January 25, 2018:

Prior to leaving Genosha, Pietro seeks out Magneto alone, for a clearer read on his father's nature. Magneto run by Nate.

Hammer Bay, Genosha


NPCs: Some Acolytes

Mentions: Wanda Maximoff, Lorna Dane


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Hammer Bay was a beautiful city six months ago. Well, if you could ignore the slave mutates on the streets, with the tattooed bald heads and the colorful skinsuits. Which to be honest most Genoshans did with very little effort.

There are wide avenues, futuristic skyscrapers, flying vehicles, magnificent parks. Half the ten million humans of Genosha lived in the capital.

Many of the skyscrapers are still there, but the glass windows are dirty, broken. The avenues full of debris, and broken vehicles, both civilian and military. The parks have many dead trees and few flowers bloom, dry patches everywhere, the undergrowth run wild in some areas. Less than a third of the inhabitants of the city remain.

But Magneto's Spire shines over the ruins. A reminder of what it was and could be again. And around the Spire the buildings are being repaired, cleaned and repopulated with free mutates, immigrant mutants and a few humans that were part of the Genoshan Resistance.

Magneto has managed to spare a few minutes from his busy schedule to oversee the rebuilding. In fact he is helping to build a huge steel crane while chatting amicably with a burly foreman with purple skin.

What would take a team of expert workers a few days Magneto can do in ten minutes. Red and white metal modules weighting five tons each fly up and assemble in the air, quickly forming a hundred yards tall structure.

They have already stayed in Genosha longer than Pietro ever intended or expected. But then, despite all the evidence, part of him had still believed they would find this nonsense to all be some elaborate hoax, easily dismissed and easily left behind. While what Wanda was able to glean from Lorna's mind proved, to a certain degree of certainty, their relation, Pietro still remained skeptical enough that he had to see it with his own eyes.

Then they came to Genosha, and on top of the genetic readings… they saw plenty with their own eyes that could not be easily explained away.

Wanda was restless to return to the States, and so was Pietro… but the young man could not fully resist his curiosity, and found some excuses to temporarily stay. The concept of Genosha on its own was an interesting one, even if he didn't find it to be an ultimate solution on its own, and Pietro had some mild interest in seeing what the capital was like. A country is being built here, and by the hand of a man who is apparently his father. That, too, Pietro needed to see with his own eyes, to some degree. To speak to, himself.

Such it is that Magneto might soon see, beyond the foreman he is speaking to, a familiar face among the other mutants in the street. Familiar not because he knows the person to whom it belongs, but because it looks like his own. Pietro is watching the construction of the crane, at first, but as it draws close to completion, his gaze soon lowers back down to the man responsible. He draws closer, at first seeming hesitant to interrupt, though that will likely not last long with his apparent impatience.

There is no immediate reaction from the armored Magneto to his son's presence. Perhaps he is distracted. There are a couple Acolytes and a few loyalist Magistrates in the area, watchful. It seems imprudent on Magneto's part to show himself in the open, during the day. On the other hand he sends a powerful message.

We are rebuilding and not afraid. No one can stop us.

In truth the insurgent presence in Hammer Bay is very small now. Gunshots are no longer common every night. But Zealot's rebels are a growing danger; the mad mutate drawing more and more of his fellow Genoshans through his empathic powers and xenophobic rhetoric.

Right not it doesn't seems Magneto cares about his enemies at all. The foreman steps back, and the old mutant gestures dramatically, the last pieces of the crane falling in place with a resounding clang of steel on steel.

The he looks directly at Pietro and nods. Inviting him to come closer.

The unspoken meessage, delivered via the grandeur of Magneto's presence— it all certainly seems to have an impact on Pietro. On the one hand, the young man struggles with his resentments that he and his sister were left to fend for themselves, over the many years… and on the other, the allure of finally having a father— and such a father— is hard for a young man like Pietro Maximoff to ignore.

There is a small mitigating factor. Magneto claims to have been unaware of the final fate of his wife, unable to find her after she fled. How can a man look for that which he does not know he has? Yet some part of Pietro wonders if Magneto looked hard enough. He has certainly plainly shown his priorities between family and his own work. And everyone agrees: Magneto lies.

Gestured closer, Pietro steps warily in, his eyes moving between the Acolytes that dot the area. His gaze returns to his father a moment later. "My sister and I joined the Brotherhood years ago," he says. "Sheer coincidence. At first, I wanted nothing more than to someday meet you. Then you left us."

He is face-to-face with Magneto now, studying him. "Now I have the chance, and everything I thought I was going to say is different." He is quiet, half a moment. "The Brotherhood is behind you, isn't it? You will not go back to it."

"They don't need me," replies Magneto. "When I began my war we were few," he begins, "a few thousands worldwide. I knew our numbers would grow, but I didn't understand how quickly it would be. I believed we needed to subjugate baseline humanity quickly to have a chance to survive. We needed to be united. So for decades I explored the world, gathering allies, and made many plans and inventions."

He looks at the building they are going to rebuild. It was new, built by slaves less than ten years ago. But it looks old, scarred by energy blasts and gunfire. A crashed flying vehicle of some kind caused part of the top floor to collapse. "When I went to war I expected the opposition of humankind and some metahumans. I didn't expect the opposition of powerful mutants. I had a good friend, a telepath and geneticist of startling intelligence and generous heart. He became Professor X, the founder of the X-Men. He preached peace, but made war with vicious tenacity. What victory would be, Quicksilver, if we had to kill half of mutantkind?"

Rhetoric question, really. "An empty one. An impossible one. We can't fight against our peers and the human hordes at the same time. But then I realized we didn't have to win the war, we merely have to -survive- humankind. The Homo Sapiens will be irrelevant within a century. The Brotherhood is splintered because survival does not require a united front and a single leader, a loose network is enough. No, survival requires local solutions. Every nation is different. Some places mutants need to escape as soon as possible. In others they can survive by hiding. In a few they can live in the open, even if facing discrimination and oppression."

They don't need me, Magneto says. Pietro's mouth thins, as if he were perhaps thinking of some other people that needed him, and who never had him at all.

He doesn't speak to it. Not now. "So survival is your goal," he says. His voice is sharp, but Pietro walks a careful line for now. The Acolytes are watching, and he is not a total fool. "Just to live, by any means possible, until we outnumber humans naturally. My sister and I… we spent all our childhood doing just that. Surviving them— hiding from them— creeping around beneath their notice. I refuse to think that is how we have to do this! I won't keep living in the shadow of humans for another century. I refuse to let their indignitie go. We will take the Brotherhood."

He hesitates a moment before his next words. "When you… our mother… lived in Transia. Where was it? If I could go back, find something…" He looks around, his eyes drawn inevitably to the Spire. "You don't have time for it," he says, his voice tense.

"Not in East Transia," not in the capital. "The slopes of Mount Wundagore. Magda was Romani, her people were nomads, living in the fringes of society." Just like mutants do in most places, of course. If he had stayed with the Rom, living a humble marginal life, maybe his daughter would still be alive. His ambitions, his hunger for learning, and to give a better life to Magda and Anya, was what led him to Vinnytsia.

"I returned to Transia a dozen times," he admits. It was the logical place for Magda to escape and hide. "But the last time was the year the Berlin Wall fell." 28 years ago. Pietro and Wanda are not yet that old.

"Yes, survival is my goal." He repeats. "All threats to mutantkind survival are to be defeated, eradicated. And in doing that the X-Men won't see us as enemies and even the so-called heroes of humankind will have little reason to confront us. Genosha was such a threat. Now it will be a beacon."

"She returned," Pietro asserts. "She must have. That or… whoever took her knew where was meaningful to her. We were raised there. It cannot be a coincidence." The missing span of time is an outstanding puzzle, but of certain things Pietro has no doubt… and one of them is the tendency for injured and frightened things to return home. Or to places where they were once happy.

Perhaps that is why he and his sister have wandered all their lives. There is no such place that qualifies for them.

So far as what mutants must do to survive? There is something in Magneto's response that brings Pietro to draw up short, regarding his father with narrowed blue eyes. He seems as if he wants to say something, but he closes off instead. His head lifts, jaw tightening. "I see," he says.

He takes one step back. "I told Lorna I would help her with her particular concerns relating to Genosha… as I could. As I was able." He half-turns away. "I mean to keep that promise. But we do not need to be here to do that. Thank you for seeing us. But we will leave in the morning."

Magneto nods briefly. "Soon mutants will have two choices," he concludes. "To come here and live in peace or to fight for what is theirs in the places they were born. Both choices are valid. And one of them does not exclude the other. Return as you will, all mutants will be welcomed in Genosha, even if it is only to rest for a while before returning to the war."

Pietro casts a last glance up to the Spire. It shines in the distance, a promise of all the things of which Magneto speaks. Yet dissatisfaction lingers in his gaze, nonetheless.

"I hope once all is finished here," Pietro says, "you will have what you have always wanted, father." Blue eyes meet blue eyes, in another studying look, before Pietro's avert. "My sister and I, we will go fight." If he derived some closure from finally holding a conversation alone with his father, he doesn't share it. Not here.

"We will see Lorna before we leave," he simply concludes, before he turns his back and walks away.

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