Keeping It Quiet

June 05, 2018:

Kitty calls Piotr to give him an update on their work in finding out more about Trask Industries and any possible experimentation they might be doing. They agree to keep it quiet, which is like secret, but it sounds better in Piotr's head.

Unnamed Hell's Kitchen Hotel

A tourist trap midtown hotel that offers the usual amenities, if barely.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scot Summers, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Tony Stark, Peter Quill, Rocket Racoon, Groot

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Piotr gets a call from Kitty, who asks him to meet her at an address in Hell's Kitchen.

When Piotr arrives, he'll see that it's a nondescript hotel. It boasts a free breakfast, free wifi and an indoor pool. Who knows the state of that pool, however. This doesn't really seem like the sort of place that cleans out the filter very often.

The room she directs him to is on one of the middle floors. There's a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, but everything is generally quiet. There are some loud noises further down the hall that seems to be coming from what might be some sort of loud get together. Otherwise, it's rather peaceful.

The room itself is rather small, a King bed is set in the middle of the room, still made up - though Lockheed is snoozing in a bored manner on one of the pillows. The curtains are closed, the overhead lights are off - only the bedside lamp is giving off light at the moment. Around the room it is now kitted out with quite a lot of electronics. Kitty is dressed in comfortable clothing, hair pulled back with a few pens stuck into her ponytail for easy grabbing. It's her coding outfit, the one she'd wear while spending hours at a time in front of a computer while at Xavier's.

*

Reading the address on his phone Piotr thinks little of it. Upon arrival at the hotel at the agreed time he begins to become a little suspicious. They hadn't discussed any particulars and somehow meeting here feels odd. As Piotr makes his way up the stairs to the room he finds himself feeling a little embarrassed or guilty. Why are they meeting in a midtown hotel? The thought causes his cheeks to color slightly and he actually snorts out a small laugh clearing his head. It's not like that.

Knocking softly on the door, Piotr continues to check the hallway realizing that he is in fact in full on sneaking around mode for some reason. It's not like he wouldn't discuss this with other X-Men, it just hasn't come up… right? Piotr frowns at the thought of hiding something but maybe it's better that way. Maybe.

Entering the dimly lit room, causes yet another look of confused embarrassment to contort the large Russian man's face. "Katya..?" But then he sees the equipment and realizes why the secrecy and why the offsite location. Duh. Obviously. He lets out a small laugh at himself as he lets himself inside, quietly shutting the door. "You have been busy." He opens his hands to indicate all of the equipment and the room itself.

*

Either completely oblivious to the implications or thinking that they don't matter, Kitty doesn't at all seem flustered or thinking about what it might mean for her to invite Piotr to a hotel room.

There's a pause as Kitty checks the peephole before letting Piotr in, opening and closing the door quickly and then resetting the chain to ensure that it would take some force to open it. "Piotr! Thanks for coming. I wanted to talk to you about well…" she gestures around her at the organized mess, "…this." At the door opening and closing, Lockheed opens one eye, notes Piotr's entrance and then shuts it again, shifting a bit on his pillow.

"So, do you know Jessica Jones? She's a PI and someone I trust. We talked for a bit. And I thought…well, maybe it was better to actually try and do what we were trying to do off the grid rather than at Stark Tower. That sort of snowballed into…." again, she gestures around at the electronic equipment. The room buzzes slightly with it.

*

Looking through the peephole would have definitely given Kitty the view of Piotr looking a bit abashed. But now that it's clear what exactly is happening he relaxes and is back on even footing. He nods at Lockheed as the alien dragon lazily eyes him.

"This.. This is impressive Katya. I had meant to follow up with you, but apparently you took this idea and have been running." Granted it's not exactly what he thought they talked about but who is he to question Kitty on tech things.

"I do not." Is his reply in regards to Jessica Jones, the name doesn't so much as ring a bell for him. "Perhaps that is best. I would not want to embroil Mr. Stark in something…" Piotr can barely even say the word illegal. Ridiculous. "But I think he should be consulted about this problem as well. Even if we do not involve him in this aspect." After all Stark has proven to be a very effective ally before, and as far as Piotr knows no one has reached out to him about this yet.

*

With a grin at the compliment - or at least what she hopes is a compliment - Kitty pulls out the desk chair for Piotr to sit. Opening the little mini fridge, she pulls out waters and beers, a bit of a mirror of their last conversation.

"I can't help but run with things sometimes. Sorry if this wasn't…well, what you had in mind." She knows they discussed this with other ideas. "It's just…I'm not sure I trust Tony implicitly. Emma Frost basically has her tongue in his ear and I definitely don't trust that bint as far as I could throw her. And, unlike you, I can't throw people very far. I'm worried she might leak something. Or try to hold this over us. I'm sure Stark should be consulted…I just don't want him to be totally in charge of it. Does that make sense?"

As for Jessica Jones, she nods her head. "She's great. I'll introduce the two of you, you'll love her. She's looking into all this, too."

*

Of course it's a compliment, it's Piotr. He is genuinely impressed with her ability to make his kind of madcap idea happen. He gladly accepts the beer and water and the seat. He looks around and says "Katya, truly this is wonderful. I hope we are able to find what we seek.."

But that's the thing. In reality Piotr hopes that they find nothing. That there is no evidence that people are being held and experimented on against their will. But something tells him that won't be the case. Something in his gut won't let this go.

"It does. And you are right, we can not afford to put this in anyone else's hands. There is too much at stake for us and for mutants to trust anyone else to handle it. As much as people here would like to trust in democracy or their elected government … we know that will not keep us safe." Piotr may have just a smidge of anti-capitalism in his bones on occassion, particularly when the system seems to be faltering so badly.

"I am sure if you approve of her that I will like her very much." Oh Piotr, you say that, but just wait until you meet the guardians. Just you wait.

*

A resourceful woman, Kitty tends to either do or find what she wants or needs when she is determined. However, on this matter, Jessica's Stark Card really came to the rescue. While they paid for everything in cash, that cash had to come from somewhere.

Kitty lets out a bit of a breath as Piotr agrees with her. A part of her worried that he would be upset or argue that she had acted out of scope, that they should have gone to Stark like they planned. Relieved, she opens her own beer and reaches out cheers him just gently. "I agree. We keep as much as we can on the inside. I am sure people want to help, but I also think they have less to lose than we do."

Unable to help herself, she gives him a grin and a tilt of the head at his declaration. "That sounded almost anarchistic, Piotr," she teases just slightly. Taking a swig of her drink, she pulls a piece of what looks to be a modem onto her lap and opens the casing. Idly, she starts to fiddle with things.

As for Jess and the people she approves of, she grins. "I think you will. You also still haven't met the Guardians yet. You should. They're…colorful and they've said they'd help with this. Or, well, Peter has, but I'm sure Rocket and Groot will, too."

*

Taking a long sip of his beer, Piotr smiles a genuine big smile, maybe his first real smile in weeks. It's been weighing so heavily on him that he has been spending his time working out plans, trying to understand things like government funding, political lobbying groups. He's become in some ways like a recluse as he's let it consume his time outside of teaching and training.

"We are accustomed to relying on ourselves after all. And of course it is better if we keep this as low profile as we can." He frowns and says, "But I am going to speak with Jean. We need to at least try and reach out that way as well. I am sure the professor would agree but.. " He trails off.

"I am not an anarchist." He answers he teasing accusation with a small smile of his own. "I perhaps just believe we need to not be as naive as I once was." Piotr has not come full circle back to the American hating rhetoric of his youth, but he has also matured beyond the fervent patriotism of a young man new to this country and all it's promises.

"Da, you have mentioned them before. I believe I should meet them. Properly this time."

*

Kitty has been her own recluse, her own strange woman after learning of the collars and reading about the pushes in legislation in the papers. She's been both hyperfocused and aloof in equal parts depending on what she is focusing on or the day.

"It's true," she smiles. "Peter's not a mutant. Neither are Rocket or Groot, but they're different, too. Same with Jess. They all know this could effect them. Plus, I trust them all. They're unconventional at times and I don't think they'd really make X-Men material, but they're good people." She grins. X-Men material is a very specific sort of make up.

The mention of speaking to Jean is met with a neutral expression and a nod. "Of course." She winces. "I don't know if the Professor'd like that we're hacking into a private company. Jean might not, either. It's a bit out of the X-Men scope." However, as she keeps working on the modem, that doesn't seem to matter to her. Taking another swig of her beer, she looks up at him.

Plucking a pen from her ponytail, she tosses it toward him with a smile. "I'd like that. Name a time and place." As for him not being an anarchist, she nods. "Alright, point conceded. Naivety is not something we can really afford right now. That I agree with."

*

Piotr nods at the explanation of them being different. It's not surprising that Kitty has a wide assortment of friends of different types, as X-Men they have allied with countless different metas, aliens, and others. But a wry smile does cross his lips as she delicately defines them as not X-Men material. He knows what she is saying, and maybe at one point he would frown about those who are slightly more flexible in their approach, but that is changing.

"I will speak to Jean about finding if there are people who need to be saved. I.." he thinks carefully about the next words ".. do not need to mention this." He almost wants to ask it as a question. To get permission or maybe absolution for sneaking about on his own teammates. But it's better if they are not involved. "Unless you have talked with anyone about our plan?" There is no judgement there, and perhaps maybe even a little hope that she has?

About meeting the guardians he says "Perhaps having a beer at a place in mutant town would be best. It is a nice, open place." Open meaning a few things, not the least of which that a raccoon and tree won't be out of place and whatever this other Peter might look like. Because he's probably some bizarre alien looking creatures with multiple extra limbs or heads. Right?

*

Unfortunately for Piotr, there is a bit of a sheepish smile when he asks if she has told anyone else their plan. A few more screws are put into place and the hood placed back on the modem unit. "It's only been you and Jess," she admits. There's a shrug. As she said, she's playing this one close to the chest. If they're going to hack into a secure facility that can build something as complex as a collar that can shut down mutant abilities? She doesn't want to test their spy network.

At the look, she puts the modem to the side. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she pulls her legs up and crosses them. Then, she rests her elbows on her knees and takes another sip of her beer. She can practically hear the almost question, the implication. "IF you want to tell Jean, Piotr, I'm not going to stop you. But I also think the less people know about this before we do it? The better. Afterward, we can figure out damage control and information spreading, but who knows what these people are capable of, if they are responsible for even a half of what we suspect."

For now, the drinking plans with the Guardians are set to the side.

*

It's a strange thing to be plotting something outside of the X-Men. This may actually be a first for the normally completely transparent Piotr. But it feels necessary. They didn't exactly say it outloud when they talked the first time but apparently they were on the same page as well. "I have told no one." It helps that he hasn't seen his sister or Rachel and in general has been avoiding people. He's not great at keeping secrets, lack of practice and all.

"Of course I want to tell Scott and Jean. But I think we both know that what we are doing is not exactly how they might wish to handle the situation. And frankly Katya, I feel like I need to do this. /We/ need to do this. And I do not wish to have that conversation if others do not agree." It's an ugly truth that Piotr knows has been partially responsible for keeping him sequestered. Something about this feels so personal. So integral to who he is that it needs to be done and he can't even bear the thought of what he might do if others don't agree.

He tries to set that thought aside and instead picks up a beer. "I do not think I can thank you enough for being with me on this." His smile is a bit saddened by the fact that he is keeping secrets from his friends, but it certainly helps to not be alone in this.

*

While it may be a strange thing for Piotr, Kitty does not seem at all upset by the idea of working outside the X-Men on something like this. She has done so previously when she has needed. However, she knows that Piotr is generally a man who plays things by the rules and by the books. This is off color for him.

Now that she is no longer gadgeteering, she keeps her focus on the man in front of her. "It's entirely possible. I think in this case it may be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. If we can prove they are doing a lot of shady things, they will not like our methods, but they can't deny that we got results." His desire to know what is there is met with a sympathetic nod. "I agree. "We do. You do. We can't risk muddying the waters."

There's a smile and a shake of her head. "No need to thank me. This is work that needs doing. I thank you for trusting me enough to include me in on this." Especially as she knows that he is not trusting Jean and Scott right now with the same information. "It means a lot to me, to know that you'd trust me with all this."

*

It's reassuring to Peter that Kitty isn't questioning this. It helps that she is fully on board both with the plan and with keeping it quiet. Quiet sounds better than secret for some reason. But either way, it helps quell any doubts to have her agreeing with what has been so far mostly only an internal struggle.

"I would like to find nothing. That they are clean, if terrible, people. But I do not think that will be the case." It's almost like wishing they fail, hoping to search and find nothing.

At her pshawing of his thanks he grins broadly. "Of course Katya. We have been through enough that there should be no question of that between us." And it's true. Individually Piotr would trust any of the old guard X-Men to have his back for this type of thing. It's just maybe one of the few times he's asked only one.

"But I am getting in your way. I will return once I get in touch with Stark or Jean. And of course let me know if you find anything. Or need anything." He stands and then reiterates the last part "Anything you need Katya." At first he felt guilty that she was running with his plan, but now it's clear that they are in this together. And with that he makes his way out of the hotel room, careful to take a different route and be mindful of any surveillance. Maybe that's overkill. Maybe not.

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