Secrets and Family Drama

July 28, 2018:

Tony Stark comes by the Mansion, and meets so many Summerses. And Greys. And Grey-Summerses. SERIOUSLY HOW MANY ARE THERE?!

X Mansion

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There are some people that the X-men would love to have visit their Mansion. Luminaries from dozens of fields could help the studies that go on there. Peacemakers and scholars would be welcome. There must be dozens of names on the list of people that would be allowed easily though the front gates of the prestigious academy.

Tony Stark is no where even /near/ that list of people.

The indipendent thinker. The inventor. The man Nick Fury described as a loose canon might not be the best to allow onto the campus of a bunch of impressionable students.

Never the less. He's there.

Strolling down the crushed gravel drive after parking his car(A Lamborghini Huracan, bright red of course. With the license plate of 'Iron Man') and smirking to the staring groups of students as he waves cheerfully. "Feel free to take selfies with it, but no scratches!"

"I'll do autographs later!" He calls out, rising his hand in a peace sign. The signature sunglasses of his catching the light. The smirk goes on for miles. The suit of his, actual cloth, bespoke perfectly tailored. He cuts of fine figure as he strolls unhurriedly up towards the front doors.

Which means /someone/ in charge should at this point be getting a half dozen panicked calls from various facility.

If there is one thing that Tony Stark /doesn't/ do. It is subtle.

At his shoulder, bobbing along with its creator is…Dunce. A little oblong drone of dark gray composite. On one end is a gleaming optic system and a pair of stubby circular 'wings' come off of the body as it borbles and wing waggles at the gawking students.

Dunce is helping!

*

The news that Tony Stark was arriving, uninvited, without a call ahead, on the grounds of the Institute was more than enough reason for Dr. Jean Grey to be summoned to the field of battle. So many impressionable young minds. So many ways for Tony Stark to corrupt them all.

The front doors swing open just about when Tony reaches them, framing the figure of Jean, who was eminently not prepared to receive anyone today. Her long hair is down in a rather disheveled tumble, a little frizzed from the humidity, and her pencil skirt is just slightly askew, as of a woman who has been concentrating on something else for a long enough time not to notice its slow drift.

The latter adjusts itself of its own accord, without any actual action from her hands, though there's no helping the hair really.

"Mr. Stark," Jean greets, with the sort of calm aplomb that attends most people consciously aware of their role as an eye of the storm. It's nice to be that person, for a change. Her lips quirk wryly. "Welcome to the Institute. To what do we owe the most spontaneous visit?"

*

It may forever be Rachel's fate to come across the horrific debris of terrible battles fought by her mother.

This is to say that around the time Jean is stopping Tony at the door, Rachel is pulling up to the front drive in one of the sportier offerings from the mansion's garage. She slows the car as she nears the turnoff from the main loop that takes traffic to the private garage. There is an unfamiliar car there.

No. Not unfamiliar. Rachel's eyes narrow as she spots the vanity plate.

~IRONMAN~

"Are we about to get dragged into a team-up," she says to her passenger. There's no question mark in her tone because sometimes Rachel is a font of casual fatalism.

The redhead passes up the garage turnoff and parks behind Stark's car. She's already rubbing the bridge of her nose as she steps out and shuts the door behind her. There's annoyance on the astral winds and it's very contagious.

"C'mon, we can catch them at the front door."

A MOMENT LATER, THANKS TO CHEATING TELEKINESIS

Jean has the better viewpoint to see Rachel joining the impending social melee. Tony's audible danger sense has the added difficulty of Rachel only landing from her telekinetic hover right as she's at the front steps. Her boots make a noise as she does, though. She must have come from somewhere mildly casual, because she's wearing a relatively modest outfit denim cutoffs, black over-the-ankle Doc Martens, and a white t-shirt with SHY, BI & RDY 2 CRY stenciled on the front in block lettering. She pops off her aviator sunglasses and taps them against her hip.

"Hey, is this an X plus A team-up thing? I want to set expectations."

*

In the passenger seat of the car Rachel is driving, Kitty is wearing Lockheed like a scarf and rummaging through her bag while Rachel is narrowing her eyes on the vanity plate. "I didn't leave my sword somewhere did I? That would be embarrassing. I know I shouldn't just keep it with me, but with how things have been going, I also don't want to be caught randomly without it…"

As if proving her point, Rachel's question is met with a quick glance upward. And then her eyes narrow. Ironman. Large frown. "Possibly. Ugh, this guy is the worst, Rachel. He thinks he's so charming and clever and he's working with Frost." Pause. "He has been helping with some of the collar stuff, though." Grudging admittance of help.

However, as they make their way forward through cheating and mutant powers, her darkened expression actually brightens when she sees that Dunce is also in attendance. Getting a lift - literally - from Rachel, Kitty lands a bit awkwardly on the ground nearby her friend. Lockheed, who needed no help in flying, lands right on the robot. "Aw! But he brought his robot. The robot is actually the good part. Hi Dunce!"

*

The corruption of the youth has already begun. There are already students sneaking in to take selfies with that car and the 'IRONMAN' license plate. Some of them sneeking up to take pictures of Dunce.

Stark /knows/ what kind of disruption he causes and he just…goes with it. Uses it to his advantage most times. Or just uses it to annoy people. It is hard to tell with him.

However he grins as the door just opens right before he gets there. "Man, that timing. It's almost like you're psychic." He drawls out as he takes his own sunglasses off to look towards the Doctor there. A smirk works its way across the man's face. "If I knew the faculty here looked like you I would have made a visit earlier," He adds towards Jean. "But I figured I'd drop by. I was in the area. I've always wanted to see you're up too here. Maybe even donate a new wing or something like that. You know. Philanthropic." A flash of a grin at that. "I get like that sometime. It's part of my charm."

«And,» This is just a thought. «I might have some puzzle pieces you don't about that island that mysteriously exploded in the ocean a few weeks back.»

This is of course when Rachel lands and Stark just blinks a moment. "…how many of you are there?" A beatpause. "Teamup? Eh already been there done that. Didn't even get a t-shirt for it though. Really. Your merchandise department is so slow." Of course /then/ there is a Kitty too and Stark smirks towards her. "And it is the very paranoid Kitty Pryde." A pause. "Is that like…a play on feline names? Pride of lions and all that?" A pause. "Something to think on." Then back towards Rachel. "And I'm Tony Stark," A flicker towards Jean then. A grin. "I'd introduce myself to everyone but I don't think I have too."

Dunce though seems cheerfully bobbing along to his own personal music. He poses for some of the selfies. And when Rachel and Kitty land he gives the traditional greeting of his people. He does a barrel roll.

…at least he tries. Gets about halfway and Lockheed lands on him, sticking him upside down. Where he hovers, making a few mournful distressed bleeps.

*

Jean cocks an eye at Rachel and Kitty as they make their semi-dramatic appearance, in a wordless hello for her future-daughter and her friend. Her expression states that she'd greet more formally, but she's currently poised to hold back the tide of Tony Stark from the delicate sensibilities of 'children with powers and a lot of free time, since it's summer.'

Is this an X plus A team-up thing? "If it is, the main expectation to set is that the X comes first in the billing," Jean says, her voice dry.

Her attention returns to Tony as he rolls in with a loaded magazine of quips. "You certainly live up to your reputation, Mr. Stark," she remarks to his flirtatious opening salvo, her brow arching. "We're also quite well aware of your sudden philanthropic madnesses." Half a smile. "Shall we talk while you're in the throes of a charitable frenzy?"

But of course, that's not all Tony wants to discuss. Jean's telepathy, eternally active, skims the prominent thought easily. «Ah,» is the reply. Tony might be familiar with the cold frost that spiders all over Emma's psychic voice; Jean's, in contrast, blazes with the kind of heat that withers. «Familiar with projecting your thoughts for a telepath, are you? I might have expected that.»

And she about-faces without another word, retreating back into the mansion and extending an invitation: "Please, come in." «You both as well,» she projects to Rachel and Kitty. «It seems Mr. Stark wants to talk about that island to which you and Piotr went, Kitty.»

*

Psychic or otherwise equipped with an app that is patched in to the X-Grounds security systems. Scott Summers has been upstate of all things. Not quite a vacation but enough of an away he has fallen out of touch and under the radar for the time being, he arrived back in Westchester last night. Remained out of sight and used the hangar entry to get in to and out of the War Room of the subbasement, change, catch up, the usual rituals.
Shower fresh and stepping free of an elevator he's following the gaggle of nosy starstruck students, many of them returning from the summer. His simple attire of white tshirt, khakis and tennis shoes says he wasn't prepared for visitors fortunately Jean is.

A door thrust later he is striding down the steps, hes curious what incites this sort of fanfare until it all fully comes in to view. Scott's lips set in a thin firm line, "That explains." Dry toned and as casually appearing as if he hadn't been away or seen half the people here in some time. It's home. You just ease right back in and if they missed you well, they'll throw something else. For now though, everyone ignore the six foot three unassuming brunette in the red glasses. Arms akimbo, draped over his chest with knuckles tucked in to his forearms.

*

Though from his standpoint and Jean's heel turn to door its an easy oustretch of a limb to toss the door open before she can hit the top step. A break in stance and an about face that makes him visible enough hes forced to offer a smile.
"Jean. Everyone… "

*

"Stark."

*

For the record, Kitty tagging Emma Frost's name to Stark means he's starting at a negative point value. Cute robot is tallied separately because Rachel believes in cute robots living their own lives.

"Just me, like, cosmically speaking," says Rachel on the subject of local redhead numbers. Her deadpan gives few clues as to how sincere she is.

She tilts her head upward in acknowledgment of Jean noticing her, and offers a brief, uncertain smile before thinking better of committing to it. Doesn't seem like the time, other awkwardness aside. Her expression plummets from 'moody' to 'glower' as Tony riffs on Kitty's name.

"Rachel Grey-Summers," she says in reply to Tony's introduction, because politeness is what separates us from the hounds. Doesn't mean she sounds enthusiastic about it at all. "That's a play on Grey and Summers, f-y-i."

Rachel purses her lips as she looks over Dunce. He did a barrel roll and now he's… dancing? Yes. Rachel, still sour faced, leans over to Kitty to whisper. "You're right."

«I'll hook Kitty in,» Rachel adds. Her psionic presence is initially difficult to delineate from Jean's, but on closer consideration it seems more warm than withering, though it has the unusual and perhaps uncomfortable sense of being very close and coming from everywhere at once. Most people get used to it.

On that note, Kitty gets the chance to piggyback off of further psychic talk via Rachel so that Jean doesn't have to relay Tony's thoughts. Mercifully this is also a buffer between Kitty and the whimsical Mr. Stark.

«I'm preemptively declaring I'm not fulfilling any stereotypes by being psychic,» she adds for Tony. Her stride hesitates briefly as Scott comes into view.

"Uh, hi…" AWKWARD TIMING TO TRY CALLING HIM DAD AGAIN AWKWARD TIMING ABORT "…dad?"

Kitty gets to hear Rachel's sigh of utmost despair in her head and her head only, because that's what friends are for.

*

Stark gets a rather dry look as he calls Kitty paranoid and then riffs on her name. "Paranoid, yes. It's almost like there are people out there who want to put collars on all mutants and perform scientific experiments on us." Her arms cross and an eyebrow raises. "I should certainly be more trusting of philanthropic billionaires that seem interested in mutants right now." Beside her, however, Lockheed bounces on the flipped over Dunce, happily pouncing and doing what he thinks of as playing withe the robot as it tries to dance and bob to music. It sort of undercuts her message.

The authoritative telepathic voice in her head is met with a quick nod. While not exactly used to Jean speaking directly into her mind, it has happened enough that she isn't exactly startled. Despite the hard to distinguish presences in her head, she is more used to Rachel's telepathic link. Her thoughts - as always - feel a little more crowded but she quickly accommodates. It helps that she gives a bit of a smirk in Rachel's direction when she agrees about her assessment on the robot. "I know, right? It's just too cute."

Then, she gives Rachel quite a supportive look because, yikes, awkward. A head jerks at Lockheed and the purple dragon quickly leaps off of Dunce and lands on Rachel's shoulders for some dragon comfort. Her eyes quickly drift between Scott and Rachel and she pastes a smile on her face, just barely stopping herself from giving a thumbs up to the two of them. Be cool, Kitty, you can help your friend.

*

"I always do, and I'm sure you've only heard the bad things." Stark replies without even missing a beat. As she steps aside to let him in he waves Rachel and Kitty before him as he looks towards the dragon and Dunce. "…come on. He can't fly like that and you don't want him bumping into everything do you?"

A flash of a grin though is aimed towards Rachel. The ever changing inventor amused by something. She can just see that man's mind taking in the facts to process at a speed fast enough to give even powerful psychics a headache. His stream of thoughts never stop moving, not for the heat, or the frost, or the strange echos from everywhere. The data is just incorporated into the stream, rushing onward.

The worlds largest run-on-sentence.

"Grey-Summers?" A pause as Scott joins them. A flicker towards the man as he grins in his direction. "Congratulations! You've been busy, Scott. Since that time, in that place, that you hate to have people talk about out loud."

«Noted.» This towards Rachel. The dry amusement there. «And. Well, Jean. It's a useful skill when you start running into telepaths. Keeps my mind busy so I don't get too distracted.»

His gaze cuts towards Kitty as she gives him that look. "Oh yeah. Those collars. Have something for you all about that too." He adds almost casually as he strolls along.

Dunce gains relief from the dragon and rights himself. Giving himself a little shake, the drone follows along in Stark's wake. Though he does do little wing-waves to everyone he meets. Burbleing happily the whole time.

*

I'm sure you've only heard the bad things. "I've heard many things," Jean replies, cryptic.

The light click of her heels on the mansion floors arrests, however, as she finds herself rather suddenly confronted with Scott, looking sheepish. There are a few moments of awkwardness from various vectors, not least of which is that '…dad?!' that emerges from Rachel. Oh god, Jean thinks. Will she ever get used to this? Every time she thinks she's used to it, something like this happens.

"Hello, Scott," Jean settles on saying to break the moment, touching his arm in passing. "Mr. Stark," and her voice sharpens a little to cut off the talk about anyone being busy, Scott or otherwise, "had some things to tell to us."

She lifts a hand slightly in a gentle quell as Kitty's hackles raise about the collars. Peace, Kitty. "If you have something, then let us hear it," she says. "Come."

The woman turns, leading the way a little down the hall to a ground-floor meeting room, which should offer a modicum of privacy. The children remain outside, thoroughly distracted by the awesome car.

*

Scott's poor and impassive imitation of a doorman is about as much a failure as his feigned smile. One could try to see it in his eyes for it's authenticity but unlikely with those reflective ruby quartz shades hiding them. The robot, it gets enough of a look to appraise and make sure its accounted for in his assessment of Stark, again.

"It is good to see you Dau- Rachel. We'll talk more once I am fully unpacked. " An attempt in there, at least its not an awkward phone call where hes struggling to sound like he knows how to connect. A lot of silence.

"Thank you Tony and lets dial that back a good five percent. If you would. You're bound to get someone in trouble." The smile, again appears in it's practiced manner. It only vaguely appears full of some warmth when Jean touches his arm, something about the man's edge goes away and he tips his head, "Lets hear what he has to say then. Of course."
Kitty gets a look from herself to Tony, "Might need some technical updates that I can understand later too. I think." He manages following inward once they're all clear of the door, letting Jean lead this merry troupe inwards.

*

Rachel's presence in Kitty's mind is slightly mollified by the supportive look. Rachel, if nothing else, is very experienced at scraping herself back together.

Tony can feel Rachel's warmth dancing around the rushing data-streams that surround his mind. Her presence seems to retreat, then comes back from 'blind spots,' suddenly close once more to take another cautious look. It's like being stalked by a giant cat, or whatever other predatory animal might spring to mind. She doesn't try pushing any deeper than the surface thoughts that Tony projects.

«Jean is cringing, I can feel it,» Rachel transmits privately to Kitty. «I can't literally feel her cringing because I'm afraid to look but I can feel her cringing. Ugh. UGH.»

Rachel tries smiling at Scott but she isn't convincing by standard human metrics. "Ha ha, yeah, sure. Good luck… with the, uh, unpacking."

She drops the smile and glances over to Kitty to deliver a hapless, wide-eyed look while she doesn't sense anyone else looking.

*

The eyes narrow just slightly at Stark's flippant response to his own barb against her. Her mouth opens to quip back, but she sees the look and the hand gesture from Jean. It's enough to quell her sarcastic reply. For now, at least. Peace, okay. She can handle peace when it helps the school.

The look that Scott gives her is met with a sheepish shrug of her shoulders. "There's…yeah. There's a lot to unpack with this. Stark might have more to discuss. I'm sure he'd be only too glad to be the one to give you information." While her tone is soft and slightly sour, she does not argue that they need Stark's information. That rankles her, of course, though.
5r

*

The eyes narrow just slightly at Stark's flippant response to his own barb against her. Kitty's mouth opens to quip back, but she sees the look and the hand gesture from Jean. It's enough to quell her sarcastic reply. For now, at least. Peace, okay. She can handle peace when it helps the school.

The look that Scott gives her is met with a sheepish shrug of her shoulders. "There's…yeah. There's a lot to unpack with this. Stark might have more to discuss. I'm sure he'd be only too glad to be the one to give you information." While her tone is soft and slightly sour, she does not argue that they need Stark's information. That rankles her, of course, though.

The private telepathic message is met with another supportive look to Rachel and without even hesitating, she reaches out to grab her friend's hand and then squeeze it. Thinking back to Rachel, she tries to comfort. «It's fine. She's probably just still cringing over Stark trying to hit on her. That's totally enough to make anyone's skin crawl.» Lockheed wraps around Rachel in a protective dragon scarf. «If things get awkward, you can just project weird images into Stark's head. It'll be fine!»

*

"Sorry, Scott. I only have one setting really. Part of being a brilliant, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." The inventor replies airily as they are all shown to the little office. He waits at least till the door's closed before nodding slightly.

"Right. First the good news…"

Dummy hovers over and a slot in the bottom of the drone cycles open. A small tube filled with a dozen microchips falls out into Stark's waiting hand.

"Generation three versions of the anti-collar chip. I've run Gen two ones though testing with at least one meta and it works fine to disrupt the collar system. So…"

He flips the little tube in Kitty's direction.

"…to save you time I've removed any of the proprietary tech and made them easy to replicate. Trask /will/ find a way to counter them as soon as he finds out about them so trying to keep ahead of the curve."

He says casually as he leans his weight back against his back foot.

Not asking for anything. Not making demands. Just…handing them out like candy. Along with the way to replicate them. Maybe /this/ was the actual philanthropic act he was talking about.

"And then, of course. The bad news." Stark smirks. "Because if there is one thing in this business I know its that there is always bad news. So. I'm told that you all met some new opponents when you went to that island? Nigh unkillable? Prone to explosions? Regenerated faster than most people with a healing factor and generated heat? That about right?" A pause. "I'm really hoping that's wrong and I can just take my car. Decide what the name of the new school wing is and go home. But I'm pretty sure that's right."

*

Jean gentles a little to Scott's familiar blend of martial poise and stiff awkwardness. She rests a hand into the crook of his arm, a long-practiced gesture to soften him up, though it doesn't last long in the mixed company. Especially with Stark around running his mouth. Best to get him into a room and the requisite information out of him quick, before he gets too bored and starts getting Ideas.

If she's aware of the psychic equivalent of passing notes that Rachel and Kitty are doing, she makes no indication of that either. She does notice the significant awkwardness and the slight hostility from Kitty, however, which is another reason for her to raise her voice a little and usher everyone along briskly to a meeting room, where they can talk about business and not anything else in peace.

Stark does not disappoint.

Jean's lips purse a little as the inventor passes them a tube full of anti-collar chips. "Thank you. We'll have them looked at in the labs," she says, her eyes on the tube with a vaguely troubled look. "If I may ask, the testing itself… how was it done?"

The second point Stark has? Jean glances at Kitty, recognizing the description instantly. A beat, and her green eyes turn back to Tony. "Do we still get the new school wing if you're right?" Jean says instead, though the joke isn't light enough to disguise the disturbed tone to her voice. 'How did you know?' is already implied, and she does not say it.

*

"Right." Scott responds to Tony with as much enthusiasm as he has shown this entire encounter. Though his interest is piqued at the information, something he is still playing catch up on this just adds to it and is welcome at least. Summers likes to know whats going on. Always.
"Do we need a new school wing? If anything he can help us out with a repair fund or give us a VIP membership to Damage Control. That is what they're called right?" He questions around Jean. Scott has no clue Kitty and Rachel are playing telepathic tag but generally assumes the psychics around him capable and their 'besties' always are anyways. Part of why he's a constant wall of 'keep out' unless you have the Jean Grey keys or well, you're the Professor.
"This is impressive and… the island, the uh." As quick as words are out his mouth is shutting, his phone lifts and he starts to cycle through encrypted database. It is unlike him to be this behind and out of the loop. The Mutant Liberation Front and Golconda has taken far too much of his focus lately…

*

Rachel squeezes Kitty's hand back. Sometimes human touch helps remind her that she's somewhere.

Kitty can feel Rachel's thoughts spiraling briefly back to England. It's a sensation marked by a few rapid-fire impressions of London, primarily. Odd things like a particular breakfast or a nighttime walk down a sidestreet. Lockheed in a windowsill. It's a nicer set of memories than the ones she's probably flipping through in the privacy of her own mind.

«I have too many weird images to pick from. I'm paralyzed by choice.»

Rachel follows the older trio into the office, since she's decided that this is now also her meeting. She elects to take up a spot leaning on the wall by the door rather than claiming a chair. Her contribution to the proceedings is limited to a watchful gaze. She follows Tony's hands as he dispenses with the anti-collar technology. The expression drains from her face as her psychic presence seems to recede and vanish. Jean, if she's inclined to take the effort, can still find it — Rachel is just subconsciously cloaking herself to a degree. It accompanies the shift in her emotional resonance.

But that's just psychic drama. For everyone else, Rachel doesn't speak further for now.

*

"I had a volunteer, she's been wearing it for a few months with no ill effects and has resisted things once or twice. Technically I had two volunteers, but Kitty didn't want Tin Man doing it. So…I made do."

There is a smirk though. "Damage Control? Man do I love those guys. Yeah, I can swing that. So yes, you get to keep whatever you decide on if you're right…"

The inventor looks back at Dunce and the little drone's eyepiece lights up. A holoprojection of archived footage is thrown into the air. Showing a beach, figures in Hydra colors advancing while shooting. Each of the figures is filled with dozens of rounds from agents, and it looks like Avengers, further up the shore. Each of them keep going, their wounds closing almost instantly.

"This was taken a few months ago at one of my facilities. It got attacked. My friends, yes I know amazing I have friends, and I responded. We met some of these guys…" He waves to the Hydra figures. "…which were new. So I sent a friend to track down who they were. Said friend was also looking into weapons shipments to Trask from a third party."

He gestures towards the screen.

"Looks like these are the 'weapons'. Since you found some of them in a facility that wasn't really Trask, and wasn't really Hydra, and was some /other/ secret origination built on a setting up a new world order…" A pause. "…man there are way too many of those. Anyway. What I'm thinking is that /someone/ is weaponizing metas. Or at least…judging from Trask using them at least. Giving humans the powers of metas. And then selling that tech to the highest bidder."

A shake of his head.

"Which of course means people that don't like you all very much."

"So…" A smirk for Rachel this time. "…not quite proposing a teamup. But…info share at the very least? Maybe a teamup when we know who to punch for this mess."

*

Jean casts a sidelong look at Rachel as her daughter recedes. It is not any sort of psychic scanning that alerts her — though she could dig deep enough for it, certainly — but simply the absence of any motion or sound from Rachel. As well as simple common sense and empathy, of course: she knows well what this topic does to Rachel, more than most.

Her own presence unfolds slightly, in a generalized psychic soothe. There are monsters at the door, but mother is here.

Her attention encompasses Scott also, taking in the uncharacteristic hesitancy. "Yes, I suppose Damage Control would make sense with all the incidents lately," she says placidly, though with a hint of danger to her voice. "Though with the new faculty who are apparently being added in the fall, I wouldn't sneeze at some improvements to the facilities either."

Scott knows exactly who she is talking about.

She relents a few moments later, however. "Colossus and Shadowcat had received intelligence of a facility on an island where experimentation was being done on mutants," she remarks. Her attention returns to Tony. "It is still unclear who to 'punch,' so to speak, for it. As Stark said, it wasn't quite Trask… wasn't quite Hydra… but someone apparently dealing with both, behind the scenes."

She folds her hands in her lap. "Once we do know, however, we can discuss what is to be done about it." Her mouth thins. "The explosions and firestorms are not really our style."

*

"Yeah, Damage Control has some neat toys but then you're just about the Santa Claus of high technology these days." Scott agrees with some amusement of his own creeping out. Attention pulled away from the phone he watches the displayed scene.
"You're wrong in that assessment, Trask or someone associated with them is weaponizing humans. We were attacked also but not by that, those, these were less uh… explosive. They didn't make the cut I suppose. Part of why I have been in Golconda myself… "

A noise escapes his throat when Shadowcat and Colossus are mentioned by Jean, wetting his lips before he speaks again, "All connected to Trask, where these ones who attacked your facilities also posing as mutants?" He could not agree more in regards to the Societies out there, too many. An arms race of metahumans… again, why not.
Studying his teammates, his family the brunette frowns. "I'm not opposed to a team up and mutual hitting of things." Rachel gets a smile on that one.

*

Rachel glances over to Jean when the other woman looks at her. She shares a look, and then lowers her eyes. There is a brief flicker of flame in the astral: an acknowledgment that she feels the soothing aura.

Yet, Rachel remains remote from the conversation as it proceeds. Her gaze remains pointed toward her feet. She can sense the little barbs and sidesteps being thrown back and forth. She knows what those rhythms of conversation feel like.

Scott smiles at her. Rachel, being Rachel, knows when it's time for her to look up. She doesn't smile back. The tension around her eyes softens, and then hardens just as quickly.

"I want to be involved," she says. Her tone is firm and more pointed than previously. All that casualness gone. "Trask, Hydra, these other people — all of it. I want in."

Rachel pushes off the wall she's been leaning on and crosses her arms. She fixes her gaze on Tony. "You already have a psychic, but not one like me."

*

The mention of what happened on the island is something that possibly only Kitty can discuss. There's a frown on her face. The hand that holds Rachel's tightens. This is for her own comfort rather than Rachel's at the moment. "I wasn't there. I heard through Piotr that there were people who had far more power than expected. Strength comparable to mutant or metahuman." Piotr actually killed one with a door, though she is not about to say that out loud. "What I could find from the island was pretty jumbled. It seems to be very focused on mutants but thankfully singular."

The thoughts that spiral back to London cause a bit of an intake of breath. It's a remembrance that is not unwelcome, but surprising. «I wouldn't think of London as weird.»

Everyone's response is met with a frown as she thinks it through. "Yes, we have to figure out what is going on here. Why are the people we thought as Purifiers able to use metahuman strength? That is not their MO."

*

You know that feeling that you just put your foot on the metaphorical landmine? Tony is getting that feeling right now. Thankfully he can easily ignore that feeling and has on so many different occasions. To various degrees of success.

"Well if you're getting new faculty sure. I can fix something up for that. No problem." He says with a shrug of his shoulders. After all, to Stark, it really is only money. There is a glance there. "So. Looks like you have some drama to work out but…that so isn't why I'm here." He adds after a second as he looks back towards the footage.

"Huh. Firestorms aren't your style? Not my experience but you know what. I'll trust you. Firestorms are exactly the kind of thing I work with anyway. So leave that bit for me."

"One of them did explode, took out a good quarter of my facility with him." He frowns slightly at that. "So I'm thinking we're dealing with the same thing. Unfortunately since the more prone to violence kind of mutant blew up the whole facility…" A pause. "…and the island." A longer pause. "…and most of the surrounding ocean." A shrug. "There isn't much in the way of evidence. So…" A look around the room. "…pull some more threads. These guys who attacked my facility weren't posing as mutants, but others have. According to what I learned at least. I'm thinking though…we're looking at an arms dealer. Someone who has an unstable tech, but it selling to people who don't care if its unstable. I need to figure out just where its coming from, get a sample if its at all possible."

A smirk then as he looks back towards Rachel. "Well I can't fault enthuiasm. For the record though, I don't /have/ a psychic." I mean really. Who ever has Emma Frost? He just works with her. And occasionally takes her on vacations when she is feeling really murderous. "But I'm happy to work with one, especially redheads. That can also fly, among other things I'm sure." A pause before he glances back towards Scott. "…do I have to worry about getting lasered?"

But then Kitty is questioning him and the inventor looks back towards her. "It is if the powers are granted though pure technology. But it can't be genetic, so it has to be mechanical. The only thing I think think of is some kind of nanotech, but there isn't more than a handful of people on the earth that can boast that kind of control of that type of stuff. Including me. And I can't think of anyone besides someone like Doom that could actually mass produce it." A beatpause. "And if it was Doom behind this he would have told the whole world. Within five minutes of them showing up. And brag about it." A longer pause. "I hate that guy. He can't even use a door like a proper person!"

Tanget. Your name is Tony Stark.

*

That crisp Scott-smile given to Rachel a gone thing now. The promise for violince in there a very real thing and likely conveyed. That is who they are, the X-Men. The soft insurgency mutant rebels that have skirted the line of fugitive, vigilante and hero since their inception.
Kitty's update through Peter acknowledged and stored, considered against the Liberation Front thats been plaguing them in dust offs. Tests. Maybe this is the next stage, a result further on down the chain, coincidences aren't something Cyclops puts a lot of stock in with their line of /work/.
"You do." Scott confirms without a hitch to Stark's question.

A hand reaches out and touches to the back of Jean's shoulder, acknowledgement it's on her now to entertain their 'esteemed' guest, with that Scott is quietly retreating to the hallway just outside, phone apparently taking ahold of him. "Excuse me a moment. This should not be long."

*

violence*)

*

Jean's head lifts as Rachel insists on being involved. She makes a long study of the younger psion, glances at Scott, and then slowly nods. Her head bows a little as Scott touches her back and takes his leave, red hair falling across her shoulder as she considers. Kitty's words, too, are absorbed.

"I would like you both to take point on this matter, then," Jean eventually says softly. "Along with Piotr."

Her shoulders tense and stiffen visibly when Tony remarks glibly that it's 'not his experience that firestorms aren't their style.' The exact reason the statement rankles her so much is likely not wholly related to the reason she subsequently states aloud: "We like to think of ourselves as possessed of a little more finesse than simply eradicating things wholesale in bombings. If we go in, then we will conduct a tight operation with minimum collateral damage." Her voice carries a slight sharpness. "There is the Brotherhood if anyone is in search of wanton destruction, whose methods — as you noted — destroyed anything that might have served for evidence."

She lifts her head again. "That makes the task harder, but I have faith in all of you. If the mechanism by which these powers are being granted is so rare, the list of places to start looking will be accordingly short. The fact it is not the fruit of genetic manipulation is unusual enough — that's usually the means." She considers. "I believe we retained some material from those false mutants who attacked the Institute. Perhaps a cross-reference with anything we found from the new facility…"

*

«It was more the extra-dimensional bounty hunters and magical conspiracies that were in London,» Rachel transmits. «I didn't let those get through the psi-link filter.»

Her hand is still there. Rachel is starting to get to that point where she's rebounding from the gutpunch and acting like she's invincible and that this is all light enough fare for some side banter. It's a familiar enough arc for people who've spent enough time with her. Sometimes her act even manages to convince people who should know better.

As meandering as Stark's explanation becomes, Rachel sticks through it all. The warm, surrounding sensation of her psychic presence slinks back into the room. She makes subtle adjustments to her posture, standing up straighter with squarer shoulders.

Jean says something unexpected. Rachel shifts her attention to her with enough interest that she turns her head to do it. She was too busy earlier listening to Tony talk that she didn't notice Jean making comprehensive study of her, and now — as Jean speaks — Rachel studies back with a familiar expression.

Some things don't skip a generation.

"Okay," says Rachel. She glances back to Kitty, offering a sly little half-grin. "Alright. Us and the big guy. We've done this before."

*

Being told to take point in the matter is met with a nod of her head. Kitty gives Jean a nod. She's glad to look into this matter and to be a leader for it.

The hand keeps a hold on Rachel as they talk. If everything is not genetic, then other things are involved. "So it's beyond genetics?" That seriously throws her for a loop.

A shake of her head. "Look, if we can fix this, we can. We'll figure this out. Piotr and I have already started and the rest of us can delve into it."

However, an arm's dealer? How does that have anything to do with mutants? She looks sternly at Tony. "Are you saying this has very little to do with mutants? Of, what? This very clearly has to do with us. And are you trying to say that is all a distraction?"

*

"Yeah, the Lannisters /defintally/ have a explosive way about them." A smirk at that. "And they hate me. Of course most peole from Genosha hate me." A longer pause. "In fact most of the world hates me. Ah well. I guess I deserve it for something." He says the words in such a glib manner and a smile that it is hard to believe it might be even honest thoughts.

The way he shrugs, the way he just patters on about things. Seemingly unbothered. That air of Tony Stark that he just cultivates. Its almost a perfect mask.

"But this sounds fine to me. You give me the information you have on this stuff, I'll have JARVIS cross reference everything and see what we can find out. I'll get some of my people on tracking the equipment used, its gotta have a source somewhere, and run down a few more leads. And I'll drop you…"

A hand snaps out to catch a USB drive ejected from Dunce. "…all the info I've gathered on it. You all might have different eyes to see it with. We /share/ info. Hell if you want to drop by the tower Kitty already has clearence there, I'll add Rachel to it too…" A glance back towards the psychic. "…I'll make up something legitimate sounding for you two ta visit as."

Then Kitty hits him with that question before he shakes his head. "Yes and no." He finally answers. "Whatever this guy is doing? Selling these enhanced to people, I don't /think/ it has anything to do with you specifically. But…he's selling them to your enemies. And /that/ makes a problem for you. I think we're looking for a dealer, who doesn't /care/ who he sells to."

A longer pause.

"Whoever it is, they like to stay in the shadows. They don't want to get dragged out in the open."

*

"I've put 'superhero' on my taxes before," Rachel offers to Tony. Whether or not that sounds legitimate enough is a political question.

Rachel sinks back against the wall again. All the clumsiness from earlier is distant enough that it won't knot her up again until one of those 3 AM sessions of remembering every awkward thing you've done in your life. Kitty is putting on her leader voice, and Piotr's promised to get involved.

Maybe this won't be so bad. Maybe it'll work this time. Maybe, despite technically being one for awhile now, she'll finally start feeling like an X-Man. It all seems so plausible.

Rachel closes her eyes for a moment while the rest of the group hashes out their next step.

Now to hope that if she never mentions it again, everyone will forget about that Prestige codename. Yikes.

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