Rehab with Spandex

May 15, 2015:

Beast and Cyclops speak with one of the smooth addicts being treated at Muir Island.

Muir Island

Characters

NPCs: Orderlies

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The trip to Muir Island was a nice break for Scott Summers, who had found himself impossibly busy following the nationwide operation against HYDRA's smooth distribution networks. It also gave him the chance to speak with Hank McCoy regarding the situation at STAR Labs, not to mention the impending challenge the X-Men will face as the narcotic dries up.

"So, the girl's name is Jane Feng," he tells Hank as the Blackbird makes its final approach. "The team at Muir tells me that her x-gene manifests when she makes skin to skin contact." A meaningful look is given to Hank on that note. "Resulting in what can best be described as 'muscular seizures.' She also suffers them herself, and needs to make that contact in order to quell the seizures from her own body. Probably explains why she became a smooth addict."

*

"Jane Feng? The radio host?" Seems Beast is familiar with the name. Sometimes some background noise is useful in the labs. "I didn't know she was a mutant." However, that doesn't seem to matter now. "We might want to bring Rogue in to talk to her…although needing the contact to stave off her own powers…" he winces, as best as he can. "I brought my own serum…maybe that will help with some of the control issues? At least enough to focus on the actual withdrawal."

*

Jane herself is with an orderly who's standing at a decent distance from her, waiting for the Blackbird to touch down. Due to her nature as a potentially dangerous junkie, she doesn't get to wander Muir unsupervised. Considering the two X-Men coming out basically just to see her, though — she was allowed to be part of the welcome wagon, if only so she could ask whatever questions she's been bottling up inside.

Jane is dressed oddly — she's actually been given a labcoat, as well as rubber science gloves, a turtleneck, and other 'covering' gear — which is to say, protection for those around her. She's got her arms folded under her chest as she watches the Blackbird set down, hands pinched between her arms and her ribcage, apparently to keep them from quaking.

*

Scott nods his head. "The one and only. I wonder if this whole problem is what caused her show to go off the air? Either way, good call on the serum." An alert prompts him to turn, take the plane off autopilot, and commence with the landing procedures.

Once the plane has set down, Scott flips a few switches to put her into standby. "Better make this all official," he quips, and stretches the hood over his face, fixing it around his visor. Moments later, the X-Man is walking down the ramp of the Blackbird, al uniformed up, with a box underneath his left arm. An upnod is given to the orderlies, before he approaches Shiver. "Miss Feng?" He offers a hand; the spandexy glove attached to the uniform of similar constitution, meaning there's no harm to be done here. "I'm Cyclops. From the X-Men."

*

Beast grunts at the mention of being 'all official'. It's not like the entirety of SHIELD doesn't already know who he is. He is, however, wearing his uniform and bringing his own case with equipment and the serum. Not like the facility isn't well-equipped, but he has his own preferences when possible.

He follows Cyclops out of the jet and makes his way to the woman and her handler. He even offers a hand, knowing that she's wearing the gloves. Skin to skin contact, right? "I'm Beast. A pleasure to meet you. I enjoyed your show."

*

"So I'm told," is Jane's wry reply to Cyclops. She has the look on her face that a lot of people must have when first meeting the X-Men: the expression that says 'what the hell am I doing talking to you, I'm supposed to be normal.' She's compensating with dry humor. She does extend a hand to shake Scott's, and her grip is average — actually, no, trembly.

Same with shaking Beast's hand, as his furry mitt basically surrounds hers completely. Jane does seem startled at the mention of her show. "Oh! Uh, well, thank you, it was… I guess it was fun while it lasted." A raw nerve she's papering over, more like. Her hand goes back under her arm when the greetings are over.

Jane looks… clear-eyed. She looks like she's just been woken up from a long nap, or something, but it's clear some work is being put in to try to get her clean of Smooth while she's on Muir. She's definitely a better sight than the unconscious captive Scott first encountered.

*

A smile comes over Scott's face, and he chuckles just a bit. "Well, you sure look like your doing better. Doctor MacTaggert's people are some of the best." He reaches up to remove his skull cap, allowing Jane to have a better view of who he actually is. All in an effort to make her feel more comfortable.

"Let's go inside," he says, once the introductions have taken place. He opts to lead the way, orderlies following Jane as she goes. Once inside of the facility, he leads them down the hallway, slowing a bit and glancing over toward Jane. "How is your treatment going, Jane?"

*

Beast is fairly quiet as they begin to make their way back into the facility, letting Scott do most of the talking for now. When he asks the question about the treatment though, he pipes in to ask, "Did you have any questions about it? Or for us? Or…any questions at all?"

*

Jane walks with the group, and every so often lifts her head to look at this or that, like a tourist that's still taking in all the sights. On her treatment, she says: "It's…" There's a pause, as she tries to decide what kind of answer she wants to give. "…well, it's rough. Not gonna lie, there. But it beats the alternative." She says that with almost, almost, a bleak sense of humor.

Jane needs another second to think over Beast's question. "Yeah," she finally says. Another pause. She's trying to articulate it just how she wants it, in that nice, clear, radio-ready voice of hers. "So why me?"

*

For a few moments, Cyclops does not answer, allowing Beast a few moments to converse with Jane. When he reaches a private conference room, however, he opens the door, allowing Jane and Beast to enter. The orderlies, however, receive a faint shake of his head, and with a small gesture he quietly request that they remain outside. He closes the door behind the two, then turns to claim a seat for himself.

"Because everyone is important, Jane. Especially someone who is suffering under something so vicious as exgenta-diacetylmorphine. Beast and I intend to meet with everyone still here, we just thought you'd be the first."

There is more the X-Man needs to say, but for the moment, he's curious to observe the conversation between Jane and Beast.

*

Beast glances around to make sure that if there are video cameras or speakers, it's not going to be a hindrance to what they're trying to do. He then turns back at Jane's question and Scott's answer. He still remains quiet while Scott speaks but he then asks, "Did that answer your question or is this being asked on a larger scope?"

*

Jane sits down with the two X-Men. She uses both hands on the table to stabilize herself as she does so — she's someone who's grown accustomed to the necessity of care in sitting down and getting up, lest an inopportune spasm send her right to the foor. "It's a start. But yes, what I mean is… while I was on the streets, I met so many mutants so much worse off than me. And… in Africa, mutants still get necklaced. That's a rubber tire wrapped around you, filled with gasoline, and lit on fire. I'm a middle class… drug addict who got an all expenses paid trip to Scotland. And I'm grateful. Believe me, I'm grateful. But it's just hard to go to sleep thinking about why me, and not…" She pauses. "…and not everyone else."

*

With careful attention, Cyclops listens. It's hard to tell just how empathetic he is, given how the tactical visor covers up his eyes. The story of necklacing in Africa earns a visible grimace, but he doesn't remark on that for the moment.

Rather, he leans forward slightly, and gestures toward Jane. "That's why," he answers. "Because you're unique; you think of others first." He's taking care not to speak of her radio show, at least not yet; neither does he criticize her for her use of the narcotic. Instead, he remains engaged, leaning forward with his hands upon the table, folded together.

"Jane, if you've been watching the news, then you know HYDRA was behind the propagation of this drug. You also know that we, along with many others, have made efforts to shut down their distribution network. There are about to be a whole lot of people, mutant and human alike, who are in the same predicament as yourself. I don't need to tell you how ugly this epidemic is; you've lived through it."

He sits back a bit then, gesturing toward Beast. "Beast may have something that can help you with your condition. However, Jane, I'm coming here to ask you to consider something. It's very important, but it will be asking you to make some sacrifices."

He allows that to breathe. The box he carried in with him remains upon the table, what secrets it contains serving very intentionally to be a temptation to her.

*

Scott answers the question he couldn't. Sometimes fate is interesting like that…would have really been his answer as he's been a bit on the outskirts of all of this, doing research in his lab. "What I have is…a temporary fix as it's not something to be used forever. But it could help give us time to figure out how to best control what you can do."

When Scott mentioned the important question, golden eyes turn to him. Did they discuss what this might be at all?

*

Jane looks like she already kind of feels bad for having asked. It's a weighty question, something like 'why aren't you everywhere, all at once, doing everything, like some kind of god?' — and it's not even being directed at Thor. She does nod, accepting Scott's answer — it's too deliberate a motion to just be a bobble of her head.

Jane looks from Scott, to the box, to Beast. Her expression goes from cool to helplessly exasperated — she actually laughs, though it's more like just a breath than a cackle. She's in over her head, and she knows it. But she also knows she can't turn around now. "I'm listening," she says, to both men.

*

"There are people working on a treatment for 'smooth' addicts, like yourself," Cyclops tells Jane. "The doctors here. Beast. Also, a man named Harrison Wells, of STAR Labs in New York. All of them have told me that they need things like… blood and tissue samples. Extensive tests and simulations. And, eventually, human trials." A placating gesture is given. "I'm not asking you to volunteer for human trials, but… if you're willing to come back to the states, to go through the rigmarole of these tests and sample-taking? It could go a long way to helping a lot of desperate people."

*

"In the meantime," Beast offers, "We may have something that will help some of the control issues that you seem to have so that you can focus on the treatment rather than not…" he looks to her attire, "Rather than that. It's not a permanent fix, but for now, it might be able to help if you're willing. This -has- been tested extensively and it has been used by other mutants." Well, used by him, at least and he seems none the worse for wear.

*

Jane doesn't need a pause before she answers Cyclops: "I'll help," she says. "Whatever you need. I'll help." Her lips turn inward just a bit. She probably has a bit of 'what did I just get myself into?' going on in her head. But it's clear, she's the sort of person who WOULD do whatever was asked of her to help others on this scale.

"What is it?" is Jane's response to Beast. She sounds skeptical, but that's almost certainly because she just spent a long period of her life trying to 'help some of the control issues' with street narcotics.

*

"Good." Cyclops smiles warmly, then sits back and looks toward Beast. There are more details to cover, but he doesn't want to overwhelm Jane. Instead, he rests a hand on his box, while allowing the two to discuss Beast's treatment.

*

Beast glances briefly to Scott before launching into a description of what his treatment is. It's a lot of chemical-babble but before too long, he chooses to simplify it. "Essentially, it's a non-narcotic, non-addictive injection that surpresses your mutant ability for a given amount of time. It's usually at least a few days and there are no withdrawal symptoms when it finally leaves your system. Your powers just begin to return. The stronger you get, the more you can, perhaps, learn to control your powers, turning them on and off with the help of the serum until it's no longer needed…" or some other compromise can be reached.

"There is another mutant with similar skin-contact powers to your's. Not quite the same, she has ways to control it…mostly due to the use of clothing and accessories. We're going to see if we can find her to talk to you about her experience as well."

*

Jane reaches up a shaky hand to wipe her mouth. "I… Listen, I mean, I'm very appreciative, and I can't say I'm not intrigued." The 'but' takes a second. "But I'm still in the baby steps of recovery right now, I'm still trying to figure out up from down. I trust you when you say that it's not addictive, but I think for someone who IS an addict, freshly on the wagon, I'm not sure that's the best option for me right now. Psychologically, I mean. Wearing kitchen gloves is… it's not cumbersome, actually, it just flat-out SUCKS, but it… reminds me, I guess. If that makes sense. Reminds me of what I'm doing and why I need to."

*

Cyclops leaves his attention upon Beast, clearly interested in what he says. He knew of the serum, of course, but never before has he witnessed Hank disclosing so many details. It is surprising to Scott that Jane should deny the serum, but when she explains why, he can't help but understand. "It will be there when you're ready. Now…"

Cyclops moves his hand from the box and opens it. The case is spun around so that Jane maysee what's inside. "Speaking of that 'other mutant'… this is one of her old uniforms. A bit… costumy, okay, but it really helped her to find more freedom in her daily activities." He nods his head. "Go on. Take it out, have a look."

*

Beast offers what seems to be a smile and reaches out to pat a covered arm, "I completely understand, Jane. As Scott says, it will be here if you choose to use it." He then looks over as Scott offers one of the old uniforms and an eyebrow quirks. He then looks to Jane, "Just because you can't have skin to skin contact doesn't mean you can't get close to people. Just…try to remember that." It can be incredibly lonely when one thinks they're shut off from the world.

*

Jane pulls the box forward, and with shaky hands — not from emotion, mind — she lifts out a green thigh-high boot. She looks at it as if she can't quite believe what she's seeing, and then without missing a beat, "Thanks. And… I'll remember that, Beast. I mean it. Thanks. Both of you." Then her eyebrows rise as she sees the green bustier.

*

Well, to be fair, it was the only old uniform he could find. A smirk forms at her reaction. "We can get one developed more to your, uh, liking?" He winces, then quickly conceals it by adopting a more serious expression.

"Now, if you're ready to come back to the states, I can give you two options. Our Red team is fully public. They have a building in New York City, with living arrangements, but it's open to the public. We also have a more secure location, with training facilities, but… it would need to remain a secret. Choice is yours, kid."

*

Jane runs her fingers on the black bodystocking. She looks at Scott, and says, "I… Can I sleep on it? That's a big choice." She doesn't seem too put off. Just maybe a little overwhelmed. She'll catch up.

*

"Of course," Scott answers, nodding his head. "We came to speak with the others who've stayed, too. But… Jane, we've done this before. And based on what Beast tells me of your radio show? I think the world is gonna need you out there. Especially now. The X-Men need you."

The box is pushed forward, and with a look to Beast, the two X-Men push back their chairs and stand. "Ride leaves in the morning," he tells Jane. "Don't make us waste fuel coming back here to get you another time. Bad for the environment." He's near the door, when he stops and looks back toward the suffering woman. "Try that on for size, while you're at it. If anything, it makes one hell of a Halloween costume."

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