Grey Sibling Catchup

July 29, 2018:

Nate and Rachel meet again a few months after the whole Genosha debacle. Information is shared and food is consumed.

Xavier's

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Cyclops, Iron Man, Shadowcat

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Two days ago
« I heard you were back from Britain where… meeting with Stark? Damn. OK. See you later »

'Later' two days ago
« Ray? I know I said later. But… can't talk now, damn zombies! »

Yesterday
« I am at the #@$& dangeroom hell. Wanna grab some dinner later? »

Yesterday - dinner time
« I'm on Madripoor. I got a lead on some Reavers… see you tomorrow for sure »

Xavier's main building, breakfast time. Which would be go-to-sleep time in Madripoor. But Nate Grey does not follow EST, GMT or anything else. Nate time means every time is good to grab coffee and food. Particularly when it is free, which is why the school's cafeteria is one of his favorite places. « Hey Ray. Good morning. Are you around? »


TWO DAYS AGO

Rachel is holding Kitty's hand tight while people talk about mutually-disturbing things like anti-mutant tech that looks like collars. Collars? Really? It could have been anything else!

Ping. She tilts her head to the side. « Oh, yeah. Sorry, getting assigned my share of work. »

LATER THAT DAY

Rachel is sprawled across the bed of the room she's claiming. Technically that makes it her bed. Even after all these years, she still has trouble thinking of things in terms of 'her bed' and 'her room' instead of 'the bed and room I have right now.'

Ping. Rachel rolls over to look at the wall. « Zombies? Like slow zombies or — nevermind, later. »

YESTERDAY

Rachel walks down a sidewalk in NYC with a few bags on one arm and her phone in her free hand. With everything that's happened recently, her ID card feels weighty in her wallet.

Ping. She hesitates, and then lowers her phone. « Yeah, I'll try to make it back. In town right now. NYC town, I mean. »

LATER THAT DAY

Rachel leans over a railing in the mansion, looking down at the student dinner rush passing through the hall beneath her.

Ping. « But are the zombie Reavers? I'll be around. »

Nate can probably feel Rachel's psychic presence over in the faculty rooming area. Of course, that doesn't mean she's awake — Rachel's mind is often active enough to give off the appearance of wakeful activity even when she's asleep. A fire burning low is still a fire.

« Uggh. I'm up. Have some coffee waiting for me when I come down. »

It takes long enough that Nate might need to do something to keep the coffee warm, but Rachel comes shuffling in through the entrance. She still has that ineffable quality of looking like she's somehow expended a casual amount of effort to overdress, which of course is one of the many boons of molecular telekinetics. This morning is winged eyeliner, a black bandeau top with skinny jeans tucked into over-the-ankle Doc Martens, and a black moto jacket to ward off the air conditioning. There's a huge, fiery bird patch sewn into the back because she gets a free life pass to indulge in Phoenix imagery. The real wait is due to waking up and finding her way through the building.

"Morning, action man," she says as she finds her way over to conversation distance.


« I will be lurking by the kitchen » decides Nate. Because the cafeteria is filling… well, it is not going to be too packed a late July Sunday. But the kitchen should be empty.

Nate did steal a coffee pot, though, as well as several pounds of breakfast foodstuffs. The coffee is still warm when Rachel finally arrives. And he didn't even eat everything else. See? He can be a good 'brother'.

Action man, indeed. He has not even bothered to fix the scorch marks on his X-Men uniform, which nowadays includes more armor and more pouches. He is looking more and more and more like Cable every time Rachel sees him. Which makes sense since he is technically the same person. He looks like he just walked out of a fight, despite he must have taken him at least one hour to fly back to New York from the Far East.

"Looking good, Ray," he greets, offering the redhead a rare genuine smile. "England suits you well, I guess. Maybe we should move the school there."


Rachel uses her boot to encourage the door to the cafeteria proper to shut faster. Less noise that way, even if it doesn't mean less psionic noise. She lingers there for a moment as she studies Nate's… let's just call the whole thing 'Nateness.' There's a lot to take in.

"You're getting dangerously close to your pouch limit, mister."

Rachel cracks a lopsided grin and heads off toward one of the clear counters. A coffee cup comes levitating out from somewhere to land in front of her, right before the coffee pot decides to spontaneously gush a stream of coffee that very politely finds its way to the waiting cup.

Rachel picks it up and brings it to her face, cupping it close in both hands without drinking yet.

"Maybe. Excalibur would back us up, but WHO would probably have a collective heart attack. I don't enjoy the idea of abandoning what we're doing here, anyway."


"Showoff," grunts Nate at seeing the coffee trick. "My pouches are full of awesome," he adds with a smirk. And that is something Cable would never say, at least. He finishes his own cup of coffee and goes for a refill.

"Well, unless I am reading things wrong registration is coming." He states rather serious now. "And I think the DEO will take a crack at the school. Those assholes have been waiting for a chance for years. Is WHO British SHIELD or something else? 'Cause I think Scott is looking for backup places. Keep the kids safe is most folks here priority."

Not him, though. He has avoided taking an instructor position for years, or even a room in the grounds. Still crashing at guest rooms when he stays to sleep. Forever a nomad. "Eh… nevermind. Look at me, talking politics and x-stuff when I have not seen you in almost six month. I am getting worse as I get older or what?"


"Counts as training," Rachel counters on the subject of coffee tricks.

As Nate gets further into the politics, Rachel eventually finds it necessary to take a sip of her drink and then set the cup down. She leans up against a reach-in fridge and crosses her arms. Her expression grows thoughtful as Nate continues.

"It's the school aura," she says, waving her hand dismissively. "Makes everyone think about deep, important topics."

Rachel glances over to the collection of breakfast foods Nate has secured. She takes her time in deciding what to go for.

"WHO is the Weird Happenings Organization. I guess they're pretty much British SHIELD, but they're more… investigatory than shooty, I guess? I've heard about people wanting to restructure them into something more military, so who knows what it's like over there."

Rachel shifts her attention to Nate. Her expression is ever so slightly severe, but it's for the topic rather than the company. "If registration passes here, they'll try to pass it over there, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it was already in the works. As far as I know, we still have a few punches left to throw."


Oh great. Maybe they should all go to France. No what he says, instead he goes "the school aura is getting me," he leans back to watch Rachel eating. No, he didn't wait for her, he is still a barbarian. Besides, flying all the way back from Madripoor leaves a guy very hungry.

"We have plenty of punching to throw, but that is the X-Men, not the school," he adds. "What did Stark want? He got involved in the fight in Genosha, y'know? Hmm… I think it was just before you left the US. So I guess you do. One of the few non-mutants who bothered."


"The school can punch too," says Rachel. She raises her hands to wiggle her fingers. "You can punch with lawsuits just like punching with hands. It's practically a mind power."

Rachel extends her arm to her coffee, which hops the gap between its resting place and her leaning spot to return to her. She cups it in both hands once more.

"He had information about the collars." She briefly wrinkles her nose, because such a concept can't pass her lips without at least one obvious display of disgust. "Then he and Jean and Scott talked about how to divvy up targets. I think he's crunching evidence to track people down for us."

Rachel gives Nate a curious look. "What are you working on? Zombies and Madripoor didn't give me a clear picture of any long-term projects."


"Lawsuits, really?" Nate gives Rachel a skeptical look. No, of course Xavier will sue, and maybe around 2030 the case will reach the Supreme Court. By then all the students will be brainwashed killers working for the DEO in Team Youngblood. But maybe it will help future generations.

"Those collars have been around for a while," he stares at the jumping coffee. Showoff. Again. "Trask new ones are more dangerous, more efficient. People say it is Genosha technology that is getting widespread, but they had Sentinels there, so I think Trask was working with the old regime anyway. I have been… ah, the zombies were just some idiot magic guy in Brooklyn, nothing important. I went to Madripoor because I am still trying to find out where the Reavers are made. I thought maybe I had a lead, but it was a trap."


"Yeah, lawsuits," says Rachel. She must have noticed the skepticism, because her tone bristles. "Xavier is rich. At very least he can take the case to some circuit judge in state or in California or Washington, or all three of them, I don't know, and put a stay on implementation until we figure something else out."

Rachel lowers her cup but doesn't set it aside just yet. "Why, what's your plan? As far as I know, mutant density is strongest here in the States. We can't get them all out of the country."


"Well, I bet mutant density is now higher in Genosha," grumbles Nate. "Mutants are abandoning Mutant Town in droves, at this rate it will be a ghost neighborhood in a couple years. I bet it is also happening in Gotham and Metro."

Magneto's 'promised land' is getting popular, of course. Which makes sense for mutants with little cash and minor powers. And that is most mutants. Sometimes Xavier's School gives the wrong impression about how mutants live in America. The magnificent mansion, the high tech, the pool and manicured gardens. But Mutant Town crime rate matches the worst neighborhoods in Gotham. It is a ghetto. "I don't have a good plan, Ray. I am the action guy, remember? I can't tackle political problems. I can take down Sentinels or hunt down and kill the people turning Purifier fanatics into killer Reaver cyborgs. But I can't make humans and mutants stop being idiots."


Rachel exhales, lowering her head and putting her hand to her face. "Yeah. Yeah, I know. But it's not like Xavier spends his days doing nothing. I'm not gonna turn on panic mode until I see a good reason."

She leans forward and off the walk-in she's been leaning on to finally approach the collection of food. Setting her coffee down, she selects a bagel and pulls it apart. It wasn't pre-cut, but of course Rachel has a TK cheat for that. She leaves the bagel floating in midair next to her as she can lean over the pile and rummage for where the butter is.

"I have a bad feeling about Genosha. It feels hypocritical to call someone out for who they've been, but it's Mag-fuckin'-neto. How long until he starts a war?"

Rachel straightens up, having obtained two (2) disposable packs of cream cheese. She glances between them and the floating bagel halves. "Ehn. No knife."

It doesn't take a psychic to tell what she's thinking now: time for TK knife.


"Yeah," about Genosha, of course. "As soon as he gathers enough mutants and trains them as an army, or builds one of his doomsday machines," he guesses. Which with some luck it is going to take at least a couple years. "Or sooner, Mags is nuts," there is always that. But they do have more immediate problems in America.

No knife she says. There should be one or three among the pile of foodstuffs, see… Nope. Oops.

So he reaches for the cabinet behind him and rummages. "So catching up, there is the new collars. Which I think people is giving too much importance. There are Purifiers with super-powers, which we definitely need to investigate. And there is the fake mutants Trask is using to fan de flames. Which it is something we can punch, and I hope Cyke gives the go soon. Maybe if that plot is publicly revealed the anti-mutant movement will take a hit. But I am not very optimistic." Knife? He offers one.


Rachel is in the middle of peeling off the tops of the cream cheese containers when Nate offers a knife. She looks up and purses her lips. No TK knife today, Rachel.

"Thanks," she says. She continues her telekinetic balancing act as she loads up the bagel halves with spread.

"Scott got back in from wherever he was the day that we all met with Stark," says Rachel. "He's probably decided his grand strategy for everything by now. Kitty has some history with Stark so naturally she and I got assigned to work with him. Is he dating Frost or something? I got a weird feeling about some of the sniping I heard during the meeting."


"Is he?" Nate blinks surprised. But… that makes sense, given Stark's comments last time they talked. "Go fig, funny that… I think he is. Good for him," because of course Nate approves what is going to be a train wreck.

He had no idea Kitty had a story with Stark. He makes note but it is filed into the 'ask whenever' mental cabinet, but it is not as if Kitty and him are close.

"There is this town, called Golconda," explains Nate. "Scott thinks it is secretly some kind of anti-mutant base, paid by Trask Industries. Surveillance has been going for over a month, but I am not involved, so not sure when we are going in."


Is he? Rachel shrugs. Her weird feelings are usually more accurate than most people's weird feelings, but sometimes they're nothing.

"Golconda, wow," says Rachel. She plucks one of the bagel halves out of the air and takes a bite, chewing thoughtfully. When she finishes: "That's not a super dramatic name for a secret base at all."

She gestures with her bagel at Nate. "You can have the other half if you want. I have to console someone over the phone in a few. If you're angling for the fake mutants, do you know who's on collar duty? I want to keep tabs on things now that I'm getting stuck in again."


"Collar duty?" Nate shakes his head. "Not me, those things don't even work on me. But I heard the Brotherhood blew up one of the Trask labs," which is the first thing Nate approves they doing in a long while. "Talk to Lorna?" He suggests.

Not that Lorna has anything to do with the Brotherhood officially. Noooo. Scott does not approve. Nate just won't judge too hard this one.

"To be honest I don't know what can we do with the collars," he does accept the bagel, though. "Technology will provide means to fight mutants. Big surprise. Humans are great at killing each other, you know. They are also going to be great at killing mutants. It is a racial trait. Which is why a war is going to be one of those mutually assured destruction things."

Because mutants are humans, and humans are great at killing other humans. "Just like it happened in my world," he concludes. And then he eats the half bagel. Food is always welcome. "I guess Kitty and Hank can devise some anti-collar tech?"

"Oh, and Gambit got kidnapped, again," he remembers. "I think Rogue and the Cuckoos are on the case."


Rachel eats her bagel while Nate gets through this next bit of talking. She has a few emotions to imply over the course of it: furrowing her brow at the mention of Lorna, rolling her eyes at Gambit's kidnapping. When he finishes, she makes a face and says "Yikes." It is unclear which part she's responding to. Maybe all of it.

She sweeps the two empty cream cheese containers into her hand and walks over to a trashcan at the end of aisle and dumps them in. "Leave me out of that 'racial trait' talk. People are people, human or mutant."

Rachel returns to pick up her cup again, downing it in a few gulps now that it's cooled off. Then: "It sounds like everyone's got their work cut out for them. This teams-within-teams setup takes some getting used to."


Nate laughs out loud briefly, "hell no. No more teams within teams. Storm got rid of the X-Red, X-Blue and… er… X-Black." X-Black, also know as X-Force, was the killers squad Nate joined when it was going. "It is just like small ac doc task forces. But there is plenty to do, for sure." Pause. "And Illyana is up to something," he adds. Of course Illyana is *always* up to something. But since Rachel just got back and they used to be close it merits a special comment.


"Ad hoc tasks forces count," says Rachel, waving her coffee cup for emphasis. "Maybe more! On Excalibur it was just the few of us. I could keep up a team psi-link all the time."

She lets her cup go. It floats off, disappearing around a corner to probably end up in a sink somewhere. Rachel chews her bottom lip for a moment, staring off into the middle distance. "Kitty and I are supposed to meet up with her in a few days. I guess… I'll see where her mood's at. Not like I can accuse anyone of acting shifty sometimes."

Rachel reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out her phone enough to check the time. "Alright. Time for me to go make a call before it gets too late." She glances back up to Nate and explains the 'late' part: "Timezones."

She raises her hand in casual farewell. Nate may globetrot, but at least Rachel will be around more. That means a more believable see-you-later gesture. "I'll let you know if Yana is turning senators into frogs or anything like that. Thanks for catching me up. And maybe change your clothes when you get shot or blown up, y'know? Jean probably worries."


Nate hmms, looking at his clothes. Sure, he didn't change. And coming from a battlefield. Possibly against school protocol, damn if he can remember. Three days without sleeps and one starts forgetting things.

"Phone call, okay," he sighs, standing up. They didn't even talk about the interesting gossip, like who is doing what in Excalibur. "Yeah, see you later. I think I am going to catch up some sleep," which is the perfectly normal thing to do after drinking a gallon of coffee. "Or maybe hit the Danger Room if it is free. One or the other. See you around, Ray," he concludes, heading out.

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