The Thread, Part 12: Stray

July 17, 2015:

Rachel Grey and Scott Summers are brought before the Attorney General to make a deal. But will one of them choose principle over making a deal? And how will it end up effecting the larger Mutant question in the United States?

Department of Justice, Washington DC

It's the Department where the Justice happens

Characters

NPCs: Attorney General Vinson

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*https://youtu.be/aGCX--zomnk Stray, Calexico]


Fade In…

The Thread, Part 12: Stray

"Cyclops."

"Grey."

Some no name office worker, part of the bureaucratic nebula that is the Justice League: Avengers comes with the keys. "You're being transported." The tag on his left breast pocket refers to him as Agent Jones, part of SHIELD that provides the support for the superhero team.

"Make sure you get all of your belongings."

Over his shoulder a television shows the President speaking to the public. Underneath, the caption reads: GREY TO BE RELEASED.

"Good thing I thought to shave."

It doesn't take long for Scott to gather his belongings. There weren't many; his X-Men uniform and tactical visor had been confiscated, and he hasn't come with much to begin with. The digital recording device is taken, still rolling, and a stack of sudoku books that had been brought to him by Kate Bishop, along with a few other odds and ends, which are stuffed into a JL:A issued rucksack.

He's about to ask a question of the man, when his eyes catch sight of the television and what's on it. This brings him pause, and eventually, he turns to look at Rachel with eyebrows rising behind his glasses.

Rachel looked to her father with raised eyebrows at Agent Jones reported to them with the news before gathering up the limited belongings she had with her and thinking to Cyclops, ~What was their purpose in all this?~ Secretly, she thought they just didn't want to make martyrs out of her and Cyclops, maybe Captain America could shed some clarity on the situation later.

"You look better with a beard, makes you seem less um, boyish." She replied out loud to her father before walking to the cell door.

The pair are shuffled into a black mini-van out one of the back exits of the Hall of Justice and are taken immediately onto the highway, turning west once they reach the next big highway. For those of you with a geographical sense, it seems like the pair are headed towards Washington.

But you'd never know it given how Agent Jones (passenger seat) and his bosom buddy, Agent Johnson, say absolutely nothing. Seriously, it's about as much talking as in the pews of a Puritanical church service.

« American politics of 2015. » There is a literal pause in Scott's thought response. « Remind me to give you a lesson. » There is a terseness to his mental tone, but along with it, a sense of sobriety that simply wasn't there when he was wound up just days past.

"Your mother doesn't like beards," answers Scott, and passes a momentary grin Rachel's way. Still, it's guarded. The two of them have some bad blood that will need to be worked out now, and he's not looking forward to it.

As they hit the road, Scott glances once again toward Rachel, meaningfully. « We aren't headed north. D.C., perhaps. » Breaking eye 'contact', he looks toward the two agents. "Don't worry, boys. We don't bite," he quips. "Any idea what's going on here, aside from us being released?"

There was no harm right? Rachel did it all the time in regular everyday life with people she knew, so she extended out a little to read the guards and see if they were mutants or metas before checking their thoughts. No doubt being SHIELD they had some training, but they were just people unless they weren't.

~Back to D.C. Seems silly, unless they're going to offer us something. Otherwise, well.~ Rachel doesn't finish the thought to her father, she wouldn't end her mission so easily.

"She could grow to like it. You never know." She shrugged her shoulders after the comment, looking out the back of the van.

The trip doesn't take much more than an hour, and it doesn't seem that Agent Johnson is afraid of getting any tickets. It also doesn't seem that they're much in the way into answering questions, replying to Scott that they're only allowed to transport them and not ask or answer questions, or comments.

Pretty much a few seconds off of 395, the car is pulled into the Department of Justice through a throng of security. As soon as the SUV pulls to a stop, the doors open, and men in black show the pair into the office. Again, no one answers or talks, but as the pair get into where they are supposed to be, they see the Attorney General, Kirk Vinson, sitting behind an ornate table. "Ms. Grey. Mr. Cyclops. Please have a seat."

The Attorney General is easily recognized, confirming Scott's suspicions from the moment they entered the DoD campus. Without knowing the particulars behind Captain America's conversations, he's left wondering just what, exactly, is in store for he and his daughter. It's not lost on him, the fact that this is a place he'd never expected any of the X-Men to be, not to mention himself.

« What ever happens here, it could change the course of things for us. » Without looking at Rachel, Scott can merely hope that the telepath is still clued in on his thoughts. « Choose your words very carefully. »

It took a lot from him not to simply recommend that she keep her mouth shut.

"Mister Vinson." Scott nods his head in greeting, a polite tone to his words, but given the Attorney General's body language, he decides that offering a hand in greeting would be out of order. Instead, he takes a seat as requested. "It's an honor to meet you."

~I've got some lip gloss, if you really want to kiss his butt.~ Rachel thought back to her father with a faint smirk on her lips as she took the offered seat, "Mister Attorney General." Her words were kept short for now, wouldn't want to mess it up.

Vinson gives a curt nod to both Summers and Grey and gives them a closed mouth smile as he gets busy. "As you no doubt heard, the President has asked me not to press full charges against the both of you. We know we have enough evidence to put each of you behind bars for 20 years. At the same time, we are convinced that much of what you're accused of has gotten blown out of proportion. So, the President will give you one chance, and only one chance to cut a deal. If you say no, I will prosecute you and we will go after you to the fullest extent of the law."

"So, here's the deal. We drop the sedition charges against both of you. In return, Miss Grey pleads guilty to a lesser charge and get sentenced to probation. Third, Cyclops will work with this Department in undercover capacity. It seems that you have not realized the President's pro mutant stance. It's his goal to see that mutants receive equal protection under the law, and he would like to see more of those who might put their safety in harm's way brought to justice. His latest initiative to undo much of what has been done by those who oppose him in Congress."

"I'll give you a few minutes."

Everyone has a tell; that physical sign that, in spite of an outward display of calm, anxiety is real and present. For Cyclops, it is a subtle flexing and unflexing of the muscles in his neck, a tell that continues until the Attorney General offers the deal.

At that, he turns to look at Rachel, eyebrows rising once again from beneath ruby quartz lenses.

A lot comes to mind, to be sure, but in summary, this was not at all what Cyclops expected.

Folllowing a monetary silence, he turns back to face Vinson, body leaning forward to suggest his interest. "I… wish I could thank President Upton directly, if I may be so bold. He and I - and Ms. Grey - seem to share the same goals. If I may ask, what would be the particulars of Rachel's probation?" He glances her way. "She has a lot to learn about right and wrong…" A pause, paired with a very direct thought for Rachel. « Bear with me. » He looks back to the Attorney General. "But she is smart, talented, and very important to myself and the X-Men. I assure you, she is both malleable and, both of us, have the protection of national security at heart." A conceding gesture is given. "In spite of our missteps."

Rachel took a deep breath and said nothing as she listened to her father and Vinson speak back and forth. She didn't even reply mentally to her father, instead keeping her thoughts wholly to herself at this point in time as she thought on it.

It didn't take a telepath to see she wasn't pleased about this whole probation thing.

"The probation will be 1 year. She will have to stay out of trouble with the law or could be culpable for us to press charges. There is no statute of limitations on sedition or treason, which is an important point to make. As far as a meeting with the President? Absolutely not. Regardless of how light the both of you are getting off, you actively attempted to thwart a very important program to the security of the United States of America. Even if we thought it was a good idea, and we don't, the DHS and the Secret Service would never allow us to put you within a square mile of the President."

"Then I'll have to trust you to thank him for me," answers Scott. It's a polite tone, with understanding. Perhaps, if the X-Men are patient enough, there will come a day when the cover of Time Magazine features the President shaking hands with a mutant.

While tempted to speak up about the Sentinel project, Scott opts to remain silent. What neither Rachel or the Attorney General yet realize is that, during his time at the Hall of Justice, Charles Xavier had a word with him; telepathically, of course, and the conversation did much to teach Scott an important lesson. A lesson he needed to learn, about patience.

In that same vein, he doesn't inquire on the particulars of this undercover work. A simple agreement will open the door for further dialogue and communication, so he nods his head. "Then I will agree to your terms, sir."

Rachel, however, must make up her own mind. Cyclops turns his head her way, but he doesn't make any suggestions, verbal or otherwise.

"I'm very sorry that we wasted your time Mister Attorney General, I can't agree to these terms. Making a deal would imply guilt, I have no guilt nor have I done anything wrong." Rachel wanted to sigh but she held it back in this case.

~I'm sorry.~ It was a single thought projected to her father.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Ms. Grey. Both you and Mr. Cyclops can feel free to join Agents Johnson and Jones back to your vehicle. They will take you to your new quarters." The Attorney General gives them another nod and leaves the room briskly.

When Rachel declines, Scott looks away from her, visibly disappointed. He tries very hard not to have a visible reaction, but instead, he shakes his head from side to side, and releases a long sigh through his nostrils.

"I'm sorry, too." It's unclear whether he intends that to be for Rachel, Mr. Vinson, or both. He rises, straightens his shirt, then turns to look at Rachel. "Rachel, I love you, but… you've made a terrible mistake."

There is a coldness to his tone that surpasses everything else. The moment those words have left his mouth, he turns away, clasps his hands together behind his back, and walks slowly toward the door.

Even his thoughts have gone cold, silent. She would have to press pretty hard to read his thoughts, and if she were to do so… she probably wouldn't like what she found.

"I'm sorrier that this wasn't a dialogue." Rachel replied to Vinson before turning to head towards the door thinking about the 'deal that had been offered by the man. There was no incentive or reason for her to plead guilty to something and be sentenced to probation.

She frowned to her father replying softly, "There's no real charges to lay, bringing this to court is only going to expose all of this out into the open. You were thinking about patience earlier? Now is the time for it."

The same SUV heads back to the east and for a moment it may seem as if they are headed back to Metropolis, but the pair are not. They're led to an airfield at Camp David, just over the line into Maryland, where they are asked to board a plane.

Once inside, the pair are led to differing rooms.

Almost immediately they will find their environs very different than the ones they came in on.

For Scott, the room's glass is the only a facade. It does, however, give off a red twinge of some sort against the fore-light. The reason, of course, is because the entire facility is lined with a foot thick ruby quartz cube, holding the leader of the X-men at bay.

Meanwhile, Rachel will feel a sudden and horrifying feeling once she enters her room. Like a sheet thrown over the cage of a bird, she is immediately cut off from everything. What normally may feel as her mental abilities resting on the pulse of those around her, when the door shuts everything turns off.

A few moments later, the plane takes off.

Its destination unknown.

THE THREAD
TO BE CONTINUED

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