Bruises

May 03, 2018:

Piotr asks for Kitty's computer help in hacking into finding out more about Trask's mutant dampening collars.

Piotr's Studio

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Illyana, The Guardians, Trask

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Last night was … a mistake. Trying to work out his frustrations over a complex issue like registration and the brotherhood winning the hearts and minds of the population of District X can not be solved with punching. Which is too bad, because really Piotr prefers all problems be solved with punching. And not only did it not solve his problems but now he's actually … sore? He forgets that so many of his teammates are so often hurt and injured in fights because it's such a rare occurence for him.

But here he sits in his studio on the large couch, thankfully Piotr sized, with an ice pack on his shoulder and his phone in his hand. Scrolling through message boards and new articles about Trask causes a small figurative light bulb to occur to Piotr.

How?

How did they know that the collars worked?

Piotr finds himself texting at a speed that for once Illyana or Rachel would not mock as glacial.

Kitty, I need your help with an important project.

The fact that he is bruised and nursing a sore shoulder, and basically hiding out from his fellow X-Men is forgotten in his excitement. These collars must have been tested. These bastards are probably doing experiments on mutants and metas. Why did this not occur to him sooner?

*

Through luck of the moment, Kitty is with the Guardians in the Triskelion that night and not babysitting Groot. The text from Piotr waits a few moments before it is answered. While she may not be babysitting, she is with the Guardians and that tends to involve some sort of watching and/or refereeing. Once she's actually able to check her messages, she immediately replies.

Her own interactions with the collars has been minimal. The registration bill? Well, that is a totally different story. Comfortably distracted by a raccoon, a baby tree and a Star Lord, the worry and anger of the entire thing has merely rooted into a headache carried where the back of her head meets her neck. The fact that Piotr has texted her? She hopes she can at least talk to him about it. Her space friends are not exactly the most nuanced when it comes to debate or discussion.

Of course, what's up?
Do you need me to meet you?
Mansion or studio?
Either way, I'll be on my way in ten.

*

Type type.. erase. Type type… erase. Piotr thought he was doing well with texting until he tries to keep up with Kitty and respond to her questions before she sends another text. He frowns and tries to keep up with his large thumbs but he is no match. Finally he manages to get out:

Studio

With that done, Piotr realizes that Kitty is actually on her way and he frowns at the state of the place. He does his best to clean up and make sure that he himself looks somewhat presentable. He hastily dumps things in the garbage and is just about prepared when he hears footsteps in the hall. The ice pack on the couch, is moved to a coffee table of sorts, really a board stacked up on some art books.

*

Whatever the state of Piotr's studio, it certainly cannot be worse than the Milano at some points. It doesn't actually take her long to hail a cab to take her from Midtown to Downtown. In about fifteen minutes, there's a knock on his door.

Lockheed perches happily on Kitty's shoulder like some sort of fantasy parrot dragon and a messenger bag is looped over her shoulder. There's immediate worry on her face: Piotr doesn't tend to tell her that he needs help with an important project unless it truly is important.

"Is everything okay?" That's her greeting. "What's up?"

*

Piotr's face is actually bruised. It was a shock to him when he transformed back out of his steel form last night after the fight with Juggs and is likely a surprise to Kitty as well. He opens the door and greets her with the same big smile and hug as always though.

"Katya! It was not so important that you needed to drop everything…" Even as he says it, he realizes that it kind of is? After all, what if he is right? "I was thinking. About this Trask thing."

And then he realizes he hasn't even invited her in yet, and is in fact very much blocking the way unless she wants to phase through him. He lets out a soft laugh of embarassament and moves out of the way to motion her in, "But come in. Come in. Do you want want a drink before I start peppering you with my ramblings?"

*

Everything has been in such a rush, that Kitty moves in and starts to look about before she even sees the bruises on Piotr's face. It's a shock and she blinks. "Piotr!" Immediately a hand reaches up to delicately touch at his cheek. "What…what have you been doing?" It takes a lot to bruise the metal man: that she knows. "This certainly seems like something important." There's a touch of mother-henning in her voice.

"Did you put ice on it? Here, let me find something to help. You know in those old movies, people put cold raw meat on their faces to help. Do you have a steak or something? We'll put it on your eye. I don't know what it's actually supposed to do, but maybe the iron seeps into your face and helps it heal?"

Halfway to a place she doesn't even know where she's going yet, she pauses. He was worried about his ramblings? "No, I'm okay. I don't need a drink." She gives a sheepish smile. "Maybe we should find you an ice pack or a raw piece of meat and you can tell me why you invited me over." Pause. "Can we please just pretend I didn't just put 'raw piece of meat' and 'inviting me over' into the same sentence please? Thank you."

*

"I-.. " Poor Piotr actually tries to start explaining, but then Kitty goes full on mothering mode and it leaves the big man gesturing helplessly at the ice pack with a "Da. I-.." He tries to indicates the ice pack but she is in full on peppering him mode so he instead walks over to it and manages to just put it over his bruised cheek. He then walks to the fridge, knowing full well it contains ice, vodka and a couple of beers and not even a hint of a steak.

Without looking at her, partially due to the fact that he's blushing slightly, Piotr answers "I will gladly forget it, if you you would stop saying it?" lightheartedly.

He gets out two beers, despite her turning down the offer of a drink and makes his way back to the couch. "But I did not invite you over to show of my interesting bruises. Those are a result of me picking a fight I should not have with the Juggernaut. I need to talk to you about Trask. About these collars." And hopefully moving part the past where it's out of character for Piotr to go about picking fights at all if he can help it.

*

Unfortunately for Piotr, Kitty is not exactly about to let that part just slip away. As she sets her bag gently down on the coffee table, she is assuaged by his overt gesture to prove he has an ice pack that he has been using.

When he says he'll forget that part if she stops saying it, she puts her hands up in surrender. Done. She realizes that she came in here a bit like a hurricane.

However, there are things that need to be discussed. So, instead of putting her hands down, she pointedly crosses her arms. Trask. Registration. Picking Fights. Now, instead of concern, there is a frown.

"It's not like you to pick a fight." She's wanting to know what exactly it is that is sending him into such a destructive path. While Colossus can certainly take quite a beating, the fact that he is picking fights at all is something of an anomaly.

"Look, we'll certainly talk about Trask and the collars, but what's going on? With you?"

*

Piotr sets the second beer down on the 'table' and pops the cap off of his before sitting down on the oversized couch. He tries placing the ice pack on his face but it's awkward to make it stay and it makes it hard to actually look at Kitty when he talks. He futzes with it for a minute or two before giving up and just holding the cold beer against his face when not drinking.

"I know. You are right." He is quick to agree with her, as if somehow that will help them move past that particular point and for a minute it sounds like a success… until it's not.

Piotr lets out a long sigh before starting. "I am not sure. It is not the first fight I have gone looking for recently…" It's true, he just did a similar thing with Frenzy. He smiles a little uncomfortably and says, "I think.. I think, I am frustrated with the fact that this registration business is moving ahead and the X-Men's approach. WHich I firmly believe in…" He trails off in between phrases here and there. "Katya, what if it is not enough this time?"

*

Settling a bit down herself, Kitty sits opposite of Piotr. Everything going on lately has her keyed up, herself.

There's a sigh. "I've not exactly been myself lately for a little bit, either. I don't know what to do about registration, either. It…it's more than worrying. It makes me angry, too. I don't know what to do about it."

His line about the X-Men is met with a bit of a knowing smirk. Then, finally, even though she said she didn't want a beer, she plucks hers up off the table and pops the top, too. "Look, I think the X-Men are doing what they can with what they can. It's not easy to be the organization that is supposed to show how we are both not threats to the world but also put a stop to other threats. I would fly with them any day, I would lay down my life for them. However…I've been spending a lot of time with a group of people who don't…they don't think about everything like that. How every move may be calculated or PR'd. They just do. And it's frustrating and stupid, but also pretty liberating. They've made me think that maybe what this situation needs isn't the X-Men…or even this Brotherhood. They just need people in the middle."

*

It feels good to have someone to talk to about this, something that Piotr maybe didn't realize he was missing. He meant to spend more time in Mutant Town to be a part of the community, but in some ways it's left him feeling both separated from the X-folks but not quite yet a part of this new life, whatever that might be.

"I understand. Forgive me, I have not even asked how you are doing Katya. I think we both feel how terrible this could be." Russians have their own history of people being rounded up for being different. It's not the same as the Jewish people, but Piotr knows Kitty well enough to be able to group them together without making and weird equivalencies.

Piotr allows himself a small smile when she reaches for the beer. "Of course." He is quick to agree that he knows she would stand with them. They have fought together and risked their lives together far too many times for their to be a question about that. But still. "I confess, I feel a bit guilty thinking that. Like I am turning my back on the Professor's dream. But Katya, we must do something. And I have something specific in mind." It's not that he means for there to be a dramatic pause, he just wanted a sip of beer.

"The collars had to be tested. Katya, what if they are holding mutants or meta humans or others do experiment on?" He barely gives her time to consider that horrible question before following up with the real one. "Do you think you could break into their computer systems and find out?"

*

Kitty has not actually spent much time in Mutant Town. She's always either been at the Institute or with the Milano - either out in Gotham or now in Midtown.

"There's nothing to forgive, Piotr." However, she smiles. "I didn't actually ask you how you were feeling, I just sort of assumed and then tried to put steak on your face to help with bruising. So, I should ask how you're doing, too. Other than bruised. And confused. And, it seems guilty about feeling as if you need to act outside of the X-Men."

As for how she's feeling. There's a grip on her beer. Her face falls for a moment. The thought of registration, of these collars. It brings up very ugly feelings in the pit of her stomach. "Yes. The thought of it just makes me…angry. Almost irrational. I haven't brought it up with anyone, really. I don't know if they'd understand. I hang out with aliens a lot, recently. Well, Peter's not an alien, he's technically from Missouri, but he grew up in space, which is basically the same thing. And I don't know if they'd understand. These collars, registration…it's…" It doesn't exactly bring up good thoughts when involving history.

There's a raised eyebrow from Piotr when he asks what she can do. "I could certainly try. I did bring a tablet. But, I can't really do it from this wifi, it'd pinpoint us, possibly even if I reroute it. Do you know anything about their security?"

*

Piotr waves off any thought of Kitty needing to ask after him. He is the concerned older brother used to doting on others after all, not people needing to look out for him. He furrows his brows a bit as she lists off a few things that he might be feeling and says, "I am working through things. Perhaps not very successfully."

Watching her carefully as she tries to talk through her own feelings about the collars causes his expression to soften. He gets it. He understands some of what she is feeling, even if he's a little lost at the talk of aliens and what? Who is Peter? Why is there another Peter? Oh wait, he's being supportive. The confusion slides from his face to again reveal the concern of a friend. "Da. It is a terrible thing to consider."

He quirks an eyebrow at the tablet, but nods about being able to be pinpointed. "I .. know nothing I am afraid. This, as you know, is far beyond me. But if we need some help to get you the technology you need to do this…"

Piotr has been steadfastly ignoring the fact that rumors have been circulating about Tony Stark flirting with his sister. He does his best to ignore any thoughts of anyone flirting with his sister. Those thoughts tend to lead to punching thoughts. But in this case, maybe having a tech billionaire interested in your sister isn't the worst possible thing… maybe? "We may be able to ask Tony Stark for help." No, he is not going to readily divulge why on earth he thinks he could ask Tony Stark for such a favor.

*

And while she does know that Piotr tends to look after others, Kitty can't help but try to do the same for him. "If you need anything," she offers - a hand reaching out in offering to him. "You know, other than and including, hacking into what is sure to be an insanely impenetrable security system, I'm here for you." There's a sigh as he says it is a terrible thing to consider. "It is. I just thought we'd be past this by now. As people. As a society. My family…" She shakes her head. But, of course, society never really seems to be past this, do they?

The mention of Tony Stark is met with a bit of a curious look. "Tony Stark? The billionaire?" While Piotr may not want to discuss why Tony would want to give them a favor, she is certainly going to ask about the matter. "Why would he want to help us? He's not a mutant and he doesn't really seem to be in the business of doing charity. I mean, if we can get his help? Yes, that would be amazing. Using Starktech would be way better than my random iPad."

*

"Mr. Stark was actually a part of an X-Men mission in Genosha not too long ago. I believe.. I believe if Illyana were to ask him for a favor? He would be inclined to say yes." Is that too much information? Piotr hates to think that he's gossiping like a small school girl, but at the same time, it probably is very confusing why he's suddenly name dropping a billionaire he's never met.

"But what you are saying about society. It is .. true. I had somehow hoped that this place, here, would be something more. But with the way the government is treating people the reaction is all to predictable, they are afraid and angry and I can not blame them for either or any reaction." He even can't really blame the brotherhood, though he doesn't agree with all that they do, they are at least trying to stand up for their fellow mutants.

"I think if we have to call in favors, we do it. Perhaps if we find something, it could help expose what kind of people they are?" Unless they somehow found willing participants? The thought rears up again but Piotr mentally swats it away. That's not possible. Right?

*

And yet, despite his contributions to Genosha, Kitty remains suspicious of the billionaire. However, hearing that Illyana trusts him gives her at least some pause. While it's not enough to make her fully believe in Stark's intentions, at least it's something. Unable to help herself, she gives a sly grin to Piotr. "If Illyana asks him, hm?" She lets that hang for just a moment. "Like you said, we really should call in all the favors we can."

His assessment of the government is met with a shrug. "Maybe you cannot blame them, but this isn't right and registering people before they have committed a crime - no matter how dangerous you think they might be - is inhumane and terrible." Her eyes narrow as she states this. Then, clears her expression, shakes her head. "I'm sorry. I know you know that already."

With a nod, she agrees. "Yes, let's pull in the favors we can. This is certainly the time to use them. If I can use some Stark technology to try and hack into Trask systems? That'd be great. If not, I'll work with what I've got."

*

Piotr knows full well what she's implying by repeating back the part about Illyana asking. But he wouldn't have said it if he didn't know Kitty well enough to be okay with a little teasing. "Da. If Illyana asks." He confirms with a rather sly smile, at least for him.

"I know. I understand why people might think to do this, but it will end badly. Particularly if what they are saying about these collars is true."

He stands up to take his empty beer to the garbage and to replace the now melted icepack in the small freezer. "We should also see if the Professor can use Cerebro. I have a feeling if their collars can stop a mutant's power then they will have figured out some sort of psychic shielding as well, but it is worth a shot." It's obvious that Piotr has been thinking about this and planning, but up until this point it's been just him and not very focused. Now though? Now it feels like something might be coming together.

*

Aha, that's a bit of gossip. Kitty nods knowingly. "I see!" Something for later.

The teasing turns far more serious as they continue. Realizing she hasn't actually had much to drink of her beer, she takes a long swig from it. The last thing she wants to do is waste it, when Piotr was so nice to offer. "Yes. It will." There's a few nods. "You don't happen to know where I might get my hands on one of them, do you? I could start taking it apart, see what I can find about the hardware. That could lead is to where they got the parts, if it was all in house or if they had to source some things. It's also possible I could figure out how to counteract it if I can see if they're using frequencies, or some sort of coding."

The talk about meeting with the Professor is met with a nod. "Yes, that makes sense. Cerebro is powerful. It's possible they haven't been able to shut it out completely."

*

"It sounds like we have a plan now. We should talk with Scott." He says it firmly but carefully. Like he knows it's an idea that may bring complications. "Either way, we are moving forward. But we are also not alone in this." It's funny that he hadn't realized how separate from the X-Men he felt until right then. They had been planning an op. Not Scott. But it's not like Piotr is ready to be completely separate just yet.

Breaking out his phone he wastes no time in sending out some text messages to start arranging things with Scott and Illyana. Watching the man try and type on a small phone is almost comical, if it weren't also so slow.

"Thank you Kitty. I know that we have always had our teammates backs but.. I appreciate you coming and being all in on this."

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