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Astonish Them: An X-Men RPG
astonish_them
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July 2006
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Sebastian Shaw [userpic]
Sun Rise

Half-past nine in the morning was not a time of the day I particularly relished seeing, but having done more than a little time as the hands-on CEO of Shaw Enterprises, I had more than a little experience with rousing myself out of a bed I'd fallen into only a few hours prior. There were opportunities to be had for the 'early bird', and not much but scraps for the late.

I glanced over my shoulder, out the open double doors that led onto the balcony, with its excellent view of the Eternal City. Rome was not my favorite city in the world, but I did enjoy it, and if Madelyne and I had been here alone for a-- well, perhaps not a 'romantic' vacation, but certainly an indulgently entertaining one-- I'd have been looking at the city from the hotel's Villa del Cupola suite, the massive marble-floored ultimate in Roman ostentatiousness, rather than the relatively humble Presidential Suite. But we were here on business, on the first public mission of the grand plan, and we were not alone besides.

Turning back toward the TV, and the CNN broadcast I'd been monitoring. The image behind the newscaster was running a loop of a few minutes earlier, when our companion had made his spectacular and-- no pun intended-- inflammatory appearance among the disgruntled former mutant protestors. Speculation in the immediate aftermath of Sunfire's announcements was running rampant.

I sipped at the strong, dark Italian coffee and smiled to myself. The 'resurrected' and 'restored' Shiro Yoshida would soon be returning to the hotel, and preparations would begin for the next phase.

At the moment, though, I could hear the approaching footsteps, heels clicking on the polished marble tile floor. My Black Queen was up and about. I gave her a nod over my shoulder and gestured at the television report, which was now examining an enhanced zoom-in of Sunfire's new, more spectacular appearance.

"Our business partner made quite the impression on people this morning," I quipped. "Just the right touch of righteous anger, I'd say."

((Open to Maddie and Shiro))

Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Comments

"Would you, now?"

I was holding my own mug of coffee as I watched Sebastian's face. He was entirely too cocky for my tastes, considering that Shiro was late. We were using him, granted, but a Queen can never let her Pawn wander off too far...

"It seemed a trite over the top, to me," I commented. "You really think this will work? That whoever this mysterious person is working with us will keep his -- or her -- word?"

I wanted it all to be true. To truly be back in my seat of power, to have the black cloak around me and know that Sebastian was mine, not the other way around. Whatever it was that pulled me to him despite my better judgement, I couldn't deny it any longer.

And yes, part of me wanted to get back at Scott somehow. If I could provide a cure to help mutants, the ones that he could not help, of course... well, that was simply an added bonus.

Finishing my coffee, I heard the sound of... something outside our door. A flick of the wrist opened the door and I smiled at Sunfire. Whatever I thought of his performance, I had to support him now.

"How are you? Your legs... everything is all right?"

I could play concern just as well as anyone else.

I remembered that there was pain, and then there was nothing. A numbness that infuriated and frightened me more than any of the terrible things I had seen since the day my uncle had brought me to Hiroshima. But that fear had not prepared me for the terror that followed-- I would have gladly traded the numbness for the bone-chilling cold that followed.

My body was, and now is again, a furnace. While my skin is usually no more warm than a normal person gone flush, my internal temperatures would likely kill any other. Cold was all but unknown to me, and I wish it were so now.

Stasis, I had heard a distant voice call it. Torture was the name I gave the cold and the pain in the long days that followed my maiming at the hands-- literally-- of Lady Deathstrike. I did not know the masked and gloved medical technicians who hovered above and around me, and at the time, I cared not at all. But I listened. I heard when they discussed how, for my own good, my powers were continuing to be suppressed beyond what mere physical trauma would cause, and when they speculated at how painful to procedure of re-growing my severed legs would be.

They had no idea.

But I said nothing, did nothing. If indeed they would restore me according to the bargain I had made, I would not jeopardize their success. If they instead would destroy me, I would meet my end with what little honor I might have had left after such a blunder.

There followed the endless repetition of the days-- physical therapy for hours on end until I was exhausted by a few steps. Eventually, though, I stood and walked. When I was judged sufficiently healthy and the inhibitor was removed, I vaporized every piece of exercise equipment in the room. Two days later, I met Sebastian Shaw and, following the terms of my bargain, placed myself into his employ.

The idea left the bitterest of tastes in my mouth, but I would not renege. Shaw and his mistress, the woman who so looked like Jean Grey but whose presence was as dark as Shaw's and the one who had offered me renewed life, gave me their plan, and that morning in Rome, I began it.

The opulent luxury of Shaw's hotel suite was distasteful and upon landing, I wanted nothing more than to return to my room and meditate. Madelyne Pryor stopped me.

"How are you? Your legs... everything is all right?"

"I am well," I answered simply and coolly. "My healing seems to be as complete as I was told."

Knowing there was no putting off the facing of my actions any longer, I turned to Shaw.

"I assume the message was heard, then? What is next?"

"It seemed a trite over the top, to me."

I shrugged, as Madelyne wasn't wrong. "In a world where any screaming fool can get fifteen seconds on Fox News or post their idiotic rants on the Internet, I'm afraid over the top is the least we could do to get some attention."

In a particular fit of generosity, I did not want to discuss the questioning of theatrics with a woman who'd once helped turn part of Manhattan into a demonic corruption of the city.

"You really think this will work? That whoever this mysterious person is working with us will keep his -- or her -- word?"

"I think," I began carefully, "that our benefactor has both the resources and the wherewithal to make all of this happen just as promised. As for the rewards we were promised in return for facilitating this plan?"

I gave Madelyne a half-smile. "I intend to see the bargain is honored."

Before any further discussion could take place, Yoshida made his entrance, alighting (no pun intended) upon the balcony. It was fortuitous, since I did not know how long I could continue to disguise the fact that while I had suspicions, I did not know exactly who it was behind the curtain. Whoever it was, I knew I was more than prepared to outmaneuver them.

"I assume the message was heard, then? What is next?"

Nodding to Yoshida, I gestured to the television, which was still playing the recording from his morning adventure.

"Loud and crystal clear, my friend. You've made every major media outlet, and they'll be talking about your appearance for hours."

Crossing the floor, I set my coffee cup down at the bar and took a moment to dash a bit of a more fortified drink into it. Taking a sip, I nodded in satisfaction.

"As for next, well, you have at least a day or so to relax and take in the local color-- consider yourself on unlimited expense account, of course-- before we continue the world tour. The next large protest will be in Hong Kong, and three days after that, Los Angeles."

I drained the cup. "And once every mutant who's had their powers stripped away has heard you, it'll be time to start making good on some of those campaign promises."

I was watching them both, waiting for something... anything to let me know what my next move should be. It was difficult to stay in the shadows with Sebastian acting as he was, and Sunfire prancing about like a... well, I couldn't quite think of an appropriate word at the moment. But something about him bothered me.

I considered prying his mind, but we needed him, damn it.

"My healing seems to be as complete as I was told."

"Good," I replied non-chalantly. I touched a finger to his chin and smiled. "I'm so glad to hear that." Lies, but then again, I wasn't certain he could be trusted. His code of honor was something that I was certain Sebastian hadn't quite taken into account.

"I intend to see the bargain is honored."

My eyes narrowed at Shaw. {Yes, but you still don't have a plan for that, now, do you?} I smiled at Sunfire and agreed with Sebastian that he could leave and relax for the moment. Once he was gone, I turned on my former lover and pulled my cloak off.

"It's just you and me once again. What should we do to pass the time...?"