Mists Symposium

March 09, 2017:

Barry Allen holds a symposium to share what he's learned of the Mists and gets some feedback from some powerful sources.

Metropolis University

With the founding of the University of Metropolis in 1817, innovative
learning to aid to Metropolis' budding science and technology advancements
arrived.

Located just south of Centennial Park the division of the two starts to
bleed from naturistic back into paved walkways that divide off squared
lanscaping and fountains, checkerboarding the large pathway to the front
doors with trees and shrubbery to not utterly lose the serenity even the
students enjoy between classes.

Several stairs lead upward towards the row of glass doors, a polished gleam
still there amongst the old brick of the build that has withstood the ageing
of time and the mass amout of use. The doors are constantly opening and
closing with the ebb and flow of the student body, but stepping through the
openness is vast, the ceilings high and bolstering the lining of up to date
lighting and technology rimming along the old art deco architecture. Halls
wind all around, breaking from the foyer, numbers and arrows pointing from
signs to direct students toward the correct rooms for their classes, the
main floor the one for the starting classes, and just as you work your way
towards a major or degree, you work your way up those levels via elevator
systems - the top floor harboring the science and technology division.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

One of the conference rooms at Metropolis University is hosting the symposium on the Mists and their affects for the evening. Pacing about nervously near the stage is one Barry Allen - usually the fastest man alive - tonight he's nerd forensic scientist extraordinaire. Taking in his notes one more time, he pushes his wide rimmed glasses up on his nose as he pulls on his vest and makes sure it's straight for the fifteenth time. He really really does not like public speaking.

With others filing into the building, the scientist waits before he takes up the podium, and taps the microphone, causing feedback. He winces. "Uh, sorry about that." he offers, before he gets started.

The next forty five minutes go over what Barry has learned, not only from Mists tained blood, but from testing Mists recovered by the Justice League and others from the ruins of Apocalypse's lab.

The findings are pretty bleak, from the idea of ever.. having a way to fix anything.

The Mists themselves, seem naturally occuring, since the bombs had jumpstarted something in Earth's on atmosphere. They cannot be destroyed or redirected, but seem to be directed only at the main areas of the original attacks, and no further, except on rare weather phenomenom. Which means Storm could possibly redirect a Mist. But noone's tested that yet.

The Mists do have a trigger. From what Barry's figured out, it's the same genetic markers that is seen within the mutant gene, and it is why some are triggered while others are not. While most mutants have the mutation as the /dominate/ gene, this one seems to be triggering a more passive gene. Those that would never know there were mutants, or had such minor powers find themseleves especially susceptible to this.

At this time, there is no reversing or curing someone affected with Mists. Nor did Barry take his research in that direction. Instead, he focused on protecting those that could be affected. But other than avoidance, there seems to be no way to prevent the Mists from triggering a reaction.

Which is as far as Barry can go with his own research - and at this point, he's looking to pass the ball to those that have the PhDs in scientific and genetic fields to find out what the next step is.. and how or should this information be released to the general public.

*

Like Barry Allen, Jean Grey has been spending time studying the mists, albeit with a completely different set of samples and background expertise. She is notable in the room as being one of the youngest and foremost experts on mutant genetics. And her findings aren't vastly different from Allen's, save that her understanding of the differences between the X-Gene and the T-Gene is likely more comprehensive and specific.

As the active conversation begins, Jean nods and places a tablet on the desk before her. "There's a distinct difference between the x-gene, which gives rise to mutations, and the t-gene, which is recessive and must be acted upon by an outside source to manifest. Further, the t-gene seems to actually require the chrysalis process the Mists engender. What we don't know is just how prevalent the t-gene is. Geneticists have generally estimated the x-gene has a 0.01% penetration in the human genome. We have no idea how deep the penetration is of the t-gene, particularly since it seems higher concentrations of the Mists can cause transformation — I hesitate to say 'mutation', per se, although that the broad term for it — even in those without the gene, albeit to a lesser extent and often with far greater chrysalis-stage casualty rates. How many did you say were in your blood drive sample? Is it large enough to be considered representative of the population at large, at least in the US?"

*

Seated next to the redhead and their white haired companion is the red lense wearing Scott Summers, present not so much due to any sort of academic expertise in the fields of genetics, climatology, atmospheric chemistry or physics but simply because he was driving Ororo and Jean tonight and his direct involvement in this situation is exactly that. Direct. The fallout of the Terrigen Mists due to Apocalypse' bombs are an X-Men responsibility, something Scott takes very seriously. Anything helps. It also helps him remember there are more people out there in the world fighting for the gifted of all origin.
For now he reamins quiet, just listening to the exchange. When it comes to the practical Scott will likely have something to say.

Just not yet.

*

She's late. She knows she is. But she had her mtuli-pass (thank you Barry!) and walked in after the conversation was underway. She probably could have gotten in anyway. The legal ramifications of this, after all, are an interesting case study in the making for the Gotham University pre-law student. Figuring out what was up with the mists and how to try to help those affected while keeping Gotham as clear of any more meta humans than it seems have shown up as of late as possible was very interesting to the batling that Stephanie Brown is part time… most of the time.

Semi formal, Barry had said. Which means a simple dress and not one of the gown things she has for when she sometimes gets to make a Wayne event. Not that she's been to one recently. She's not bothered by this. Of the Bats, she has the fewest 'real life' ties to the head of house. Said dress is floor length, strapless and a vibrant red. Reasons.

She walks in, looking for Barry, finding him and fighting the giggle at the adorkableness of the nerd outfit he's wearing. There's a pleasant sweep of fondness for the SHIELD Mists expert. With a gentle smile, the blonde makes her way over, right arm in a sling, with a soft white ace bandage wrapped about her shoulder and part of her upper arm, appearing to immobilize the limb. Despite the dress and the hair style and the make up, Stephanie still looks a little too young for twenty-something she is.

*

"Doctor Grey.. I have read some of your work from both the Institute and while researching this.. I'm honored by your company." Barry offers to the redhead doctor with a smile before he draws out a breath. "Unfortunately, my expertise is only related to the forensics of it - the how and why. Not the cure or treat." he explains. "And for the how and why, I used only a small sample size. A random blood draw from a New York and Delaware university." Barry sighs. "It is a very small sample size, but until large scale testing can be done and funded, it is all I can offer at this time. Though I would be honored if you would consider taking part of the lead on the future of this project, Doctor." he admits with a smile.

"Also, we have to remember the scope of these Mists. It is not just the United States it affects, though that is the scope of what SHIELD is focused upon. It has touched South America, Africa, and various other locations, and those that have the biodomes have found the effects of the Mists there modified - but until we can have a team come back with samples from the region to study, there is nothing I can add on that front, I apologize."

"As I said at the start.. this is not a project to be done solo or alone. It will take a culminative effort. Be it from Metropolis, Gotham, New York.. or beyond Earth itself." he offers quietly. "So, this is more - this is what I know, now my hat's in my hand, who wants to help out." There's a smile that comes with it that's a little nervous, and a little worried.

That is until his eyes fall upon the latecomer, and Barry finds himself paused in his words, positively gobsmacked at the beauty that is one Stephanie Brown. The carefully held index cards he was holding fall to the floor and he doesn't even realize he did it for several seconds, before he finally remembers that little detail called 'breathing' and his cheeks flush red as he ducks down to gather the cards and tries not to keep looking up to stare at Stephanie even more as she approaches. "Uh.. h-hi." he offers finally. This is the same Stephanie that has the Hello Kitty Bedazzled phone, right?

*

Storm had been there, but just as the calm that comes before…

The white haired Nubian is silent, emotionless, those cerulean blue eyes passing between each as she takes in the words of a scientology she has yet to bother with considering who and what she is. Alofted a Fgoddess after being a street urchin, a theif left to no one save a crime-lord and a Shadow. Putting it all in a test tube and shaking to her, is nuclear, and hence she has always had to be ~serene~, still.

Her arrival with Scott and Jean is like the shadow she is clad as, until she slides into her own chai just beside her friend, listening as Jean speaks, and between, that pale brow dips to a resonation, her hand cupping her chin while part of her profile is barred by the mohawk of white veil.

"You already have help, without that hat in your hand. No more need lost or numbered…" A murmur for now, but it can be felt, that light emotion subdued and equestered ithin leather padded chair.

*

Reader was asked to come with some of the other X-Men, he has been sitting here listening to what they have been saying. Sadly one of the outsiders even among his fellow Inhumans hasn't had much to add. "It would be tough to say how man there are. Even the Inhumans themselves are unsure of how many of us have gone out to the world and would have had kids over the years. As well as how many of them have had kids as well. We have been around for hundreds of thousands of years." After that he reaches down and lays a hand on his pet Dog, "I can try to give you some information, but sadly there are going to be things that even I am not going to know."

*

Jean glances briefly at Ororo, giving a small smile to her words. She can sense the emotions and thoughts of those around her, even though her concentration is strong enough to keep them from overwhelming her. She has to smile at the latecomer's affect on their 'host', however. You don't have to be telepathic to see there's a connection there.

Nevertheless, she nods to Reader. "I think we'd all appreciate any information you have to share," she admits. Then, to Barry, "And I'd certainly be happy to discuss a larger project with you later, Mr. Allen."

She frowns faintly, now. "I am more concerned about people without the t-gene transforming, than anything else, given their higher casualty rates. Not that I am unconcerned about anyone else — t-gene or x-gene carriers. In fact, I have some evidence that the Mists are highly detrimental to x-gene carriers; they react far more quickly to its catalytic effects and always adversely."

She glances to Reader again, "Is there any way to safely neutralize the mists, perhaps return them to a more inert state, without making enemies out of the InHumans? I'm given to understand they feel quite strongly protective about the Mists as a matter of course."

*

Of course it's the same Stephanie. The phone is in her clutch. In the false side is the OTHER phone. Just in case. Seeing Barry spaz out has Stephanie smiling and blushing lightly, the clutch tucked into the sling, for easy access, just under the strap from her wrist to her left shoulder upon which a gold pin is clipped. The pin is a single word: SAGE and under each letter are tiny charms. One is a shield with a red cross behind a gold staff upon which two snake twine. Another is a circle with a number: #174. Another is a circle with what looks like a suburst in the middle and in that starburst is a four-leaf clover. Another is silver, an eagle behind a vertically striped shield under the letters GS.

"Hi. Sorry I'm late," she says softly, eyes sweeping over those about the scientist she knows. Though her blue-green eyes seem big and almost vapid, there's no masking the sharpness of her mind from those able to sense such things. She's memorizing faces, and names the moment they are given.

"I don't mean to interrupt. Sorry," she says softly as she 'joins' the conversation, listening with bright attention. Her eyes track each speaker, teeth biting into the inside of her lower lip. A safe way to neutralize the mists, return those affected to an inert state, perhaps their 'previous' state, definitely has the young Gotham girl's attention.

*

"As of yet, we have yet to see someone that wasn't already predisposed to a mutant ability to be affected, Doctor Grey." Barry admits now that he's had a moment to recover. "But as I said.. this is only the start of this research. This could take years.. and much like cancer, there may never be a cure. Or a vaccine." Not that Barry means to compare the two, but it is the most apt comparison. He's a little nerdish at times.

He goes quiet when Jean addresses the Inhuman, moving aside for Reader. "Mister Reader, if you would please take the podium?" he asks as he moves to step aside and goes to stand next to Stephanie, a hand settled on hers for just a moment.

*

Ororo gets a light smile, barely there aside from a tug at the corner of his lips. Reader and Stephanie both get quiet casual glances from Scott but he says nothing. No recognition or acknowledgement to either beyond those looks. His attention is affixed upon the topic and it's two most communicative, Jean and Barry.
"Perhaps too protective." Scott adds. A tone inside of that those familiar with him will recognize. Scott is very much a man of action and right now any course of action he has considered has been argued against by Ororo and discussed to some length with Jean. Likely his ideas of approach as they are will lead to war with the Inhumans. More to reason in needing to be here right now. To find a better solution, any solution. "We need options."

*

Storm has nothing more to add. She has spoken with one side, and is loyal to another who risks casualties.

When Reader speaks that chair leans back with a low groan, allowing space between. The science of it all is not hers, but the matter-of-fact, is, and Scott's word verify it.

"It would be like you all seeking an intervention with my warring tribes in Kenya, and yet not knowing of the factors over millenias between. One has to bear the King's Mane in order to properly court and dominate further lands." A rock forward and Storm's hand lands upon the table before her, hand splaying over the surface and sliding Jean's way (why Jean is 'properly' between herself and Scott), the surface frosts with her words.

"You cannot know a kingdom you do not rule, and we need to learn! Nature cannot be changed without consequence…" The final word of consequence lowers Storm's tone and defrosts the surface.

"Charles would have it no other way." A fold of hands in lap. Legs crossed. Calm, reticant.

*

"I don't agree." Barry says with a frown. "It's more akin to saying that the Black Plague should have been allowed to run it's course, because these Mists have killed - and those it has not killed it has changed irrevocably." the forensic scientist offers with a frown. "While I agree the idea of handling the Inhumans and what they are with.. care, but to allow these Mists to run unchecked is tantamount to saying that it's okay if people die, as long as the right ones get powers. Wholly unacceptable."

*

At Barry's request Reader stands up and walks towards the podium, Forey leading the way for the blind guy. Once he gets there he does the standard thing and clears his throat, it's a rule about podiums, you have to clear your throat. "You must understand the nature of the Terrigen to even attempt to think a decision. This has been our way of life for years. The right of the Terrigenisis is special among my kind. As of right now the only supply of Terrigen that we have are in the mists that are going around the world. By destroying that you would take away something that is viewed as a birthright amongst the Inhumans."

"So by destroying that you would be destroying a way of life for us. And yes there would be those that would not take kindly to that, and it could very well lead to a war between those that had a hand in it, and the Inhumans." He pauses at that one and looks at his dog, "It is possible to see if any of the other Inhumans who were not attacked could help you. I know of two other groups, but sadly I do not think I could help contact them. One of them I am not welcome at anymore. The other I am unaware of I am allowed to go back to anymore."

"The best bet would be to try and find the Royal Family and see if they would help. They would be the best bet in this time." He stops after that, "That covers everything I believe I can help you with."

*

Stephanie's blue-green eyes slide to the frosting of the table. It's mildly discerting, but she doesn't react physically beyond peering at the frost and pressing her softly glossed pink lips together lightly. With the frost retreating and the blind man moving to the podium, Stephanie's gaze shifts, her attention on Reader. The press of lips shifts to a purse as she leans lightly to Barry to offer him her comments in a soft whisper meant to look like she doesn't want to be rude to the speaker at the podium.

"He's got a point, Barry. Maybe the solution isn't end it, but bottle it up?" As for who gets to say who gets to keep it is a completely different arguement. The batling in her is certain that the only person who could be remotely considered responsible and trustworthy enough to keep the mists where they would do the least harm to Earth in general is Batman, but there's that sticky human bit of Inhuman Birthrights. This is a legal nightmare.

*

"I'm not looking to erradicate it.. I guess my examples have been poor.." Barry says with a sigh as he rubs the back of his head as he draws in a sharp breath as even Stephanie seems to turn on him. "But take what happened in Gotham as an example. Left unchecked, the Mists went into Gotham and affected a party there." And then it was used by Joker on many others.

"How do we regulate and control something as fickle as the wind? Do we wall off whole sections of the country? Make a new Mutant Town? Issue gas masks to the general populace? Allow Mists parties where people go into the Mists to see what they may become? There is a lot of fear, and very few answers. And that's what this is supposed to do. Start the conversation for what the answer is." With that, he takes a seat and lowers his head into his hands to sigh. He's been here before. The worry, the fear, the guilt of it all.

*

Jean frowns faintly at Reader's words. They don't actually bode well for their future efforts. She glances to Ororo and her mind opens to her and Scott specifically, including Reader as a courtesy — but not the others, Perhaps we should look for this Royal Family. It's not that she's so much interested in excluding the others as it is she's used to working with the X-Men on such crises and, not knowing specifically about either of the others' alter egos or association, she can only see Allen's SHIELD credentials. She's really not sure she wants SHIELD up to their necks in this. Or up to their necks in X-Men business.

Aloud, she says, "If we cannot effect a cure, and it seems it is as difficult to 'cure' terrigenesis as it is to 'cure' mutation or meta-activation, I believe our efforts are better spent in preventative actions. The Mists are, effectively, a gas. Gasses can be compressed into liquids and, often, further into solids. I'm not a physicist; I'm a geneticist. But, I can't help but wonder if we need to be engineering the mists themselves into a dormant physical state, rather than focussing entirely on biological measures." She looks again to Reader. "I mean, do the InHumans live perpetually in the Mists, or do they rather live in places where they can access them in pockets?"

*

"It may be a birthright but the rest of the world that it is affecting has no clue and doesn't deserve to have it forced upon them, it should be a choice." Scott says. "And I wouldn't go so far as to compare the Mists to warring African tribes or the Black plague, I get the analogies there but this is something new, a crisis we are unfamiliar with. Nothing anyone was prepared for. Doubtul even the Inhumans themselves which makes all traditional rules and standards moot." Or at least it should it Scott's opinion. "Reader, would that be acceptable to your people? To return it to different form as Jean has said? Could we contain it?" Nod to what Stephanie has inquired, "And is that even possible?" A look towards Barry and Ororo.
"If not, we may be left with very little options other than upsetting some very powerful people."

I agree. Reader is our best option on too many fronts. We should keep him close.

*

Stephanie settles into a seat next to Barry, left hand coming up to rest on his shoulder.

"If this is a birthright, it's being misused, preverted. How can you NOT try to help? How can you sit idly by, put your hands up, and cry 'what a shame'?" She asks of Reader, chin lifting stubbornly before Scott speaks and her attention shifts taht way. His calm and thoughtful words seem to soothe the blonde's ire and so she leans forward to offer.

"I saw that party… The one in Gotham," She says suddenly, voice soft but carrying well.

"I saw Joker take some of those affected. Then later… he's turned the mists into ice cream and was trying to give it to children during the Mardi Gras parade," Stephanie adds, eyes seeming hot and angry and scared and disgusted all at once.

"It can be turned into different physical forms. I dont know how. I just.. saw it." Don't ask how, plese don't ask how.

*

Storm's gaze rises from that of her dormant hand upon the table, sliding into her lap and away from contact with others'.

The world was on fire and no one could save me…

But you… "There has been a moment of brief one way contact from a Medusa, and Boltigan." The words are low as the message had been sent earlier, but with the chaos arising and the Mists spreading there was no way to be sure before tonight. "The know of your play in this and with us," A cast of that gaz then to Reader, holding.

"You can go home, to them…" A deep inhale of breath and Storm's head shakes lightly as she plants a booted heel to the floor and -pushes- her chair back in a peeling grind that almost shreds carpeting before Storm stands and seems to "Shadow" the room with a light cmpression while she swallows back anything further and it stills.

"One way can become more." Her eyes rest on Reader. "But they have to know and trust." Loops and rings of her belt do not even resound as Storm takes another step back.

"Bottling it. Sticking it in a glass tube. Saving it in a freezer? It is a scientific out that leads to later demise. How many folls' hands should we play?!" A slam of her hand, but impacting nothing at yet the room goes cold.

"We can change its course. I will change its course! I have lost people I have risen since infancy, and seen blossom in a School I trust in! But I will not permit it to be contained in a glass case, in a Joke. It came in a storm. It will leave in one." A pause and her eyes close. "Please… Reader. Take the offer."

And on her final note, Storm departs.

*

Reader listens to what Jean grey has said, "The mists start out as crystals actually. They are stored in a special chamber, and when it is decided to be exposed to them, they enter the chamber. If you could find a way to return it to the crystal form, or even find a new source that would be acceptable to them I believe. But the recipe for the Terrigen Crystals has been lost to time as far as I know." Then there is a light bulb going off on his head, "There may be a way we can do something. But it would be dangerous, and very risky as well. It has long been lost on how to make more of the Terrigen. If it would be possible to go back in time to try and find out how to make more, would anyone be willing to try that?"

There is another pause after that, he leans down and scritches his dog, who it should be noted has decided to stare at Scott as of right now. He hears what Stephanie has said, as well as Storm, "I am trying to do what I can to help. And I will do whatever is in my power to do so as well. But I am limited in what I can do."

After that is said, he does join the conversation that Jean has started, We can do what we can. I do not wish SHIELD to have that much information on us. I am not sure on how much we can trust them yet. But should you wish, we can try and reach out to a company called Ennilux. They are not happy with me currently, and it would be dangerous for me to go with you. They are a company run entirely by Inhumans, if they believe they can make money out of this, they may be willing to help as well.

Once that is done, he starts to pace on the stage for a little bit, trying to think of any other options.

*

After Storm gives her impassioned speed and storms off, Barry turns his attenton to Reader as he speaks. It seems they have.. something to work with. "Doctor Grey, perhaps we can speak of this another time?" he asks quietly. "It seems that this is going to be a long and ardorous process, and won't end with just us in this room this evening." the scientist offers, feeling to soft weight of Stephanie's hand on his back.

"But as we are at an impasse for the moment, may I suggest we adjourn until we can gather more information and come back together in a few weeks with a possible plan of action to compare?"

*

"Ororo." Scott says firmly, a tone of authority in there that feels misplaced but too natural to just let go of. She is gone. Words dropped and out the door she goes. "You'll have to understand this is hitting her close to home, shes seen quiet a bit of what the Mists have done to people already. She is passionate."
She is acting oddly lately, Jean. We should approach this when we get home.

The chill in the air ignored. Scott pretending it isn't even a thing. Likely no one here expects everyone to be even keel with just exactly what is transpiring nor could they realise it may be more than the AC kicking up.
"Crystals, then, it can be done but time travel? What… " As if almost realizing just now he is here as Scott Summers and not Cyclops he buttons up. Going silent. A reflection of red bouncing off his glasses as he looks sidelong at Jean.
"Probably a good idea, Mr. Allen."

*

As Storm takes her leave, in her own inimitable style, Jean sends out a steadying thought to her, to ease her ire (and the cold in the room). She looks to Stephanie, however. "Ice Cream?" The very thought of what that Joker was doing turns her stomach. How easy would it be to reach out to Gotham and find his permanent 'off switch'? Not as easy as it once was…

She shakes her head, all but hearing Don't ask how! echoing in Stephanie's mind. Strong surface thoughts are hard to ignore. But, she decides not to pursue it further just at this moment — though she does keep a special 'ear' on the girl, now.

She responds to Reader telepathically, however. I agree. SHIELD should not be involved in our affairs. If Ennilux is our best way to contact the InHumans, however, it may be worth the risk to speak with them. Then, to Scott, the subtlest of nods. Yeah. I think we need to. She's had a rough go of it, lately.

She nods to Barry as he offers closure. "I'd be pleased to speak with you." She pulls out a business card with her professional information on it. "Do feel free to contact me." She gives a tight smile. "In the meantime, I will contact some of my colleagues in the physical sciences and see if there's any possibility of enlisting greater help." Like maybe finding a crystallization process that doesn't involve time travel. Most mundane scientists would have laughed Reader out of the room at that, but the fact that no one here batted an eye at the suggestion is far, far more telling.

*

That sudden chill has Stephanie shivering. Shivering so her shoulders hunch. Both of them. And to Jean's special ear there's not a flicker of discomfort at the motion aside from the shulder's movement beinf restricted. She just nods to Jean's disguist of ice cream, as she lowers her blue yees to keep anyone from seeing: the flickers of memory, of the ice cream truck on the street below, of Punchline laying there with her eyes open in a likely self-drugg-induced attempt at sleep. She turns into Barry, as if to hide from the cold rather than from the anything else. This one is not used to dealing with telepaths at all, mind determined but not disciplined into silence.

With everyone deciding to go seek further contacts before reconveyining, Stephanie urges Barry from his seat, with him thanks everyone, and makes her way out with him. Jean would hear how she seeks to turn her mind to other things, like worrying over Barry and busying itself with asking if he's hungry.

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