AAR, Plus Quill

July 14, 2018:

Jean, Piotr, and Kitty briefly discuss the outcome of the mission to rescue the captive mutants. And then, Peter Quill.

Jean's Office, Xavier's Institute

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Atli

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The mission was a success. Mostly. From Piotr's point of view, this was somewhat of a persona crusade of his. Born from the terrible guess that people were being held and experimented on against their will, when it was proved out with the help of Kitty and others the big man couldn't rest until they were freed. That's not to say it went off without a hitch. The metahuman purifiers, the brotherhood showing up, the slight decapitation, were all unforseen complications but in the end they were able to free the prisoners. Yay team.

But now it's time to discuss. Nate's filed a report thankfully saving Piotr the dread task of trying to peck something out on a keyboard not meant for his oafish fingers. But he feels responsible as one of the champions of this cause to at least run through the usual post mortem. It's how they improve. It's how they stay alive facing constant threat.

And so with a fresh bandage across his chest hidden beneath a soft worn black tee shirt, a clean pair of jeans and boots he makes his way through the administrative halls. He had asked Kitty to join him, it had become a joint crusade afterall and they should both be there to discuss it.

*

Though Doctor Jean Grey concerns herself a little more with the school these days than she does the active workings of the X-Men, she is still a member of the team, and the after-action reports cross her desk. She found this particular mission of particular concern even if she was unable to lend her own presence to the excursion, for many of the same reasons as Piotr. Whenever anyone is being tormented, human or mutant, the X-Men must respond.

She is freshly returned to the Institute herself after a short visit down to the beleaguered New York to see what could be done in the wake of the terrible attacks. Shortly after her return, she had made mention of wanting to speak to Piotr and Kitty about what they had seen, though it was phrased as a request rather than any sort of formal command.

Jean is waiting in her office, semi-casually in a blouse and skirt with her hair down, a few cups set out and the electric kettle nearly at a boil.

*

While Kitty mostly splits her time between Midtown Manhattan, where the Guardians have set up shop and the Mansion, she has been out volunteering quite a bit in Hell's Kitchen - much like Jean. Despite the hard and suspicious looks, under direction of some of the residents, she uses her powers to phase through rubble in order to scavenge what she can from collapsed rooms to help. It's tiring and emotionally wrecking, but she feels it necessary to help.

After recovering from the mission and ensuring that what she found was secured, Kitty joins Piotr as they make their way toward their meeting with Jean Grey. Every so often, she'll give him a look: one that he most likely knows well. It's one of not exactly worry, but something close to it. He was injured in the fight and he also killed one of the scientist. While he was a zealot and murderer, she truly believes in the X-Men's mission statement that they should not kill their enemies and should instead capture them. She had little problem with Hope breaking the leg of the man they now can consider as a prisoner, though.

"How're you doing?"

*

Piotr knows the look well, and does his best reassuring older brother look in return. It doesn't sit well with him that it came to killing but he's trying not to show how conflicted he is about it. He considers her question and gives a one shoulder shrug.

"I am glad we were successful. But.. it was not perfect."

It's a little like they are prepping for the witness stand, getting their story straight, even if they don't need to.

He stops to knock on the door, waiting to be called in before swinging it open slowly and allowing Kitty to enter first.

*

"Come in," is the verbal response, though as Piotr reaches towards the door, it sort of just opens of its own accord. Telekinetics. The door is left open in their wake, as well — apparently Jean doesn't mind if stragglers pop in after the two.

As they enter, they will find that Jean is in front of her desk, not behind it. Behind it would have, perhaps, carried too much of that schoolmarm sense. She's leaned back against the front edge of it, hands braced to either side of herself, her head a little bowed in thought. But she has a tired smile for each of the X-Men when she finally looks up to regard them both.

"I am happy for your safe return," she says. "Both of you. All of you. And for the safe return of the prisoners. From what I can tell, it seems you all met some old friends of ours…" And yet… not quite in the same incarnation as before.

She straightens up. "Please, sit. Tea, coffee?"

*

There's a brief nod given to Piotr at him recognizing that it was a success…but that success comes with a bit of an asterisk. Kitty lets out a breath and turns her attention to the door. "Yeah." As the approach the door, she gives it a bit of a look. "You know, I know we're not actually being sent to the principal's office, but it definitely feels a little like that right now."

The door swings open and Jean is leaning against her desk. While this might be unnerving to some, it's something Kitty is used to around the mansion. People generally feel free to use their powers openly and without much thought here. Jean's greeting is met with a smile. "Thank you. I'm glad we were able to get through with as few casualties as we did." Moving to a chair, she does sit, but shakes her head at the offer of tea or coffee. "It was a close call, but we all worked well together as a team." Despite the fact that there were a few hiccups in their plan.

*

Speaking of hiccups in plans or working together….

Jean leaves her door open, its a good policy. Espicially for someone like her. Someone in charge and powerful in the hirearchy of the X-men should have a policy like that.

…it just can come with some downsides.

Footsteps in the hall. A muttered voice that is slightly familiar to one of them. Then a figure appears in the doorway. Tall, lanky, about Kitty's age. Shirt only half done and a plate with a chicken salad sammich on it in his hand, Peter Quill is about as far from the image of 'professional' as he can be.

"Hey, Kitten!" He says with that off-handedly cheerful voice of his. "Have you tried this chicken salad in the fridge? It's amazing! It tastes like actual chicken, not like that crap the Shi'ar say taste like chicken. I mean I'm pretty sure they don't even know what good chicken is…" He's not even looked up really until this point.

And when he does he takes in the Big Guy. Then the Woman Behind The Desk.

Then the room.

A lonnnng pause.

"Oh my god, did you get called to the principles office?"

A longer pause.

"…and have you seen Toothbender? Atli said she lost him over here again."

*

Kitty's crack about being sent to the principal's office gets a low soft chuckle and nod from Piotr on their way in. It really does. It still feels like that when talking to the Professor or Scott sometimes too.

Entering the room Piotr takes a seat and waits for Kitty to answer first about the mission. He nods solemnly and agrees.

"Da. It was not a perfect mission, but we achieved our goals. Even with the brotherhood interference… which I admit I did not witness. But, even with the explosions we were able to get everyone out." He thinks about that for a half second before ammending, "Well, everyone on our team and all the prisoners. The purifiers were not so fortun-"

And then there is another person he does not recognize. Which is fine. But he's calling Kitty, Kitten which is… less fine. But who knows the Shi'ar? Piotr does not recognize this X-Man. Did someone have some stupid alternate timeline, de-aging, clone from hell thing happen while he was off living in Mutant Town? Probably.

But the big Russian man says nothing, just looks at the other Peter with a furrowed brow waiting for him to realize he's interrupting. He might be waiting a while.

*

"Few missions are perfect missions," Jean says, her eyes smiling even if her mouth does not. "Nor can we foresee all the variables that may arise. If you accomplish what you set out to do, that is all we can ask. Thirty lives were saved, they will receive the care they need here… and we know more than we did before."

She turns pensive. "Yet not enough. It is clear that though these men may walk and talk like Purifiers, something different is going on here as well. None of the abilities described have ever been observed among the Purifiers nor their Ravagers. We can pray that the process to create such things was fully destroyed by the explosion, but there are other facilities. Not many, yet — but enough. They may have a backup record of how to begin replicating it again."

She drums her fingers against the edge of the desk. "Either the process is very unrefined, or it is purposefully indifferent to the lives of those it altered." The enhanced were volatile and exploded, after all.

She starts to say something else, but stops. Her gaze arrows past Piotr and Kitty.

Now, the thing about Jean Grey's telepathy is that she cannot turn it off. This has been a significant detriment throughout her life, requiring her to filter and block the thoughts of others constantly — not just for their privacy, but for her own mental stability. It alerts her to Quill's presence moments before he busts in, leading to the fact that when he arrives on the scene, she is already staring directly at him.

"They did not," Jean eventually answers. A faint smile curves up one corner of her mouth. "However, you just did, Peter Quill. Please, sit down."

The door closes behind him of its own accord.

*

The mention of the Brotherhood being on the scene is given a bit of a furrow of Kitty's brow. She didn't get to see those interactions, but she heard over the link a few descriptors that have her puzzled.

"And we weren't the one that set the explosives, though I doubt Purifiers will really think there's much of a difference between the X-Men and the Brotherhood." The knowledge that these people were enhanced in some way rattles at the back of her head. "I don't understand how they could do what they did without being mutants or meta-humans themselves…which definitely seems like that'd go against their whole 'destroy all the mutants' motto."

Her mouth opens to continue, but she notices Jean's hyper focus on the door behind them and a moment later she hears Peter's voice and talking about chicken salad. Twisting in her chair, she gives him a quirk of a raised eyebrow. They're trying to have a serious conversation here, Star-Lord. "It tastes like chicken because it is chicken." There's a few blinks at the question about Toothbender. "Uh, no, I haven't."

WThe door shuts ominously behind Peter as he's called into the office and she can't help but give him a bit of a smirk.

*

Piotr is going to be waiting for a long time if he waits for Peter Quill to realize something.

However he pauses a moment as he realises that this crazy hot but crazy crazy redhead chick is not focued on him.

"…no no, I mean I don't want to intrupt. I'll just go back outside. Finish up this chicken salad and—-"

…and the door closes.

"…or…maybe I'll have a seat." A pause. "That was creepy. Does anyone else think that was creepy cause that was creepy."

With lack of anything better to do though, and lack of any obvious escape routes, he does slowly shuffle in the direction of a chair. Where he sits. And contemplates taking a bite of his sammich.

"…look when you've been away as long as I've been you'd be suprised how good actual chicken tastes too." He mutters slowly before glancing around at the three of them. "Sooooo…" A pause. "…I'm going to guess something serious happened?"

…meanwhile. In the window behind Jean. A pair of creepy goat-eyes attached to a flying goat pear in the window before slooowly hovering off to the right.

*

Piotr smiles as the door shuts and this other Peter is told to sit down. Because while it may have felt a little like going to the principals office coming in, that totally sounds like this Quill just got sent for a little talk. He shakes his head though as the man continues to chatter.

"You get used to it." Is all Piotr has to say about the door trick being 'creepy'. And really Piotr's sister rules a hell dimension so his view of 'creepy' is a little skewed.

"I admit, it took me by surprise to be facing the enhanced fighter. The healing factor, the extreme heat, it was not quite what I was expecting in a Trask facility. We knew he was working on nullifying powers, but is he now in the business of transferring them? And like you said, why would the Purifiers be okay with that? It does not seem to make sense, in their twisted view of the world."

*

"No," Jean says. "The Purifiers have never really distinguished between any type of mutant, have they? Now I fear they shall have even less cause to do so — and fuel to feed the fires of their convictions that we are nothing but violent and depraved." She looks pensive. "The Brotherhood is not quite the same as it was under Magneto, but his children still do more than enough damage to the image we have tried to present to the world."

She shakes her head. "Do not mistake the fact that your goals were temporarily aligned for any kind of alliance with them."

Her attention turns towards Piotr, a frown crossing her features. "I wonder if Trask is even the major force behind this," she admits. "Perhaps affiliated… but as you mention, why would they have interest in triggering metahuman abilities? Their obsession with the purity of the human state is well known. It will bear further investigation. But I know that you both can be counted on — "

And then Peter Quill. Jean slowly activates her trap card.

"Very serious," she replies, still wearing half a smile. "As serious as the conversations I have been meaning to have with you, Peter Quill; particularly given the fact it seems we shall be seeing more of you around." Her gaze moves between Peter and Kitty, lingering on the latter with a definite 'he better treat you right, gurl' look. "First among them being flying your spaceship over the school. Less of it, please. It overexcites the children."

There is a brief silence.

"The goat you are looking for is outside the window," she suddenly says, apparently out of nowhere. "You had better find him before he reaches the pool again."

*

When Peter actually hesitates and looks hesitant, Kitty actually smiles and her eyes drift over to Jean and then back to Peter. Aha! A weakness. "Think what was creepy?" Kitty asks, tilting her head a little bit and acting as if doors closing by themselves is a natural occurrence. Of course, around here it actually can be. Seeing how this has actually made the space pirate somewhat obedient, she turns her attention back to the conversation at hand.

Giving Piotr's observations are met with a nod. "Exactly. I would say that maybe these guys aren't actually Purifiers or the like and are just using the name to stir up trouble, but they definitely hated mutants. That wasn't anything they were faking. Why some of them had mutant powers, though? Hopefully some of the things I pulled from the lab will give some answers about that. I haven't finished sorting through all of them yet."

The idea that she would ally herself with the Brotherhood is met with quick hold up of her hands. "Oh, believe me, I'm not thinking of aligning with the Brotherhood anytime soon. They just didn't blow us up, which I'm glad for." Her continued needling of Peter is met with a smile to Jean as she catches the protective and silent exchange between the two women. Her reply is a bit of a shrug that implies 'he's trouble, but he's cute.'

A goat outside the window? Wait! There's a goat outside the window. "ACK!" That one actually startles her. "There's a goat outside the window!"

*

'Violent and depraved' and 'dangerous' and 'brotherhood' and 'Trask' so many words flying around Peter's head right now its hard to keep up really. I mean espicially when he just wants to finish his damn sammich. It's /right there/ and it looks /so goddamn delicious/.

Slowly one hand creeps towards the sammich just as Jean turns her attention on him. "…you are so not helping." He says out of the side of his mouth towards Kitty as she makes the commends about creepiness and the various levels of it around here.

Finally he pauses. "Well…/technicly/ I was tracking a warp gate anomaly that just happened to be right over the school. I mean, so it isn't totally my fault. I was just checking up on things." A pause. "…wait really, you can do all the…" And he vagely waves his hands around. Apparently to imitate the use of powers. "…things. And /spaceships/ are what overexcites people?"

A pause.

"Terrans." A shake of his head at that before he pauses again, and he might continue to dig himself a /bigger/ hole if she hadn't said that.

"What? He is?!" He sees just the tuft of a ear dissipear out of the frame. "Hey! You come back here you mangey flying jump drive!" He shouts towards the window. "…yeah…I'll do that…I mean I don't want him blowing up the pool again with his damn Bifrost butt."

So Peter starts to stand when Kitty startles. "Yeah, I said so. That's just Atli's goat. He's Asgardian."

…that should just explain everything.

"…I'll just…go catch him then…" And finish this sammich. "…and um…let you all finish your get together…so…nice meating you…" Scary Hot Redhead Lady. "…annnnnd…" A pause. "…wait she knows my name." This to Kitty. "Nice! I knew I was getting famous." A longer pause. "I answer to Star-lord too."

But then he's off for the door. Because staying in the creepy room for longer might just end him. If the door doesn't work…

…he's totally using the window.

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