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Astonish Them: An X-Men RPG
astonish_them
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July 2006
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Scott Summers [userpic]
Bad News

There was a time when I had a lot more sleepless nights. Back in the days of there only being a half-dozen X-Men, when I wasn't much more than a kid, the pressures of being field leader would keep me up a lot. Even though the others were my very close friends-- my best friends, in fact-- I was even less inclined to be expressive about worries and doubts than now. Sometimes, I'd hole up in the library to read, or catch up on the most mundane homework I had assigned, anything to get my mind off of the bigger things.


But the late-night busy work I turned to most was the one I'd found myself doing tonight. It was maybe three or four in the morning, and I was elbow-deep in the engine block of one of the Institute's SUVs. Nowadays, my shop classes took care of most of the repair and maintenance, but when I couldn't sleep, few things quieted the noise in my head better than something as ordinary as playing mechanic.

The radio was on, set to my usual classic rock station, and I was humming along to the CCR when I heard the low, ground-shaking growl of a motorcycle pulling up the drive. I recognized the sound of the motor without thinking: Logan's bike, the one I'd put together to keep him from constantly "borrowing" mine. He'd tinkered with it again to up the noise factor.

Shaking my head, I got out from under the Expedition's hood and toweled off my hands as Logan guided the bike into a free spot.

Before I could say anything, a news announcer broke into the broadcast.

"Sorry to interrupt, rock fans, but there's a breaking news story. After the events of what most people are calling 'M-Day', there's been a lot of debate over whether what happened was a good or a bad thing. Many protests have been seen in the streets of Rome, some former mutants wanting to know if God is punishing them, some thanking God for relieving them of their powers. In the middle of the latest clash between the sides on the city streets, we're getting reports of a mutant making some sort of announcement. Our Rome correspondent--

Yes, this mutant appeared in the skies not far from the Vatican, flying in a manner not unlike the Fantastic Four's Human Torch. The unidentified mutant swooped over the protestors, scattering them with bolts of fire--"


"Shiro?" I muttered, remembering Rogue's report of what was supposed to have happened to him in Japan. "How?"

"Still, well, on fire, whoever the mutant is, he's addressing the crowd!

'Mutants! Your birthright has been stolen! Your powers, taken from you by those who would rob you of that which makes you homo superior! I was as you were, and now I am whole again. If you wish to be yourselves once more, your chance is coming.'

The mutant-- my director is suggesting it may be the Japanese mutant known as Sunfire-- seems to be powering up, the flames getting white-hot... He's gone. What this means to the former mutant population, to the few remaining mutants, and truly, the world at large, we don't know. Time to--"



I switched it off, looking at Logan.

"Great. As if it couldn't get any worse."

((Open to Logan))

Current Location: Xavier Institute, garage
Current Mood: pessimisticpessimistic
Comments

The ride'd eased some of the tension that had been building up but there was still too much t' think and worry about for it t' really do any good. And of course the blasted Sentinels had tracked me the whole time. Made sure one was lookin' right at me as I rode past and gave it the finger.

With the hog rumblin' underneath me like a wild beast barely controlled by the leash in my hands, I finally made my way back to the mansion. Didn't much care that the exhaust was thunderin' loud enough t' wake the whole grounds neither.

I pulled into the garage t' find Scott grease monkeyin' in one of the trucks, some suprisin'ly decent music comin' from a nearby radio. No surprise he couldn't sleep either. He gave me his usual displeased look, probably 'cause of the modifications I'd made t' the bike that made it so loud. Good.

I shut off the bike and sat on it, contemplating whether or not to talk to him. Plenty of things needed discussin' but I never much cared for sharing my deep, darks with the boyscout. Of course, things change and sometimes you gotta change right along with 'em or get left behind.

Then the news came on the radio.

Shiro. Somehow he got his powers back.

"Great. As if it couldn't get any worse," Scott said, more to himself than to me.

Worse? Yeah, you could say that. Shiro'd just told the whole blamed mutant population that they could get their powers back. Them's that really wanted them back would see this as being on par with the second coming. Like Jesus done floated down from Heaven to deliver them from damnation.

The humans? They'd most likely see this as a reason to lock us all up and throw away the key. They were finally rid of the majority of us and probably feeling a lot safer than they'd felt in a log time; they won't want t' give that up.

If things were tense before, they were about to get downright dangerous.

"We best get ready for war," I replied.



Leave it to Logan to sum things up just as simply and bleakly as possible.

"We best get ready for war."

The problem was, though, was that he was right. Our database was full of hundreds of villainous and just plain rogue mutants that would pay just about any price to get their powers back. On the other side were the humans (and I'm guessing plenty of former mutants) who thought this catastrophe was exactly what our particular genome had coming to it.

I checked my watch.

"The Institute's day starts soon. No reason to wake people out of what's probably the last good night's sleep they'll get for a while."

Putting away my tools and washing my hands in the small basin in the corner of the garage, my brain started running through every possible scenario that Shiro's announcement could incite. Every one of them seemed to end up with us having to deal with a massive international panic, and whatever reprisals an already-jittery world government might do in response.

"We'll meet in the Situation Room first thing, and make sure that everyone on the team understands what's happened, so we can figure out what the hell we can do about it."

As Logan followed me into the mansion proper, not, I noticed, wiping his boots or putting out his cigar, I cursed under my breath.

"The students... we need to control the students before the rumor mill blows up in our faces."

I should have been heading for my bedroom, where I could sneak in an hour or two of laying quietly with Emma. Instead, I turned toward the lift that would take me down into the sub-basements, and the X-Men's facility.

"Any idea who might be behind this... offer?"

Scott didn't argue the point.

"The Institute's day starts soon. No reason to wake people out of what's probably the last good night's sleep they'll get for a while."

Almost a shame; day didn't seem complete without some sort of disagreement between the two of us. And Slim is just too fun t' rile.

Maybe work one in later just t' keep things seeming normal.

"We'll meet in the Situation Room first thing, and make sure that everyone on the team understands what's happened, so we can figure out what the hell we can do about it."

I followed him out of the garage, grunting an agreement. I wondered if there were anymore beers in the fridge.

"The students... we need to control the students before the rumor mill blows up in our faces."

"Sit 'em down and tell 'em what's the what. Let 'em make their own decision."

"Any idea who might be behind this... offer?"

"Can think of only a handful with this kinda power, and just a few with the motivation; Apocalypse and Sebastian Shaw come to mind."