The Cost of Secrecy

July 16, 2015:

Hank McCoy and Professor Xavier discuss some recent events

The Xavier Institute, Dr. Hank McCoy's office

Dr. McCoy's lab in the Headquarters is a combination of bedroom and lab. The door opens into the lab space which is rather large, with equipment and shelves lining the perimeter. Basically, almost any lab equipment that seems feasible to have, he has in this room, including refrigeration and freezing units, incubation units, a Mass Spectrometer, a centrifuge, microscopes, a soldering iron, and a couple of different computers and printers. There are a couple of work tables as well as a desk or two. Decor isn't important in this area as it's about work.

An inner door leads to an actual bedroom and en suite bathroom. The space is more than just his work space, but it's also his living space. The bedroom is also fairly simple in that it's sparsely decorated and has a bed, dresser, bedside table, lamp, armchair, and bookshelf. The bathroom is also basic and utilitarian. There are a few picture frames on the bookshelf among the books and a couple of pictures on the wall, giving it more of a lived-in feel than not.


NPCs: Professor Xavier



Mood Music: [*\# ]

Fade In…

While he knew that the Professor was busy, Hank still did his best to let him know that he needed to speak with him as soon as possible. He kept an ear on the news but was actually fairly insistent — he's usually quite patient, but something has obviously spurred him into action. With the Danger Room nearly done and with the current events going on, he's rather antsy, even now. While he's seated at one of his desks, looking at some images of a certain mechanical 'bit' found in the Danger Room, he's also getting up every five minutes or so to pace.

There's a mechanical snap-hiss of the door as it opens, and the sound of the Professor's wheelchair motor prefaces his arrival. "Henry, I received your message. My apologies for not coming sooner. How can I be of assistance?" Charles' eyes scan the room, but his only response is a pursing of his lips as he looks at the scientific genius.

Hank McCoy turns at the sound of the door opening and gestures for Charles to join him over by the sofa. A clawed hand rubs across his mouth before he offers, "Can I get you something to drink, Charles?" He's still pacing as if his mind is working so fast that not even his body can keep still. Not really waiting for an answer, he gets two bottles of water out of a mini-fridge and brings one over before opening his own.

"Dario Agger…head of Roxxon…sought me out in Mutant-Town when I was at the clinic there. He wanted me to create an 'anti-meta' serum for him." He then gives a wave of a hand, "Not that it would even be possible — I mean, even then serum I have for mutants has to be injected in order to work but a serum that could somehow cancel the effects of any and all metahuman powers, mutant or otherwise? That would mean we'd need to know exactly how those powers worked and how they got them and somehow work from there…which frankly, I just don't know if it's possible. Nor do I want to find out."

He takes another long swig before he looks back at the Professor, "But he made a point. And with all that's going on now…it's even more relevant than it was before."

Xavier is about to turn down the offer, but it seems that the gesture will allow Hank to burn off just a bit more nervous energy, and come to think of it, the Professor could use some water. "Thank you, Henry," he says as Hank moves to the refrigerator.

As McCoy talks, Charles takes a long drink from the water, his eyes never leaving the younger mutant's as the latter speaks.

"Granted, I do not have much knowledge of this Mr. Agger, or the Roxxon corporation, yet for many years there have been scores of scientists who have yearned to create a "cure" to our "affliction." I imagine that if a serum were ever to be created, some of us might think of it as a gift from God. Others? A curse."

The Professor pauses for a moment, considering, "Do you have much knowledge about the intentions of Mr. Agger? By the very use of the term anti-meta, and I'm unsure if that is his word or yours, it would seem that it is for a negative purpose."

"Aside from the fact that he was a right arrogant ass in our meeting…if you could call it that, no. I don't have much knowledge of him," Hank offers before he leans on the arm of the sofa. "It was his term and while I'm fairly certain that his use would be negative and harmful, the way he described his desire for the uses…it has 'For the Good of the People' dripping from it. You know I can't do what you can…or even Jean, but I had my own little vision of the future as he described what he was hoping to do."

There's another pause before he gives a sigh, "Charles, I think we're at a crossroads here. I'm not sure either direction is good, but…what -if- a child suddenly manifests a mutant power at school. What if their powers are like Scott's. Or Rogue's. Or Roberto's? What if they hurt someone…or many someones? What would the public…this current public, demand happen to them? Can we made that child 'disappear' and bring them here, away from friends and family, never to re-emerge lest they be charged with assault or worse because of something they can't control? What if it happens a dozen times in a week? We can't get to all the potential mutants before their powers manifest, can we? Can we get ahead of this so that a scenario where a child accidentally burns down their home or school because they suddenly manifested doesn't happen?"

Charles lets the topic of Roxxon go at first, hitting the second topic with his initial comments. "Indeed, Henry, it certainly has the feeling of the 'end times' doesn't it? Nevertheless, as this has always been a concern, so has the preparation for it. Now, more than ever, the actions of mutantsand perhaps more importantlythe reactions of mutants have never been under closer scrutiny.

Our efforts have been a comprehensive approach, at least that's what we've tried to do. Politics, law, and outreach are one area we have been trying to effect. We both protect and give humanitarian aid to mutants in need. But, perhaps now is the time that these X-men will be more important than ever. I think you and I would agree that it is of the utmost importance that we show the world what mutants can do and how we can help the world.

At the same time, my friend, hoping that we can prevent every situation that might put a youth, or mutants as a whole, in a negative light, may be an apple that is simply too big to bite. We cannot control everything, despite how much we might like to. I feel as though now is a time for being steadfast. This is why we are here. This is why we do what we do."

"But do we maintain our secrecy?" Hank asks. That seems to be the crux of it all. "Do we still stay hidden? Or do we say 'If you are worried for your child…if you have questions…come to us!" I know it's opening us up to attack, but it's only a matter of time, isn't it? How long can we keep up the facade before someone blurts something? SHIELD already knows about many of us and who we are…and even where we live. If they decide to no longer keep that secret, how can we stop them?"

"And how do we explain to the public that developing chemicals to stop a mutant or a metahuman's powers isn't right? That we're still human and shouldn't be treated any differently? I know that it seems like people always need something to hate…be it a skin color, a religious or gender preference, or now…having abilities above and beyond the known norm. How long can we keep this up?"

"Forever," Xavier counters as soon as Henry finishes. "Or as long as it takes. Our biggest sense of peace and our most distinct roadmap comes from the Civil Rights movement. If that and similar movements have shown us anything is that that, generationally, humans tend to move to progress. Is equality an eventuality? Sometimes I believe that it is."

"One of the best ways to combat public opinion on any serum is through X-men: Red. There may be a time where we decide to no longer maintain our secrecy, or have that choice removed from us. I'm not sure that this is that time, but you bring forth a good point, Henry."

"Might I point out…and please correct me if I'm wrong," Hank starts off, "That there isn't a single member on the Red Team who could not blend with the rest of the world? Is there any member who has outward mutantions…permanently? Like myself or Kurt? While I think Red is a good thing and it's a good start, what is it showing to the public? Is it showing that mutants and metahumans can hide among them? That you never know who might be a mutant or a metahuman? It's like the 1950's and 60's with McCarthyism and Russian spies."

His water is quickly finished before the bottle is tossed into the recycling bin not too far away. "It's a Civil Rights issue, yes. But look at what our enemies could bring up. Look at those who believe that homo sapiens should be subjugated and homo superior should rule. Look at those who use their power to do ill…we're fighting that as well."

There's another sigh. "I just…think we need to really think about things. I, for one, don't want to endanger the Institute because SHIELD knows I live and work here with you. But I'm not sure that I want to go around hiding all the time either."

It's a long way from where he was only a year or so ago.

"You are correct, Hank. Each of them can blend into society rather easily and, don't wear their mutant gene on their sleeve, if you pardon the expression. Maybe what the team needs is something different. Perhaps what that team needs is you, Hank. You could be the one to get out in front of the cameras. You could be the one fighting in a public manner."

Xavier shrugs slightly and nods, "I understand the difficulties with having this school known to some entities. Along the way we have been forced to make concessions. We've made those in hopes that it purchases us more anonymity and more secrecy. In the event that we ever do come under attack, we would take appropriate action."

"I think you hit on a good point though, Hank. There is a pull from both ends of the spectrum on the Institute's secrecy."

Golden eyes widen, "I don't know that I'm the one to do that. Maybe someone like Warren…or even Kurt. They're far more charismatic than I am…besides, if I did that, I'd have to leave here or put the Institute in jeopardy." Hank shakes his head, "You should pick someone less…like some kid's nightmare to be a public face of those who can't blend in. I'll still fight the fight, just…" he runs a clawed hand through his mane, "Not yet. Unless you want me out, which I would certainly understand."

They've already been under attack by some rogue HYDRA operatives and it didn't go well…for HYDRA. "I'm just concerned about the kids here…and the kids who should be here. And where everything's going to take us. You know me…I just like have plans and contingencies."

There's even a brief smile there but it quickly fades, "Just let me know what you need me to do and I'll do it."

Charles laughs at the comment, "Hank, I think we'd like to keep you around here for a very long time, if it's just the same to you. I do think you have a lot to offer, Doctor McCoy." He nods a few times, "But I understand your worry. And I agree with some of it. I think you're being prudent in your concerns, and I think that's wise. These are dangerous times for us, and I wish all of you had the forethought that you are showing."

Hank McCoy just gives a shrug, "I'm the analytical one…I'm the one who is supposed to see all sides and paths. I just hope the others don't go off half-cocked and make things worse for us in their zeal. It's…we're all walking a very fine line here."

That seems to have helped calm him quite a bit for he doesn't seem as tense as before. There's a glance at one of the computer screens before he looks back to the Professor, "I won't keep you, Charles, thank you for coming to speak with me. I do want an appointment on the books, though, to talk about this stuff I found in the Danger Room." Although, not now…

Professor Xavier gives Charles a solemn nod, "Absolutely Hank. And thank you for having me. And for the water." He gives another nod and a smile before turning in his wheelchair and heading for the door.

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