A Fight We Can't Win

February 20, 2019:

So Nate found out Lorna is the landlord of a building in Mutant Town, and goes to ask.

Renovated building at the edges of Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Various X-Men and the Hulk

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It has been already ten days since the cyborgs attack and even Nurse Annie has to admit Lorna was well enough to leave the school. Not that she had not already, thanks to her friends in the 'bad patients' camp.

The event allowed Nate to find out this relatively nice building at the edge of Mutant Town is Lorna's. Or at least Lorna is in charge. He suspects the real owner is Magneto, of course. Makes sense. That the Brotherhood is not lurking here is what does not make sense. Yes, Nate usually knows where the Brotherhood is hiding in Mutant Town. Super-telepath, after all. And of course he doesn't tell anyone.

So it is lunch time and he is at the lobby of the building and going in, and calling Lorna using his cell to tell her about it. "So, which apartment are you on?" He asks. At least he is not using (abusing) telepathy.


Lorna had just returned to the building that morning. A new man was stationed in the lobby, a mutant from the local area, with obvious looks that labeled him as such. His skin looked normal enough, but beneath his veins were clearly visible and black as paint. What his powers were was another story, but he seemed friendly enough when Nate appeared and Lorna buzzed him through from the top floor.

"I'm in the Penthouse suite." She responded over the phone, "Just had newly reinforced windows put in. You might also enjoy the iron lattice work over my doors now. Standard decor.." She drawled, stepping out of her apartment and into the hall where there was an elevator on one end and a stairwell next to it. Nate could come up to her, she still was moving slower than she'd like. Bruises were very much an issue still, but she was otherwise more or less healthy.

"Come on up."


Standard decor, of course. But Nate approves extra security. He would be more approving if Lorna was not in the 'penthouse suit' but in a less obvious place. Security might be decent, but this place is not Xavier's.

A short elevator ride later, Nate comes into the hall and offers Lorna a sincere smile. "Hey, Green," he greets. "You look much better than last week. Lucky you. Illy never uses magic to heal me. And I gave her a Christmas present this year and all."


A shrug and a grin as followed as the elevator opened and Nate stepped out as Lorna tucked her phone away. "Hey. And gee thanks. I don't typically get shot you know? I need to find out where they're making freaking plastic and ceramic bullets and end it. Seriously. I don't get shot. It's totally unfair." She huffed a breath, rolling her eyes as she swept her hand over the door which hadn't been there prior, which opened with her gesture.

"I'd like to see them break down my door next time if they can't even see it." She drawled, stolen from her father? Perhaps. But if more of the building was solid steel and metal, the more she had at her disposal to work with.

"And Illyana I think, believes she owes me for the demon thing. I dunno. I told her its fine."


"Sorry. I can make ceramic bullets using one of the labs Three-D printers," comments Nate. Why yes, he did that when he was planning to kill Magneto. Correction: the last time he planned to kill Magneto. He has more than one time the last five years.

Someone always talks him out of it, so far.

"It is not that hard, the bullets lose some punch, but for someone like you, totally worth it I think. You might consider tougher body armor, like your dad uses." And a helmet, but not bucket-shaped, please!

He taps the door, as to make sure it is solid enough. "Gotta consider how strong are they. But I don't think they are as strong as the Reavers. Sage commented the technology is different. So I guess we got a new mutant-hating high-tech group out there."


A snort of displeasure follows as Nate mentions 3D printing. "Forgot about that. You know, give people something wonderful invention wise and they use it as another means to kill each other." She shook her head and the door replaced itself into a seamless, smooth, mirror of steel along the wall as they entered her apartment. It was large and airy, with high ceilings. And most of the furniture was metal. Unlike Magneto's confident, expensive, wooden furniture in the Spire, Lorna had loaded her living space with more would be weapons than anything else.

"My uniform is most entirely knitted steel alloy fibers on the molecular level, Nate." A beat as she paused, "Or are you considering me making myself a football helmet too?" She teased as she made her way over to her couch and slouched down on it.


"I know, right?" Replies Nate with a smirk. "Human beings are very good at figuring out how to kill anything, which is why I always recommend to get used to them and try to live and let live." It is not exactly Xavier's school. More on the tune of it being mutual ensured destruction as deterrent to warfare.

"Good about the uniform," he agrees. "A helmet might help. Even Asgardians use helmets. So does Captain America." He is also examining the room with a critical eye. Particularly the window exposure. Hrm. "Who is paying for all this?"


Lorna flicked her hand and the heating clicked on, warming the cool room again to a more comfortable level. She sighed, leaning back against the voluminous couch cushions and closed her eyes. "I have a feeling that people will have issues with me in a helmet of any design, Nate." She murmured softly, her voice catching as she exhaled a breath and opened her eyes to fall on him.

As he asked after who paid for the place she frowned, and sat up. "My father didn't pay for it, if that's what you're trying to get at." She rumbled as she got up and made to head toward the open floor planned kitchen and her electric kettle to heat with fresh water. Her bare feet tapping against the smooth tiles of her floor. The fact that she actually got up to do a chore that she could otherwise do with a wave of her hand spoke volumes to how much she wanted to avoid answering the question.


Hmm, "didn't he?" Nate seems surprised, but not disbelieving. "Most of the building looks recently reformed," and that is very expensive. Maybe Xavier? No, he wouldn't keep it secret. He would know if the local mutants had done it. Maybe he can find out the local companies and track the money down. Ah well. "Is Marcos living here too?" He asks, looking genuinely curious. "You two patched things up, right?"


A rough exhale followed as Lorna set the water boiling and she arched a brow in Nate's direction. "No. My father has nothing to do with this place. He wasn't against it, but he wasn't for it. He wanted me to do something else. This wasn't exactly what his plans were for me." She grinned weakly, pushing back green locks from her face.

"Can I get you something to drink? Water? Wine? Soda? Tea?" She gestured to the slick steel coated appliances around her. All new. All state of the art.

"No. Marcos isn't living with me here." She pursed her lips. "I haven't seen him since we had our last argument."


"Coffee?" Nate shrugs. "Anything is fine, really. Thanks." He frowns at hearing about Marcos. He wasn't around for the 'last argument' but he remembers the general issues they had about their daughter and how to live. "Sorry to hear bout Marcos. Relationships are hard enough with our lifestyle. I have learned to be tolerant and leaving a lot of space to my partner, and even then it is easy to… well, fuck up."


A nod and the coffee maker flipped on with a wave of her hand and Lorna grabbed down two mugs from her cabinet. At least they weren't talking about who had funded her building now. And she'd been able to avoid talking about the medical facility that was still in progress in the basement. Extra rooms that weren't on blueprints and the alike.. All to help mutants should the worst come to pass.

"It's the same argument we've had for the past year. Ever since.. since I gave up our daughter." She pursed her lips and she shook her head slowly, combing her fingers through her hair before she twisted around to grab a tin of tea and to shove a few pinches into a strainer.

"He still isn't okay with it. No matter how much he sees. His own father tried to sell us out. How can he not see that we're not safe people to be parents?"


"You could be, but not if you stay in the spotlight," replies Nate with a serious expression. "In fact there is a solid chance your kid will be an orphan in a few years. I don't even want to consider…" he shakes his head. Because he -thought- about it when the world looked like a safer place. And he never expected to survive this long.

"Yeah. If you want to raise children you have to leave this life," he decides. "And if you leave this life, you are responsible for everything that happens you could have prevented. Hmm?"


A nod and a rough exhale followed as the kettle whistled and Lorna waved her hand to pour herself some tea. It would take a bit longer for the coffee yet. "I know. I don't think, with the way the world is going that I'll ever live long enough to find out if I'll become my father." She snorted, and there was grim humor in her voice as she set aside the tea strainer and picked up her mug of tea with both hands. Her frame leaned against the steel top of her kitchen counter. A bar like set up with the sink in the center and an open view of the living room and beyond.

"I could never walk away from this life. Your world taught me that. I couldn't live with myself, watch people suffer and die while I sit in some town in the middle of no where." She shook her head. "That's not me. It's not in me to sit back and wait for other people to handle things."


Nate winces. Of course his world is a perfect example of what happens when the heroes fail to do their jobs. And a cosmic entity came down and saved a paltry 1% of the population. There should have been no survivors.

He is glad there were some, but they didn't -earn- survival.

"Yeah, you got it right. So what comes next?" He asks. "I am not great at making long-term plans, but we got trouble coming. Not just some killer cyborgs. It is the whole registration, the country turning so sharply against us. Someone is doing this."


Lorna turned as the coffee bot dinged and she twisted about to grab the pot and pour Nate a cup. If he wanted more, there was more. She knew he, and many of the X-men, ran on coffee. A flick of her wrist and a tiny little metal box floated over, filled with sugars and creamers of various kinds. "I don't know what to do. We're scatted, Nate. Our numbers are thinner now than they've been in a long time. A lot of people have gone MIA. Have been since the portals." She pursed her lips and turned her gaze back down to the mug of tea in her hands.

"I don't think we can stop the tide. I don't think it's one particular force driving this. Think about it. My father, Genosha.. benefits from having Anti-mutant sentiment rise here. It drives people over there." She sipped at her mug, inhaling the warm scented steam that rose from it.

"And we know the usual suspects for humans here. Now this Benedict Ryan.. and the attacks.. It's all being orchestrated by too many hands."


Nate runs in coffee and rage. Lately more in coffee than rage, he has been in a better mood since the new year; relatively speaking. He still pours half a pound of sugar into the coffee, though. Fuel.

"Yeah. But we still have enough people to tackle almost anything," replies Nate. "Illyana, Rachel, Betsy, Logan, Alex, you and me, we got enough power to take over a mid-sized country. Oh, and if Bruce the Hulk joins, maybe two countries at once. Sage is around, too, she seems okay. If things get really bad we should work more closely with the Avengers. Hell, Stark is almost part of the family by now."


A rough exhale followed, "We need public opinion Nate. And taking over a country or two isn't a way to get that last I checked." She paused, "Save Genosha mind you, but really that doesn't count and also did, I imagine, instill more fear in the general population than hope." She murmured and eyed how many sugar packets Nate added to his coffee. She smirked and shook her head slightly, before sipping at her tea again.

"None of us save maybe Rachel, are any good at public relations for mutant rights last I checked. No one will want to hear from me. I might as well be considered a foreign agent for all the general populace here likes me." She drawled, pausing to set her mug down and lean forward.

"This isn't about taking out an enemy that we can fight with our bare hands Nate. Winning hearts and minds is the hard part, and in the court of public opinion, people are scared and angry. People that are scared and angry do dumb things like vote for genocide or locking kids up because they have pink skin." She pursed her lips together, her hands smoothing out flat against the kitchen counter.

"And right now I don't think we can win that fight."


"That is Xavier's fight," replies Nate with a shrug. "I was surprised Ray was so good addressing the public. Must have been taking lessons from Jean when I wasn't looking. And if we want a public relations campaign we can do it. Hire some professionals or something. Again, that is Xavier's field. Or Stark's, we can ask him for advice too. I am pretty sure he will help us."


An eyebrow lurched upward. "It's Xavier's fight and how is that going, Nate?" She shot back, her expression grim as she curled her hand around her mug. "He's been at it for decades and right now we're closer to Registration being more of a reality than before. It's getting worse. Sure it ebbs and flows.. but.." She shook her head and averted her gaze.

"I don't see it ending well, we can throw money into campaigns but.. fear is easier for people to believe in than logic, or facts or anything else. It's why I'm here. It's why I'm watching this building. It's a basis for me to start making a safe house for people to get out if needed.


"I mean he knows how to address the public," clarifies Nate, settling on a chair with his mug of coffee. "I don't know how to do that. I am a warrior, nothing else." Ah, so the building is a safe house? But it is too close to Mutant Town, and it is inhabited by mutants, so it is a target. Nate knows how to build safehouses, and one of the rules is making it secret. It might be a refuge, but if things go south it won't be safe. "Fear is easy to evoke. But people won't fear for long. It becomes tiresome. It is not a valid long term strategy."


A shrug and a sigh followed, "It doesn't have to be long term to get what whoever is driving this to pass whatever it is they want, not if we're getting massive attacks like the one that happened here." She pursed her lips, the color bleeding away from them as she set her mug aside, deciding that she wanted something stronger for this conversation rather than just hot tea.

She turned, rummaging around in the fridge as the physical need to do something manifested itself in her staring hard at the bottles she had cooling away at the bottom of the fridge in their specialized section.

"I don't know what to do either, Nate. I'm not good at talking to crowds of people that hate me." She yanked out a bottle of red and started to step about the kitchen, seeking a glass and a corkscrew.

"People have been coming here to ask me where I've been. Asking me what to do since the attack. People here are scared, and frankly, Genosha sounds like a better place for them than here."


Nate grumbles about Genosha. "Fear. It is the same for mutants or humans. It makes them willing to lose their freedom in the name of safety." He ponders a minute, sipping his coffee. "Hey, do you have apartments for hire here? Maybe I do… kind of need a permanent place in New York. I would like to keep it secret, though. Maybe it wouldn't work. I do have a big target on my back. I am in kill lists ranging from the Purifiers to Hydra, and even the DEO."

And he is used to the fugitive life. In fact Nate is very bad at settling in a place. He rarely sleeps twice in the same spot the same week.


A shrug and Lorna found the corkscrew and removed the cork from the bottle of red wine, and poured herself a good amount in her glass. "Yeah, I rent out rooms for people. It's all on the downlow anyway. If you want a room we've got 'em." She murmured and gestured to the building all around her.

"You'll have to throw something at me as rent. Part of the legal requirements and what not for finance records." She took a gulp of the wine and exhaled a breath.

"I'll be here if you want."

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