2010-12-08: Under New Management


Mason_icon.jpg Xorn_icon.jpg

Summary: Xorn re-introduces himself to Mason, this time as his Squad Leader.

Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2010.

Log Title: Culture Clash

Rating: G

Xavier Mansion - Mason and Quill's Room

Mason Steele's walls are not visible. Why? Because they are covered with posters. Girls in bikinis, fast cars, and various bands are the themes that cover his room. There really isn't even a spare inch. If you look up, you'll find that the ceiling isn't much different.
One wall of the room seems to be primarily dedicated to instruments on their respective stands. A violin, an electric and acoustic guitar, a keyboard, a trumpet, and a saxophone all stand ready for action, their cases behind them.
His bed is unmade, and clothes are piled in various corners of the room. On his desk it seems as fully covered as the walls, only it is done with sheet music instead of posters. The smell of Old Spice and unwashed clothes fills the air.

Quill is out, being a prankster to somebody no doubt. Mason, however, is spending the night in. He isn't playing his pop tunes tonight. But he is on the keyboard. It's set to a normal piano setting, and he jams a jazzy piano rock tune on it that can be heard down the hall. It's a good thing he's talented, otherwise his constant playing would no doubt get on his fellow students' nerves.

His door is left open, revealing the mess that is his room. Clothes are everywhere, as normal in the poster covered room. He stands at the keyboard, he doesn't sit. He's clothed in a wife-beater and a pair of sagging jeans. They would expose his boxers if it weren't for the length of the shirt, and he stands barefoot. His physical movement is as radical as his sound, tossing his head and bobbing his body to reflect the sound.

Hovering a few inches off the ground, Xorn stands a few moments listening to the young mutant pop star jam on his keyboard. Dressed in a white loose-flowing white Buddhist robes with a red sash emblazoned with an 'X' insignia, Xorn's masks tilts one way to the next and his hand taps at his leg as if he is enjoying the music. A booming voice speaks out, "So, it is good to see you are truly talented."

Mason was so involved with his music, he didn't hear Xorn come in. Of course, his back was facing the door, as well. His chord freezes when he hears Xorn, and with a slight start, he spins his head around to see the new squad leader. His face is red, and covered with sweat. Instead of answering, he turns back to the keyboard and continues for a few more seconds, bringing the jam to a close. He didn't want to leave the song unfinished. He lets out a long breath. "Yeah, thanks," he answers, bending over to pick up a water bottle from the floor. He unscrews the cap and takes a large swig, swallowing quite a bit of the water.

Looking the boy up and down, Xorn floats into the room and lands directly next to Mason and the keyboard, "Judging from your sweat, I see you literally pour yourself into your music." A smile would form but the expressionless mask reveals no signs of amusement. He tilts his head and seems to stare literally into Mason as he gets an empathic read on the boy, "Mason, I am now the new Alpha Squadron leader and so am taking the opportunity to get to the students. It is lucky we already had a Danger Room session."

"Oh, okay," Mason answers. He takes a seat on his bed, and gestures with the water bottle to a chair that is full of clothes draped over it. "Oh, sorry," he apologizes, and gets back to his feet long enough to grab the chair. He dumps it to the side, knocking everything carelessly onto the floor before putting it down again. There, now Xorn can have a seat. The pop star uses his foot to drag the clothes off to the side of the room in front of the desk before he hikes his pants up and sits back down on the bed. "Well, congrats on that."

Xorn looks over the chair for a moment and appears to be thinking if he should sit down or not. He nods his head and carefully sits down on the offered chair, "Thank you for the chair and congratulations. Forge left to pursue his technology work, so I stepped in, though I don't think you had even met him yet, so in a way it is a new beginning for both of us." Xorn relaxes his stance and leans into the chair, "So I am going around meeting some of the squad. What do you think of the school and your classmates?"

"Well," Mason says, acting like he's thinking about it, but he's really not. He's looking at one of the bikini girls on the wall. "I dunno." His attention suddenly snaps back to Xorn, and he has a blank look on his face for a moment, as if he was trying to remember what was said. He remembers. "Star is pretty cool. Kisha is a bit weird. We got off to a rocky start. I think I've smoothed things over with her. Not sure yet though." He takes another swig of the water. "Cloud…that's a little complicated. Don't think he's my biggest fan, but we're working on it. I haven't really talked much to Robyn or Moniqa yet. I hear Robyn's a kind of artsy guy, though."

Xorn nods his head as if he is paying attention and he is in his own way, "I see. Honestly. There are so many students here. I have yet to actually meet Robyn. I will hold a squad meeting soon or plan some kind of bonding exercise." He stands up and takes a look at all the posters, "They say you can truly understand someone by looking at their room." Noting the bikini clad women, messy clothes strewn all over the place, and the keyboard, "You are truly an artist, Mason." Turning back to the student, "So I sensed a bit of unease from you when I entered the room. I wonder if it is connected to your concert in Mutant Town?"

"Hmm?" Mason doesn't piece it together. "Oh, that? Please, that was a nightmare, don't remind me." He shakes his head. "You have no idea how stupid I feel for that. Then some guy that ran a bar in mutant town was pissed at me later, and let me know it, too." He stares at the label on the bottle, his attention becoming more focused as the conversation goes on. "Wrote a song about it. Probably never see the light of day, though. I dunno. I just wanted to do something good, you know? People don't know I'm a mutant, and that gives me an opportunity to tell them that mutants are okay, and they might listen a little more to me because they don't think I am one."

Nodding his head as Mason speaks, "That is a great thing to do actually. I would love to hear the song some time. Why don't you do a private performance the school? I'm sure Ms. Frost and Mr. Summers would allow that." He pauses, "How did the man from the bar let you know he was mad at you?" Xorn continues to look over the posters in the room and takes mental note of where everything is placed in the room.

"Well, he told me I was an idiot, and that I could've gotten a lot of people killed, and I got the distinct impression he honestly wished that I had been the one shot. He even subtley accused me of being part of the attack," Mason answers. "I'd love to do a concert for the school. Maybe people would be more chill. Though in my old school people didn't ask me for autographs." Of course, they knew him before he was famous there, too.

"I think the concert is a great idea. And I see your presence has caused quite a stir with some of the students, but I am glad to see that you are fitting in here." Xorn continues to take a seat, "So, I'm curious, what are you expectations of a squad leader? What are you expectations of me and is there something, in particular, you would like to work on. What are your goals while at the Institute?"

Mason seems a little unprepared for the question. "Um…" he says, drifting his eyes around the room. "I dunno. Nobody's ever really asked me that. I came here because it was a mutant friendly school that is off the grid. I'm getting ready for Julliard next semester, so I'll be spending some of the time away. I guess I just don't want to get discovered as a mutant." He doesn't know much about his powers, and isn't sure he is all that interested in learning them. They are just an obstacle to him more than a cool thing he can learn about.

Mason seems a little unprepared for the question. "Um…" he says, drifting his eyes around the room. "I dunno. Nobody's ever really asked me that. I came here because it was a mutant friendly school that is off the grid. I'm getting ready for Julliard next semester, so I'll be spending some of the time away. I guess I just don't want to get discovered as a mutant." He doesn't know much about his powers, and isn't sure he is all that interested in learning them. They are just an obstacle to him more than a cool thing he can learn about.(re)

"What do you think would happen if you were outted? How would it affect your career and do you think if you did come out as a mutant you may inspire others to come forward with their mutancy?" Xorn asks profoundly. He remembers what happened with Dazzler, but how she has seem to overcome that obstacle.

"I think it'd be the worst move I could ever make," Mason answers with finality. "It would destroy my career, and I'd be left burger flipping and living in Mutant Town. I'm sure it'd be very inspiring." No small amount of sarcasm. "Don't get me wrong, I think my power is cool and everything. It's just not what I want to build my life off of. I thought this was about what you can do to be a good squad leader?" the pop star observes. His statements do reveal something about his personality, though.

Xorn nods his head the entire time that Mason speaks and gets a good understanding of the young pop star. "I see." It is said simply, but a lot can be read from that, "And yes, this is what I can do to be a good squad leader. Sometimes a good leader has to provoke his students to learn more about them. I apologize if the question left you bothered." Xorn tilts his head, "Do you write your own music?" Xorn shows that he knows next to little about pop music and culture, in general.

"Yeah," Mason says. "I've been writing stuff since I was ten." He stands back up to his feet. He grabs his keyboard and swings it around, pulling the stand with it until it's resting so that Mason can stand behind it and be facing Xorn. He plays a few bars of some of his music as it is when he writes it. The melody and harmonies are intricate. They overlap and his fingers dance across the keys. "Of course, when the recording companies put it on the album, it sounds more like this…" He plays the same song again, but most of the nuances are left out, the melody is left mostly to itself with some of the basic harmony. Same song, but it has not nearly the rich complexity. At the same time, to someone who isn't familiar with music, it's much easier to follow.

"Goodness. There are subtle differences." Xorn is able to note them. "You really do play well. I will have to listen to your songs on my own time to get a better feel for your music. I was not allowed to listen to music when I was your age or at all until the X-Men saved me. I'm sure I will like your music, even if I am not the demographic for which your recording company aims for. Of all your songs and of all things you do musically, what is your favorite?"

Mason smiles, and already knows his answer to that question. "I think I have to go with George Gershwin. He was the most brilliant American musician to ever live. He's my inspiration for most of my music." He pauses for a moment, and then ventures the question. "What do you mean, saved you? Saved you from what?"

"I will have to listen to this George Gershwin, then." Xorn rises from the ground and sits in the middle of the air in the room, crossing his legs and getting ready to tell a story like an old Native American chief talking to his tribe, "My life was very different from yours, Mason. While you are a pop icon famous around the world for your music, enjoying life and hiding your mutancy but able to come to a school to learn about your powers. My life was much different. I grew up in a poor village in China. We had no such things as radios, televisions, computers, or video games. I and my twin played games in our village, but worked hard as farmers, but when our powers developed. Well, I was unable to hide my powers. I have a black hole for a head. My twin brother had a star for a head. When our powers were first unleashed many died. The Chinese government took us and kept us imprisoned. I still wear this mask as a reminder. For 22 years, I was kept in a room in a basement of a military prison with no contact with the outside world until the X-Men saved me after an accident at the base. No contact with anyone or anything."

Mason seems floored by the story. "Nobody?" he asks, suddenly feeling rather shallow. "I can't even imagine that. I'd go crazy. I mean…crazy." He shakes his head. "Did you just have a crappy lawyer or something? Why didn't you appeal it or something?" Apparently he's rather uninformed on international politics. "That's not right, that's terrible."
There is silence first and then laughter loud, surprising and almost creepy laughter. Xorn stops a moment and then says, "There was no lawyer. I am from Communist China. I was a mutant from a poor village. I Was given no trial. There was no judge to sentence me. I was taken. This mask was placed on my head and then I did not see the sun for 22 years." Xorn pauses a moment, "I guess our lives were pretty different."

Xorn already strikes Mason as a little creepy. The laughter doesn't help the image. "Wow. I guess I should be more thankful to live in America," he states. "Here you'd never have that happen. Nobody just takes you from your home." It's quite a lot to digest. "It sounds like something out of a movie, you know?" he draws the closest parallel available to him. "I'm sorry all that happened to you, I'm glad you were able to get out."

Xorn pauses a moment as he finds that last statement to be sincere, "Thank you, Mason." Xorn looks about the room and the room again, "I never thought of my life being like a movie. I guess with the right actor. I did used to look like Jet Li." He taps a button under his sash. Gone is the image of Xorn in his X-uniform and mask replaced by the image of Jet Li.

Mason laughs, "You might wanna be careful with that," the teen star suggests. "You'll have people asking for your autograph everywhere you go. And that can be a pain." Take it from one who knows. He plays a few more notes on his keyboard before stopping. "Well, I was gonna go grab some food downstairs. You wanna go down there and keep talking? I've worked up an appetite playing so much." He goes back over to his dresser drawer and sifts through it. After spotting a stick of deodorant, he puts it on his armpits.
From there, Mason picks up a shirt that was discarded on the bed, a true blue fleece, and pulls it over his head. A quick look in the mirror is given, where he tosses his hair, still slightly damp from sweat before he walks toward the door.

Xorn nods, "Very well. I shall join you, even though I do not eat." HE shifts the image inducer off. "The kitchen seems to be s social spot and it would be a good way to meet the students and other staffers that I have no met yet." Xorn watches the boy get ready and tilts his head, "Goodness. The fashion of today's youth." He says as he makes his way out the door.

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