Business Appointment

April 01, 2016:

Nate visits Emma to try to convince her to help X-Force

Emma's office downtown NY

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jean Grey, Ripclaw

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Since the rather disastrous dissolution of the X-Black team, Emma Frost has not been back to the Institute or the Mansion. She has not spoken to any of them since that day. She sent others to gather her things and extract her from the offices and rooms at the Mansion, and has returned to her penthouse apartment in Manhattan, and the business offices of Frost International in Frost Tower. She has also returned to social outings, at least, at the Hellfire Club. She could not say she has resumed her life unchanged from months ago when she first made contact with Elizabeth. But it is far closer to that lifestyle than anything she'd had while she was with them.
Currently, Emma is settled behind her desk in her office at Frost International, reviewing reports and preparing for a Board meeting the next day. The Board has never realized she wasn't in the office on a daily basis, and there's no reason they should be made aware, as long as everything is running smoothly. But part of assuring that confidence is doing her due diligence, which she is now doing.

When Emma left the meeting with Ripclaw alter Jean’s abrupt statement; Nate made a mental note to contact with her right away. But he had other pressing business too, like having his skull open. Well, that explains the buzz cut he sports, instead of his usual ruffled too long hair. He finally contacted with the blonde telepath this morning, and agreed to come to see her.
He is lurking in an underground secret base nowadays. One that is not as stylish as the X-bunker. Not a good place for meetings.
Emma would sense him coming easily. His power makes him like a flare to anyone with psychic perceptions. For those without them, however, he is invisible by mental illusion.

Picking up on the approach of that thrumming tower of psychic energy, Emma rolls her eyes. Wonderful. Granted, she knows that tower of power's feel closely enough that she is not panicked or really upset, but she really had put such matters as far behind her as she could, given her naturally vindictive patterns. Still, once Nathan reaches her door, unnoticed by her staff, the door opens easily enough thanks to Emma's own enhancements: psionic actuators which acknowledge her command and switch open, pushing the door open at her will, released once Nate is inside.
Emma does not even turn to look up from her computer screen as all of this takes place. Instead, she simply continues with half a mind on the reports while she handles the interview. « Yes, Nathaniel? You do know that one usually calls and makes appointments to see such individuals as might be busy in a professional setting, do you not? »

Nate smirks, stepping into the office. “Nice to see you too, Emma. And yes, I am vaguely aware of the uses of those who think themselves powerful and wealthy, and yet they rarely are. Really, you are back to this glass tower and will let the real world pass by? It seems beneath you, and also very boring.” He peers from the window, “I think I can see Wall Street from here. I know about 20 supers that could pretty much instantly erase that building from reality, along all the people there, along all their important appointments, their black credit cards and twenty thousand dollar watches. You know they don’t matter much, right?”

Irked at the attitude and disrespect, Emma wonders to herself how it is she ever expected anything more, anything else? "I never surrendered my business empire, Nathaniel, nor do I intend to do so. You may choose to look down on such things, but there are things all of your vaunted powers cannot do: like employ hundreds of thousands, giving them the means to improve themselves, their own lifes, their families. You may consider what I do here beneath you, if you wish. But if so, you may go. I do not need your advice, or your opinions, on the matter. If you only came to belittle me, do not bother. I've far too much self-worth and self-confidence to be affected. Don't waste your time, or mine."

“Oh, I know,” admits Nate, looking back to the woman. “I don’t consider them beneath me; they are the people I fight to protect, and I will die for them sooner or later. But you have to admit it is a very fragile world. And ultimately it is more important to stop people like Magneto or General Zod from destroying what actually it is very fragile civilization than leading a large company.” Pause, “like happened in my world, have I told you about it?”

"I am only too painfully aware of just how delicate and fragile our civilization is, Nathaniel." Emma answers, apparently still unimpressed. Nevertheless, she does finish with one report and pause before going on to the next one, turning to look at him at last, catching sight of the haircut. "That is the shortest I have ever seen your hair. Trying to reduce the number of mullets in the world?" She smirks at her own poor humor and waits a bit, before finally answering, "No. You never shared with me anything about the world you came from. The first Rachel did, telepathically. But not you." She doesn't sound terribly curious, but neither does she sound dismissive. Just honest.

“Nah, Ripclaw’s team has a cyberdoctor and he wanted to see a chunk of alien metal I have in my brain,” he taps his temple with a finger, just over his scars. “I think it is related to the technology Cyberdata uses to control mutants, the more we know the better. Even if I had to shave my head.”
At the mention of Rachel, Nate loses his smirk and nods. “I have seen bits of it too. Rachel’s was a world where mutants and metas lost the war. I come from the… opposed result. In my world mutants won, they exterminated the other superhumans first, then proceeded to attempt genocide on humankind. Know how it ended?” He shows her, at the other side of the window the ruins of New York extend as far as the horizon, scorched buildings, all windows shattered. The rusting remains of vehicles dot the broken streets. Only in downtown are some buildings standing. And they are very impressive, futuristic looking, the largest is a mile tall.
The sky is a bleak thing with low-hanging clouds of grey and dark red, which seem more ash than vapor. And then there is a flash of light at the north, and other, closer, blinding. Huge mushroom clouds follow, and then… all vanishes in a flash of light.
“Humans happened to be ruthless and clever enough to beat all the odds. No survivors from the final nuclear exchange. I escaped only by sheer luck.”

"And will. Tenacity. Power." Emma responds, nodding towards Nate, making clear her opinion that it was far more than merely luck which saw him free of the ending of his world. Of course, Nate doesn't share who or how his world changed, and she does not ask.
"Did the metal inside you help them?" she queries, because she is at least mildly curious, and wonders how it is Nate ended up with said alien metal inside his brain. Not that she needs to know.
"I appreciate you sharing, Nathaniel." Emma comments. "But we have known one another nearly a year, now. In al that time, you've never shared this story with me, until now. Why share it now? What is it you want of me?"

“Has it been a year already?” Nate shrugs, then smirks again, “I got the impression we don’t have much in common despite our powers. Different generation, completely different upbringing, and you are somewhat aloof, Emma. But I think you are quite impressive. You wield your telepathy like a scalpel, not a sword; you keep your cool when most people panics or flies into rage, and you seem to be able to do ten things at once, like keeping total control of this financial empire while working with the X-Men. I am here because I want your help to protect the world.”

The platinum blonde woman inclines her head towards Nate, acknowledging the compliments he has offered, and his point of view. They are not really quite so far apart in age as he thinks, but she doesn't argue, either; they are different enough in their approach to life that it matters little enough. "I admit, Nathaniel, that I want to save the world from what I have seen." She doesn't explain what that is, nor why it compels her so. "That was why, when Elizabeth approached me, I agreed to visit. And that visit … became so much more. Especially after she was hurt by Rachel." Emma shakes her head, just once, clearing those memories from her thoughts. "Saving the world requires resources, Nathaniel. And it requires something more than just power: it requires vision. Direction. The strength and the will to reshape the world in positive ways. Power corrupts." There is a wry twist to her lips as she says so. "It corrupts even the ideals it is employed to support. Without the rest, any attempt to use that power will only lead to another iteration of devastation. And we have been cast off as anathema by those who could have held aloft the light of change, while we defended them."

Nate frowns, still puzzled at what Jean did a few days ago. But there has not been further contact among them, no explanations. “Yeah, hmm… the X-Men had all that, but I told Ripclaw I would help his team to bring Cyberdata down, and I will. It is going to be pretty bloody, but that is the only way to deal with something like them.”
On the other hand, “I think you could return to Xavier’s anytime, Emma. They want you to operate by their rules, and they are not bad rules most of the time. Ultimately, they need your contacts and organizational skills, and you need the raw power they have to change the world. But if you don’t, I’d like to count with you against Cyberdata. They are an international corporation with multiple branches, some legal and other little better than Hydra. They have an army of super-killers, but those we can hunt down and beat up. But they also wield great power and commit all kinds of crimes in the financial world, which is an environment you know and that for me, or for Ripclaw, is pretty much an alien planet.”

"I never promised to play by their pretty rules, Nathaniel. I respect them for their ideals, and I will not sully nor belittle them. But that is not now, nor shall it ever be who I am." There is, perhaps, a hint of sadness in Emma for that truth; a part of her would really like to be able to truly feel a part of something as positive as the X-Men. But she knows who and what she is; her life did not prepare her to be a hero. It just prepared her to be the best. "Ms. Grey made clear her guidelines. I'll not gainsay them, for all I think they were - they are - a mistake. I do not believe I can return."
Emma listens to Nate's plea; it is not dissimilar to what he had to say that day in the safehouse she'd offered for the meeting with Ripclaw. But she hears him out anyway. "I think you know me well enough, Nathaniel, to know that I have no desire to see mutants enslaved and manipulated into weapons to the service of anyone, whatever their agenda. But I suspect my telepathy will be of limited use against cybernetically controlled people. But if you'd like me to look into the financial profile of Cyberdata, I will do so."

“They are not robots,” explains Nate. “They might have some hi-tech defenses, but I think they are still human brains. So far my telepathy has worked fine on them.” But yes, Emma can look into the financial assets of Cyberdata, which is something any of the others can do. “Good. I’ll send you all we know of them, so you can get started,” he adds.

Emma nods. "Very well. Send me what you have, and I will find what I can and get back to you." If the tech can control their minds, she has to believe it will override her telepathy. How could it not? Besides, Nate overpowers minds. His is a blunt instrument, not a scalpel.

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