happened to be nearby. I suppose I do miss that part… though it's probably good I didn't copy you, I probably would've gone and peeled the Empire State Building open like a big steel banana." She shakes her head slowly. "Otherwise… I'm not sure enjoying it is the term I'd use. I mean it was satisfying at the time to think that I was… well I thought I was saving humanity, human and mutant both. But scavenging food because I thought civilization had ended? That part, not so hot."

Magneto nods. "Yes. I can imagine." He unsteeples his fingers and looks up as a young man in the uniform of the kitchen staff arrives with a tea tray. The young man smiles at Magneto and gives Tabitha a nod, then gives each a cup and saucer, plates, napkins, and cutlery. A tray of finger sandwiches and two-bite desserts is set up between the two, tea is poured, a bow is presented, and he leaves.

Magneto smiles. "My staff is very good," he says, and he picks up his tea. "Please! Help yourself."

Tabitha waits until permission is given; manners, afterall. "Thank you, very much." She tries the tea first, followed by a bite from a finger sandich, which she chews slowly to let the flavor linger on her tongue. "So… if I may ask, what was it like for you? When you first found out you were a mutant. I know it's been a lot of ups and downs for me, I can't remember the last time I had a normal day."

Magneto sips his tea and watches Tabitha eat. "People died."

Tabitha sputters briefly on her tea. "Err… well, sounds a bit like my experiences so far, except they only almost died with me," she replies. "And I can't quite rearrance the New York skyline on a whim. …Anyway, sorry if that was a bad question to ask, I don't mean to bring up bad memories or anything."

Magneto glances aside at the food tray and selects a sandwich for himself. He uses knife and fork on it as he speaks. "You're young; questions are what the young are all about." He eats a slice of his sandwich and washes it down with tea. "I think this experience has shown you something important: you now know what you could be capable of, given the time and determination to develop your abilities to their utmost. How do you feel about that?"

"Honestly, I've been trying not to think of it," Tabitha mumbles. "I don't know how I feel about it. I can't deny that being able to copy the powers of several other mutants all at once was pretty exhilerating, mind you… especially when I could fly. Or teleport — that was pretty exciting, too. But I'm afraid of… getting out of hand, I guess? …Or even just getting clumsy. Like with the mailboxes, if you remember." She blushes heavily, showing it mostly in her ears; she takes a sip of tea, perhaps as much to have something to hide behind for a moment as for any other reason. "But, like, worse.""

Magneto smiles into his own teacup. "Yes, I remember the mailboxes." He sips, then says, "The secret to dealing with clumsiness is practice. You practice with all of your abilities, as often as you can. You need to put thousands of hours of practice in." He gives Tabitha a straight look over the rim of the cup. "Yes, I said thousands." The corner of his mouth tightens. "Your experience under Upgrade? Those hours count."

Tabitha nods her head quickly. "I'd already figured that," she replies. "I'm not surprised to hear you say thousands. My Sifu when I was learning Kung Fu — which I'd like to get back to — said the same thing. Though with my powers… that… really kinda means thousand of hours practicing other people's powers, doesn't it? I need to copy people as often as I can and try out what they've got. …Preferably somewhere where nobody gets vaporized if I screw up."

Magneto sips his tea. "Another thing Xavier is good at: training. He has special rooms for that, even. Most of the time, they're actually warded well enough to survive the damage that destroys the rest of his school." He looks back to Tabitha. "Are you attending Xavier's, or intend to? Or are you at Barnes?"

"Barnes. After I… met Mr. Stark, he arranged for me to attend Barnes. …Aside from my brief experience with fighting people who were not zombies and trying to save the world which was doing just fine on its own, I've been studying as hard as I can. I want to continue with my Kung Fu lessons, improve my marksmanship, learn mechanical engineering, and… well, whatever else becomes a good idea."

Magneto nods. "Those are all good ideas, and Barnes is good at all of them. I am not so sure that they will be your best choice for powers training, since I am not sure how many persons of power they have that could be available to you for training in power use. —Or is that something they are attempting at all?"

Tabitha shakes her head slowly. "I don't know yet," she replies. "I haven't really had a chance to go over my curriculum with them yet. I *did* have it arranged to talk to someone about that, but Mindbender got his hooks in my brain first." She pauses, long enough to take a bite from a sandwich, and swallow it before speaking again. "If they don't have enough there to satisfy my needs, I guess I'll have to look elsewhere for training. Or at least practice."

Magneto says, "Do keep me updated on your progress; I am interested in this. Barnes has presented itself as a valid alternative to the training available at Xavier's, and I have some evidence that they are capable of doing some good. I should like more evidence. Is this acceptable to you?"

Tabitha takes a moment to think, and nods her head. "Yes, I'll make sure to tell you about it regularly, if you'd like." She tapes her lips lightly. "Well, mimicry isn't my only power, but my other ones are all passive. Enhanced agility, hearing, and smell — though I'm not really sure how to practice those besides just… practicing stuff like my Kung Fu anyway."

Magneto smiles. "Thank you." Regarding keeping him informed. And then, "Ah, well. Agility is important in Kung Fu. Hearing and smell… you might ask about orienteering and tracking courses, perhaps both urban and wilderness. You should learn how to do it under as many conditions as possible, including ones which make you actively uncomfortable — such as in pouring rain, or through a landfill." His attention sharpens. "What do you think of that?"

Tabitha ohs, and humms. "Well, when I still lived with my Dad he used to take me camping and hunting and all that. I've done some of that before… orienteering and tracking, I mean. If I needed to I know how to track down a deer, shoot it, skin it, and how to deal with the meat." Her nose wrinkles in disgust at a thought. "I can't imagine sniffing my way through a landfill, that would be nasty. …But I suppose if I ever really needed to it would be best if I'd gotten the initial shock over with, so I'm not busy barfing in the middle of doing something important."

Magneto hrmphs. "I imagine 'barfing' in the middle of a tracking job would distract you, yes. There would be issues of whether you could complete the job — could you find that escaped criminal before he hurts someone? Or that lost child before she dies of exposure? Yes. Practice that, too." He sets his cup aside. "I could call Barnes and ask them to set up a training program for you, if you like. I do think it would be better coming from you, however."

Tabitha shakes her head. "No no, you're right. I'll ask them; I don't have any problem doing that. The only thing I've had to go through there so far that was unpleasant was my debriefing after my experience with Mindbender and Upgrade. That was… I'll call it stressful." She massages her temples lightly. "I'm glad that's over with." She sips her tea lightly, and sets the cup down on the table beside her. "There is one thing I'm glad about — at least I know I can hold my own."

Magneto says, "You can. Iron Man proves that." He steeples his fingers again. "So, Miss Jones. I do notice that the tip of your tail isn't twitching any longer. Do you feel less stressed?"

"Yes. Considerably." She glances down over the side of the chair, at the tail in question. "I'm still not used to having that. Or the ears, or fur, or any of the rest. Not really." She shrugs her shoulders dismissively. "I suppose I'd better get used to it. …You know, I think I'd rather ddeal with being shot at, than being asked pointed questions by aggressive reporters. Is that silly?"

Magneto shakes his head. "No. That's your sense of civilized discourse being trod upon by boors. You see, in both scenarios, you are involved in hostile action — but when the conversation is all in bullets, you have no trouble telling. If, however, the ammunition is words and facts, all couched in the camouflage of polite discourse — or in those reporters' cases, impolite discourse — it is harder to tell that you are, in fact, at war." A faint smile. "Hence your preference. Simpler is so much less stressful."

Tabitha perks an eyebrow upwards. "Well… maybe," she replies. "I haven't really studied much history, but I have noticed that the people who get talked about as being really important aren't the ones who were shooting the bullets. It's always the ones who were using words."

Magneto smiles. "Very perceptive of you, Miss Jones. So many fail to notice that, even after their fists — or their bullets — have failed. Repeatedly."

He looks up as a staffer knocks on the door. "Sir? The UAR representative is here. We have the under-secretary entertaining him in the Blue suite. How long shall I tell him to stall?"

Magneto holds up two fingers. The staffer nods and leaves. Magneto says, "I do apologize, Miss Jones, but I should be going. Do stay and enjoy the rest of the sandwiches and dainties. They shouldn't go to waste."

~ Fin ~

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