Still In The Basement

June 06, 2016:

Roberto drops by Xavier's to check in on Alli and runs into Nate and Rachel.

Xavier's Institute


NPCs: Alli the OC mutant



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Roberto da Costa is among the best-known Xavier Institute alumni. However, because he's also one of the best-known mutants in the public eye, he doesn't get to visit much, and then only discreetly — the school's anonymity protects its student body, and that anonymity can't survive too much contact with the paparazzi-bait public mutant who most often plays spokesman for the X-Men Red Team.

Still, the Brazilian does have business he needs to attend to at Xavier's this afternoon, and so it is that a glaring arcane portal suddenly bursts into existence in a basement hallway adjacent to the containment area. He extrudes into the tunnel, then the harsh light of Limbo shutters, and he casually adjusts the knot in his tie. Dressed in a bespoke business suit with only minor nods to current trends, he looks the part of the CEO (for once).

Nate used to spend much more time in the X-Bunker, but that was before X-Black had to move out of Xavier's. There are still a couple reasons to return, though. The Danger Room is one and his stubborn not-sister Rachel Summers (Grey!) is the other. He keeps trying to get her out of the basement. But every time he succeeds something catastrophic happens.

Just bad luck, damnit! "You know, I am not going to waste Danger Room with basketball, so get out into the court outside. Weather is getting really nice and you are going to become a Morlock or something if you do…" he steps out of the control boot and spots Sunspot, and the man is definitely familiar. Pause. "Roberto DaCosta. Isn't he X-Red?"

Rachel - at least as 'Rachel Grey' - is also someone that's known to the world at large. Unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. So while Rachel is living on the premises, she can't really be seen to be living on the premises. At least not until she manages to deal with the legacy that her predecessor left for her.

As a result, Rachel's where she finds herself most days. Lurking in the basement. And arguing with her sort-of brother.

"I KNOW the weather's getting nice up there. That's why I want to bring it DOWN HERE!" There's a distinct hint of exasperation in Rachel's voice as it follows Nate out of the control room. "Even if someone doesn't shoot at me, a mutant terrorist using the basketball court isn't the best advertisement for this place. And I'm NOT wearing a wig!" Despite the testiness in her tone, Rachel's not really that angry. Just bored and a bit frustrated. She has to dodge to one side as she emerges into the corridor and Nate stops in his tracks. Blinking away the afterimages from the glowing portal, Rachel shoots Nate a 'you're asking me?' look, then shrugs. "No alarms. I'm taking that as a good thing."

Roberto makes a quick quarter-turn, about to head toward his destination, but then notices Nate and Rachel staring at him. Someone teleporting into Xavier's basement is, he suddenly realizes, highly irregular, and might be mistaken for an aggressive intrusion. Too far away to hear their conversation, he quickly puts his hands up by his shoulders, palms out, and calls out in his distinctive Brazilian accent, "Just a friendly alumni visit!"

Hoping this reassurance will forestall any defensive response, he walks toward them, lowering his hands and favoring them with a warm smile. "Roberto da Costa," he introduces himself, glancing over the both of them. Nate he doesn't seem to recognize; when he examines Rachel, however, his friendly expression breaks for a second into a more searching one. It's just possible that he does recognize her — or at least, her predecessor.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," he continues, smoothly glossing past this momentary concern. "I'm just here to visit a girl I dropped off the other day."

Nate eyerolls at Rachel, quickly, and turns to Roberto. "No, not at all. Yeah, I know who you are. Welcome back, I guess. This is Rachel, the new Rachel, not the old one that got into trouble with the US government. Despite that, she lives in the basement. I am Nate Grey." He offers his hand to shake. "You dropped a girl down here? Was she injured?" Because why else would he bring someone down here instead to the nicer school complex or the mansion?

Rachel's looking at the newcomer, so she doesn't catch Nate's eyeroll. Not that she wouldn't have been expecting it. It's not a new argument they're having, after all. No, she's waiting for something - and there it is, the flash of recognition, the change of expression, and Rachel feels herself wince.

She doesn't get much time to worry about what history 'she' might have with Roberto, because Nate's already forging ahead with introductions. Introductions that earn him a sharp look. "You make me sound like a troll." She complains, but there's a slight twitch at the edges of her lips that suggest she's more amused than she sounds. "Hi." She offers to Roberto, with a small wave, then stuffs her hands in the back pockets of her jeans, attempting not to fidget.

Roberto extends a hand reflexively toward Nate, but then freezes in place as he processes what the man just explained about Rachel. "Wait — you have an problem duplicate, too?" he blurts out, staring at her in surprise. "Small world! Is yours still kicking around finding ways to embarrass you, or is she out of your hair?"

That the Brazilian can not only come to grips with such a bizarre situation, but find it relatable, probably doesn't say good things about how X-men manage their personal lives. "Just so you know," he tells her, leaning in sympathetically, "I thought I had to live like an exile for a while, too. Whatever you are worried about, I'm guessing it's a much bigger deal to you than it is to anyone else."

After a moment, he turns back to Nate and finally answers his question (and completes the handshake). "She's not injured, no — she just has powers she can't control yet. She did a real number on part of my building before we could get her moved here and contained," he explains. "I stayed around until they wore themselves out, but she felt safer staying in the containment room, where she couldn't damage anything if they went malucas again."

"Duplicates? No… yes…" Nate handwaves. "It is complicated and it is related to the family ability to time travel and cross into other dimensions. I won't try to explain without a bottle of tequila at hand." Containment room?

They do have a containment room somewhere. Nate vaguely remembers from the first day tour. But he was worried about the bomb in his girlfriend's head, so wasn't paying much attention. "Oh, lead on. Maybe Rachel can make a friend and stop abusing the Danger Room."

Rachel starts to frown as Roberto stares at her, but the expression is wiped away - an incidentally her eyes widen quite a lot - by what he comes out with. "What?" She says, before she can rally her thoughts, then shakes her head and manages something a bit more coherent. "Seriously? It's not just me?" She looks suspicious for a moment, her eyes flickering toward Nate and back again, before she decides Roberto probably isn't just trying to wind her up. "Complicated. That's a good word for it. And she might be. I haven't tried to look her up. Honestly…" Rachel winces again. "Considering the stuff she did? She's not someone I really want to meet." She shrugs. "Which I guess is a horrible thing to say about… yourself." Rachel's actually smiling now, although the expression turns a bit rueful after Roberto gives his pep talk. "Tell that to the guys who keep trying to kill me." She says, but the smile doesn't disappear. "Thanks, though." She tells him, and sounds like she means it.

"And basketball is NOT abusing the Danger Room." She adds for Nate's benefit.

"De nada," Roberto answers sincerely, waving one hand in a dismissive gesture and smiling. He seems to take the allusion to temporal and dimensional shenanigans in stride. "I understand having those mixed feelings about yourself. My clone doesn't even have the decency to be properly evil, Deus me ajude — he just doesn't have much self control. If he were totally awful, I could hate him. Instead, I mostly end up feeling bad about our similarities."

His expression changes to a slightly wistful one as he adds, "I do try to keep tabs on him. Last I heard, he was running around the Southeast Asian underground, trading in sketchy currencies and using my name to get into all the good nightclubs." He describes this the way some people might talk about a month-long spa stay: so indulgent that it borders on indecent, but tempting nonetheless.

After just a second, he refocuses, nodding at Nate. "Certainly. She's right this way." He beckons the others down the corridor, making just a couple of turns before heading through a thick, secure hatch. Xavier's does, in fact, have a small containment facility, with a couple of ultra-durable cells. 'Berto strides up to one, knocking politely on the door. "She said her name was Alli," he says, for the others' benefit.

After a second, the cell door swishes open, and a young teen with hazard-yellow skin peeks out. "Oh, hi again, Roberto. No storms yet today," she says, sounding proud of herself. "Who are they?"

It is not clones, it is alternate temporal… nevermind, there is no tequila so he is not explaining. Nate follows Roberto with a smirk. "It is a combat simulator and usually in high demand, Ray. You use it to recreate what you have a hundred yards above? I call that abuse. And also silly." He could go on, but he doesn't want to freak out a mutant that needs to be contained down here. "Hi, I'm Nate," he greets, from behind Berto.

Rachel, also, is not about to correct Roberto. Clones, time travel… there are two of her running around, there are apparently two of him running around… it's close enough! Laughing, she falls in with the others. "I think I could handle another me who was a party girl." Rachel looks thoughtful for a second or two, then shrugs, a small smirk touching her lips. "In fact, I'd be willing to give it a try…" She says, half to herself. She really hasn't had chance to get out much since she got here, after all!

Roberto's intervention has lifted her spirits enough that Nate's needling isn't getting close to puncturing her good mood. "You say it's a combat simulator, but you wouldn't play one on one." Rachel says in a complacent tone, shooting Nate a challenging look. It hasn't worked before, but that's no reason to give up.

Rachel pulls her hands out of her pockets when they get to the containment block, although as she looks at the cells the light in her eyes dims a bit. At least she's not IN one. "Hey." Rachel nods to the younger woman. "Rachel." She offers her name, and a smile, conscious that they're three-on-one right now.

For his part, Roberto leaves the description of his clone's missteps at excessive partying, not wanting to bring down the mood. Instead, he glances over at Nate, his expression amused. "Certo, of course. Nobody has ever used the Danger Room to simulate anything frivolous. That is definitely not a thing multiple members of my graduating class learned hacking specifically to do." He turns and actually waggles a finger at Rachel, looking like he's on the verge of laughing the whole time.

The young girl who is apparently staying in the cell here looks back and forth between the newcomers, then says, "I'm Alli. It's nice to meet you. But you should probably stay outside in case things get scary again." Her voice starts off timid, but she quickly grows bolder. "Are you X-men, too? What's a Danger Room?"

Yeah, everyone is guilty of some misuse of the Danger Room, Rachel was twice as bad, because: "Sure. But simulating the school sports court instead of going there, which takes ten minutes? Do not encourage her, man."

Nate sighs, shaking his head. "I can stay here, no worries, Alli. We are X-Men, yep. And the Danger Room is the nickname of a training area. Cool place with solid light technology. You will see it soon, I guess."

Rachel tried to assemble a look of contrition on her face when Roberto waggled that finger at her, and almost succeeded until Nate complained. Then she had to try very hard not to laugh. "Too late." She told her brother of sorts in a smug tone, before turning her attention fully to Alli.

Rachel nods her agreement with Nate's words, but tries to add some reassurance of her own. "Just don't ask to play basketball in there." She tells Alli in a conspiratorial tone. "Nate's not a fan." She grins, then adds, "We won't crowd you, but we're good with scary. You don't need to worry." She tilts her head to one side. "What happened?" She asks, although her eyes slide across to Roberto for a moment, as if asking whether asking the question is a good idea.

"True," Roberto nods sagely at Nate, then turns to Rachel. "If you use the Danger Room, you should definitely use it to simulate the World Cup of basketball — cheering fans and all. Go big or go home." His questionable knowledge of American sports notwithstanding, he sounds like a man who knows how to unlock more than a few athletic fantasy fields on the simulator.

Alli does her best to look like she's following the conversation, but terms like 'solid light' aren't really registering, and she seems a little starstruck by a trio of X-men just standing around having a chat about sports in her presence.

When Rachel asks her a direct question, though, the teen straightens up and answers in a deeply serious voice, "I don't really know. I was at school and I started to breathe out this sort of smoke stuff, and it was circling around me and I got really scared. Then it started moving faster and it was knocking people over and smashing stuff, so I ran away. As soon as it went away I took the subway to the X-men building and tried to get in to see somebody, but it was taking too long and people were staring and it started happening again."

Roberto nods and elaborates, "It seems like a sort of telekinesis, but it takes a visible, physical form. Really powerful, too. It's definitely triggered by emotion, but since it looks so scary, it just spirals, getting more and more extreme until she's exhausted."

"Oh, that seems right up our alley," Nate glances to Rachel. "We could wait for Jean or Xavier, but is it really necessary? You can run an evaluation at the DR, right? And we are both telekinetic, so we know how it works." He glances at the young girl. "You want to see the Danger Room? One of the good things is you can cut loose there and not cause any real damage." Glance to Ray, "much better than basketball, if you ask me."

As Alli straightens up, Rachel leans casually against the wall. She doesn't want this to feel like an interrogation. She still listens with interest though, nodding a couple of times as Alli speaks in case she needs to be coaxed in order to keep going. "You did the right thing. Sorry it took so long." Rachel's sure she's been told that already, but… she's recently been reminded how important it is to be reminded that something's not your fault.

Rachel exchanges glances with Nate, and nods in agreement. She's definitely willing to help, and, well, this sounds like something she can do that's actually useful. While he's explaining his idea, she's digging around in her pockets until she fishes up a handful of loose change. It's pretty much all the money she's got, but she's about to use it for the greater good. She weighs it in her hand thoughtfully, then uses her telekinesis to pick the coins up and send them spinning around in a circle, then a figure of eight, then more complex patterns before dropping the coins neatly back in her upturned palm. And the whole time, she kept looking at Alli. "Come on. Your turn. And Nate's right, you can't damage anything in there." She grins. "And if it's not any fun, we can always play basketball."

Alli reaches out to take the coins, staring at them in wonder, then at Rachel. "You're sure I won't be able to hurt anybody? Or break anything? I don't want to cause any trouble…" she says, her words hesitant but her voice tentatively hopeful.

"The Danger Room can take it," Roberto says with a confident smile. "I spent years going wild with my powers in there, and it never did any harm. Go get your training uniform on, and Rachel and Nate can show you the way to the Danger Room."

Grinning, Alli runs back into her room, the door shutting with a low thunk behind her. "Obrigado — I'm glad I ran into you," Roberto says to his remaining companions. "I was hoping she could meet with some people with similar powers. The more normal she feels her powers are, the less scared she will be of them, and the easier it will be for her to relax and learn control."

He pauses and glances upward, a rueful smile crossing his features. "There is a bit of admittance paperwork to take care of. I'll go upstairs and see to it, if you don't mind helping Alli. I owe you — thanks again." His smile shifts into a more genuine one, and he adds, "If you're ever in Manhattan, drop by DCI and say hello."

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