Strays

June 02, 2016:

Roberto brings a wayward new mutant to the Xavier Institute and runs into a wayward former mutant, Jubilee.

Xavier's Institute

Xavier's Institute grounds are located on 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Westchester County between Graymalkin Lane itself and Breakstone Lake (30 miles outside of NYC itself). A large portion of this is acres upon acres of woodland forest. To the farthest eastern portion of the Institute's grounds there is a stretch of low foothils.

Upon entering the Institute grounds immediately past the heavy gated entrance one finds themselves on a carefully paved road that splices in two directions, west and east.

The west leads to the School for Higher Learning where gifted youngsters are educated and taught to use their unique talents. Here almost year around children and teachers are housed.

To the east miles away lies Xavier's Mansion where Professor Xavier himself and some faculty members of the school live. These "special" individuals are those aware of Xavier's more clandestine operations, the adminstration and training of the X-Men.

Beyond the neatly walled mansion's yard in those foothills is an obscure landing strip that leads to a hangar complex and a subtly hidden facility. A facility that houses underground sublevels, a danger room, Cerebro and the training halls of one of the most advanced mutant fighting teams in the world.

Characters

NPCs: OC homeless mutant (Tempest, possibly)

Mentions: Magik

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Despite being a well-known alumnus, Roberto da Costa doesn't visit Xavier's School all that often. Actually, it's because he's a well-known alumnus: specifically, a well-known mutant who happens to be an alumnus. The administrators of the school don't want its name associated publicly with high-profile mutants, to protect the privacy of the student body. Sunspot might not necessarily agree that such a precaution is necessary, but he respects Xavier's wishes on the matter.

Well, mostly. Well after standard curfew, a crackling disc of arcane energy bursts into being on the school grounds and disgorges two figures. Roberto is looking disgruntled and worse for wear, his bespoke suit sporting a fresh set of scuff marks and charred holes. Over his shoulder, he's carrying what appears to be a homeless girl, unconscious. Her grubby face is streaked from crying — oh, and her skin is bright yellow.

"Ei!" the Brazilian mutant yells into the darkness. "Who's here? X-Men Assemble, or whatever! I need some help now, before she wakes up!"


Ok, so.

Jubilee was /technically/ not an X-Man anymore. I mean - Jean and Scott both agreed, once upon a time, that a bloodthirsty monster would be bad to have around children, even if Jubilee promised to be good, and well, uh. Jubilee kinda didn't want to anyways because she didn't have sparkle powers anymore, and she kinda had to find her thing, and… all sorts of stuff.

But that doesn't mean that sometimes at night, she didn't kinda… sit outside of the manor grounds and kinda watch the manor. And she took the sign that Professor X didn't mindblast her, or the defenses coming up as a good sign. She was still trusted by /someone/. Unless she was just that good, and that sneaky.

ANYWAYS she was doing that right now. Game boy (old school edition) with Pokemon in her hands, the tinny bitmusic announcing her presence quietly into the night, where she kinda squatted atop a tree branch. Although the presence of 'berto brought her eyes up from Game Boy to Fire Boy, and his companion, when… he needed help? With a final glance to the mansion, she kinda leaps forward from the trees, executes a perfect forward flip (gymnastics was super easy when you were a vampire), and lands nearish 'Berto.

"Hey!" she says. "Jubilee. Used to go to school here, I'm kinda in the area, visiting. Uh… what kinda help do you need?" she asks, kinda sniffing the air as she looks towards the unconcious one.

The tinny music was still playing from her coat pocket. Like hell she was going to turn it off in the middle of a Team Rocket fight.


When Roberto sees Jubilee, a look of profound relief crosses his face. "Madonna, am I ever glad someone's still awake," he says, tilting his head to indicate the girl over his shoulder. "She showed up at my building, wanting to see the X-Men, but before we could get to her, her powers went maluco. I don't think she has any control over them." It's pretty well known that the public X-men team, Red, is partly sponsored by Roberto's company, so a lot of mutants who need help turn up there. That doesn't always end well.

"She pretty much wrecked the waiting room before we could knock her out," the Brazilian explains. "I need to get someone to keep her powers in check so we can talk to her. Is the Professor awake? Do you have brain powers?" Her perfectly executed flip suggests a more physical skill set, but Roberto has met people with some pretty unusual power combos. It's not out of the question.


"Yeah, I'm kinda on the night shift around here," says Jubilee, kinda jerking a thumb towards the school. She had little red eyes, and sorta points to her ears - but there was always weirdness around mutants, wasn't there? And how dangerous could someone wearing a yellow slicker be?

Regardless of such things, it didn't seem like Roberto was too scared of her. That kinda made Jubilee a little more excited. "So, uh… she showed up at your company, and when you say 'maluco', I guess you don't mean the happy kind of maluco?" she asks.

"And naw, I don't have brain powers," she says, kinda scurrying over towards the side of the fallen woman. "But I can help ya get her into the… uh… holding cells really quick?" she asks. Yeah, maybe the jail wasn't the best option. But didn't that place have like… power shields and stuff like that? Jubilee reaches her fingers, complete with pointy claws, towards the young woman, intending to pick her up and kinda lift her over her shoulder. Fireman's carry, yo.


Roberto willingly relinquishes his passenger. Jubilee's obviously got the strength to handle her, and he blew most of his solar reserves helping to subdue the homeless mutant. Without a sunbathing session to recharge, if he pushes his powers any further, he's going to pass out.

"Obrigado," he tells Jubilee gratefully. If he has noticed any unsettling themes to the oddities of her appearance, he hasn't been rude enough to ask about them. "I was thinking we could put her in the holding cells, or maybe the Danger Room. But it's not a good idea to teleport straight in there — you never know what you'll run into." He hooks a thumb over his shoulder at the spot where the harsh circle of light that he arrived in has diminished and disappeared. At least Magik's mystic portal will prevent anyone from tracing him to the school.

The young CEO starts running toward the building a bit ahead of Jubilee, ready to open doors for her. He's an excellent runner, but without using his powers, even a burdened vampire will have no trouble keeping up with him. "Definitely not the happy kind of maluco," he says as they run, continuing their conversation by answering her question. "She's terrified. She barely knows what's going on. I felt the same way when I first got my powers. We just need to get her somewhere safe where she won't hurt anyone while she calms down."


"Yeah, I could get that," says Jubilee. "I'd be afraid of the Danger Room, though - in case, you know, someone turns it on to warm it up for a morning fight session," she says. Jubilee was carrying her easily for the time being, and when she passes through one of the doors, she gets kinda a sheepish look on her face and demeanor. Kinda hunching up a bit.

But she knew where she was going, at least, in the mansion.

A step behind Roberto at most doors, Jubilee kinda bites her lower lip with a fang, eventually reaching the elevator as they zip through the mansion. Bringing up a gloved hand, she kinda hits the 'down' button, and turns to wait for Roberto, kinda adjusting the woman on her arm. "She doesn't have… I dunno - fire powers, does she? That would kinda suck. For reasons," she says.


"Fire? No," Roberto answers, looking puzzled and preoccupied. He hovers by the elevator controls, repeatedly tapping the button for the sub-basement as though that will get them to their destination any faster. "It was this sort of black smoke stuff, but it hit like it was solid, and it was swirling all around the room like a tornado. Why would you think…?"

He glances down at his charred suit; black-edged holes reveal one bare shoulder, a good portion of his stomach, and his left side from armpit to thigh. His right leg is almost totally bare, as a high part of the pant leg burned away, leaving all of the fabric below itself to fall around his ankle like a leg warmer.

"Ah," he says, somewhat embarrassed. "No, I'm the one with the fire powers." With a note of resignation, he adds, "I lose more suits that way."

Finally, the lift dings and deposits them in the more secure underground area of the school. Forgetting his wardrobe woes, Sunspot darts out into the corridor, toward the holding area. "Okay, no Danger Room, then. We'll just have to stay with her so that she doesn't think she's actually being imprisoned."


The young woman groans a bit, shifting on Jubilee's arm.

Jubee's eyes kinda grow wide, and she looks to her, as she shuffles into the elevator. "Yeah huh," says Jubilee, with a distracted air of someone holding an atom bomb on their shoulder. Potentially. "You don't have a fireproof suit? That's gotta suck," says Jubilee.

"I mean, that's kinda like an electric guy wearing a water… suit…" she says, crinkling her nose. That metaphor wasn't really working. Following him with a newfound urgency, Jubilee was darting after him, ducking low to the ground as she kinda sprints with the woman bouncing on her back.

"Uh huh," she kinda intones to the last thing he says, before she adds. "Do you have holding room access? I don't, for.. uh… reasons," she says. Actually, she probably did, but it would be goofy to assume such things considering her vacation from the loving arms of Xavier's.


"You seem to have a lot of Reasons. My code should work — I sort of founded the Red Team," Roberto answers quickly. As they both dash down the corridor, he answers her other question: "I have a fireproof X-Men outfit, but I wasn't wearing it at work. That would be pretty distracting." He skids to a stop at the decimeter-thick holding area door and starts punching in a pass code. "I mean, it's not distracting because it's a superhero outfit. Lots of superheroes work with me. It just, uh, it doesn't have a shirt." He pauses halfway through the code, looks at Jubilee, and gives her a sheepish shrug. "It looks great in news footage, honest — it's just kind of weird around the office."

Three button presses later, the door slides open and interrupts the awkward silence with a smoothly synthesized "Welcome, Mr. da Costa."

Roberto steps through, glances at the cells, and points at an open one. "Certo — let's get her in there." He looks even more worried about Jubilee's passenger than Jubilee does, which is worrying, since he's the one who has seen her pwoers in action.


"So did Earth, Wind, and Fire, and no one gives them grief about it," grouses Jubilee a bit. But regardless of such things, she makes a little snort. "Well, hey, as long as you keep in shape, that should be fine, right?" says Jubilee in regards to his shirt, a slyness touching her features.

"And who knows - office morale might get better or something, right?" offers Jubilee with a wryness, kinda flicking her forefinger his way to indicate him.

But the door was open, and Jubilee steps in first, moving towards that cell - and she gently… /gently/ moves to lay her upon the padded bed in there, falling into a crouch by the bed proper. "So what do you do around the office? Are you one of those millionaire bigwig types?" asks Jubles.


Roberto snorts. "Between my age and my mutancy, I have enough trouble getting corporate types to take me seriously. We probably don't need to add 'office exhibitionist' to the list," he answers. Then, a teasing smile growing on his own face, he adds, "I mean, sure, it would be good for morale — but that's practically cheating. I like to challenge myself by doing things the hard way."

As he pulls up a display to check their guest's vitals, Roberto continues, "I inherited my pai's company, yes. Da Costa International is a huge industrial and shipping company — dominant in Latin America, and strong all over the world." He shrugs and adds, "I added the Red Team onto the top of that to show how mutants could succeed, not just by hiding their powers, but by embracing them — finding new, better ways to do tasks with our abilities."

He trails off, flashes a photo-spread grin, and says, "Sinto muito. I sound like a recruitment ad."

Suddenly, the girl on the cot shudders, and starts to emit plumes of dark smoke from her hands and nose. They aren't doing anything destructive yet, but Roberto takes a step back all the same.


A snort from Jubilee too. Bringing up her hand to her sunglasses, she tugs them up into the mop of unruly black hair she had atop her head. "So you'd be taken less seriously, but it would be cheating," says Jubilee at that, the edges of her lips tugging up at the paradox. She doesn't push the matter though - not too badly.

"So hey, I get why you don't, then," says Jubilee. The woman tended to move smoothly - with an air of a wolf hunting a rabbit or something. Even if such a feeling to her demeanor was blunted by her wry grin. "That sounds amazingly corporate, but… hey - if you're based in Latin America, what brought you to the good ol' USA?" she asks a bit. Another beat though.

"So what makes the Red Team different from… well… the X-Men here? I guess I left before all that became a thing," says Jubilee.

At his admission, though, Jubilee brings up a hand, thumb and forefinger held slightly apart. "A little bit like one, but that's not a bad…" He steps back, she steps back, Jubilee kinda twisting around to face the other young woman proper. "Hey, uh… good morning! Careful with the smoke, alright?" she calls out.


Roberto holds up his hands in a placating gesture. "Hello! It's okay, you're safe. We're not going to hurt you," he says in a calm, soothing voice that doesn't reveal any worry. But as the girl's eyes flutter open, she sees the smoke and starts to wail in fear. Responding to her emotion, the fog starts to whirl around her like a tempest.

"Run away! I can't control it!" she cries out, scrambling toward one corner of the bed. Roberto glances at Jubilee and then nods toward the door, backing toward it himself.

He doesn't miss a beat with his reassurances, though. "That's fine," he tells the stranger. "We're mutants. We've brought you to a place where your powers won't hurt anyone or do any damage. We'll be waiting right outside until you can get it under control. You can still talk to us through the intercom."

Crying, the girl doesn't answer. Roberto steps outside, waiting for Jubilee with his hand on the button that will close the hatch.


The wailing was what caused Jubilee to jump up and back - putting distance between herself and the girl. Run away, she can't control it? Jubilee was quick to give her space - although, Roberto's calmer motions did good to keep her own jumpiness under control. Running her tongue over her lips in a nervous gesture, she calms though, as the smoke grows a little more robust.

It didn't seem /so/ bad.

"Mmhmm. I think we all went through this moment, the same as you. You freak out a little, and then slowly, slowly, you start to get confidence in controlling it. Play with it a little bit - play with the smoke, and stuff. It's a part of you, and it's gonna be amazeballs, promise," says Jubilee, not wasting any time in getting through the door, either.

Resting against the wall beside the cell, on the outside of the thing, she nods to 'berto, and gives him a fangy grin. "…that was exciting," she says. "I kinda miss that - haven't been in the mansion for a while."


"You haven't?" Roberto asks, puzzled. "I mean, you said you were visiting. Did you just get here?" He doesn't sound suspicious, just confused. "I didn't mean to interrupt your arrival with all of this drama. But yeah — never a dull moment for an Xavier's graduate."

There's a thump from inside the cell. A small speaker next to the door cuts in with, "Hello, are you still there? Did I hurt you?"

Roberto thumbs the intercom button and answers, "Yes, we're just outside. Go ahead and cut loose as much as you need to, and let us know when it dies down. Like she said — we've all been there."

He glances at the door with a sympathetic expression, then turns back to Jubilee and releases the intercom button. "Sorry. You were asking about me leaving Brazil? I came here to go to the school. I was pretty young, and mutants were still really secret and really scary."


"I mean, uh…" Okay, it was a little suspicious. "But… yeah, I /used/ to come here, but…" Jubilee kinda brings up a hand, scratching at the side of her neck. "Something happened - you know - mutant drama, and I kinda felt I have to leave. So I kinda just… hang out outside of the mansion and kinda dream sometimes. But hey, every so often, I can come in handy again!" says Jubilee, snappointing back towards Roberto, grinning even wider.

The intercom exchange happens, and Jubilee goes to the porthole leading into the cell, giving a wide grin and a 'peace' sign with fore and middle fingers extended and stretched apart.

"Yeah, she still looks pretty scared in there," she says, kinda flopping back into her original position by the cell door, looking across towards 'Berto. "And I hear that. It's kinda sad that there's like… just this one place for mutant kids to come to. What about… people stuck in the middle of Urugay or something? They have to fly allllll the way out here just to go to school?" she says.

"…er… which you did, I guess. Was it worth it?"


Roberto pauses for a second before he answers, but when he answers, it's decisive: "Yes, it was worth it. Plenty of bad things have happened to me since I came here, but all of the great things that weigh against that — my closest friends, my mentors, my company, my team — none of that would have been possible without this school." He pauses, then laugh, like he's letting her in on a joke. "Hell, coming here meant I got away from my pai for a while. That wasn't a bad thing."

"That said, I wouldn't worry too much about the drama," he continues. Roberto understands completely about that, at least: he was a storm of the stuff as a teen — mostly self-inflicted. And Lord knows his X-friends manage to get into tiffs and feuds with surprising regularity. "Xavier's School might be a family you choose, but it is just that: a huge family, with all of the drama and dysfunction that word implies," he says with a winning smile. "I'm the last person to judge anyone for family drama. Not to mention, you were very helpful today. If there's someone I should put in a good word with, let me know."


A nod of her head, and a knowing smile. "Yeah," Jubee says, accepting Roberto's first explanation. "This place is full of opprotunities, but I think… you're also right with the second point you make," says Jubilee, with a wider grin.

"You like family for their good points, and love 'em for their flaws, and we have a whole lot of flaws around here," she says. "And eh, 'Berto, that's fine about the good words. We got some people who try to bring me back, and others who don't want to see me around again, cuz of what I am," says Jubilee.

Which was… a little ironic, come to think of it.

"Started as a mutant, but… I'm a vampire now," says Jubilee. Had she been inching towards the door? Yes. Was she through it with that shocking(?) revealation. Double yes. It would be easier for her to handle, not seeing the reaction the guy had. Heck, if he chased her with fireballs or something, that would be a great answer too.

What might suck for her batman-style getaway? She still had to wait for the elevator. But maybe he wouldn't chase her. She jabs the up button with a vengeance, grumbling.+log/

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