Something Useful

July 07, 2014: Amara and Hank chat about science both political and physical.

Xavier's Institute - New York City

Nestled in the northern corner of Westchester County, Xavier's Institute for
the Gifted sprawls across acres and acres of property containing a multitude
of buildings and grounds. Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of City
life, the lights and sounds of the Big Apple are never truly too far for day

The institute itself is a walled complex with subtle and hidden security
stations. Coming up the main approach, it looks collegiate; the shrubs and
bushes are carefully and expertly pruned, and all is in place.



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Mood Music:

The kids have been back from their Nova Roma adventure for a couple days now, which means the clamor of curiosity from the younger kids left behind has died down, and the ones who went are starting to get back to a normal schedule. For Amara, who doesn't exactly have a normal schedule at the moment, that means wandering through the halls in search of something to hold her attention. Hank's lab is apparently the next stop, as she tries to get a peek inside.

The door to the lab is usually closed with a 'Knock before entering' sign displayed rather prominently. Keen ears, however, catch that footsteps have paused outside of his door and Hank calls out, "You can come in."

Rather than peering through a telescope and working on more biochemical projects, he is currently perched on one of the lab stools wearing a jeweler's lens as he works on something that looks much more electronic in nature.

Amara manages to look a little sheepish as she opens the door, stepping inside at the invitation. "Ave, Hank," she greets with a small smile, stepping closer to get a look at what he's working on. "Do you mind if I watch you for a bit? Things are…quiet. It is possible I have forgotten how to properly be…idle. And the children are very noisy. The little ones, at least."

"Ave, Amara. How was your trip to Nova Roma?" He takes a moment before he looks over and lifts the jeweler's lens up and away from his eyes. "I'm afraid I'm not doing anything exciting, but you're welcome to watch." A clawed hand gestures to one of the other stools about before Hank offers a bit of a smile. "It's mostly why I choose to teach High School age and up. Doesn't often mean they're quiet, though."

"At least the older ones occasionally have interesting things to say," Amara agrees, smile flickering as she pulls up a stool. "Nova Roma was complicated," she answers, propping her chin up in one hand. "The Senate voted against allowing the oil company to move in on reserves near the city, and the oil company responded by attempting to send in military contractors to do 'subdue the natives.' It was a lucky thing that we were there, otherwise there would have been many injuries. But that hardly means everything is going to go smoothly from now on."

Beast cants his head some, "The oil company did that? Isn't that…against the United Nations Code? That's kind of an Act of War…surely the Senate can petition the UN for assistance in this matter if they persist." That is rather disturbing, that an oil company thinks that they can bully a small country like that.

"It is complicated," Amara grimaces at the question. "Because Nova Roma's status is complicated. We are and have always functioned as an independent entity. We were not consulted when Brazil was formed, obviously. But the same could be said of any number of indigenous Amazonian tribes. And if we are recognized as independent, then so could they be. And if the same is done for them, then it opens the door internationally to any number of separatist movements."

"But would you rather open the doors for other tribes and indigenous people to declare their independence or have to fight the oil companies…or other companies that want to either use or destroy your resources? Maybe it might be time to consider becoming a part of Brazil…or maybe even becoming your own, separate country," Hank points out. "I mean, I'm sure you've considered it all…I certainly don't envy Nova Roma's position."

"I'm afraid the answer isn't entirely in our hands," Amara shakes her head. "We'll need international recognition. Sponsors. And the UN would have to stand behind us. Even then, it is likely to be difficult. Look at places like Taiwan, Tibet, Chechnya. Just because you claim to be independent doesn't make it so." She wrinkles her nose, shrugging. "I had a meeting with the ambassador from Themiscyra. I'm not certain if they'll be able to offer any support, but at least it was worth a try."

"Advice at the very least, I would hope. Since you have males in your society, I doubt they'd be interested in sponsoring. But I hope I'm wrong. It would be rather fascinating, actually," Hank grins some more at that, "As Themiscyra is Greek-based and Nova Roma…well. It's very 'Percy Jackson'." Because somehow, he knows something about those books. "However, haven't they declared independence and have UN support?"

Amara's lips quirk despite herself. "Yes, very Percy Jackson," she agrees, amused. Apparently that's one of the pop culture things that made the cut in terms of catching up. "And they have. But Themiscyra is an island, which makes the process considerably easier. Being in the center of Brazil is more complicated. You may be right that petitioning for formal recognition would probably be easier. But whether or not the Brazilian government would respect our culture, and any rights in the area…That is another matter."

Beast holds up a finger, "Ahh, I think you might be surprised. Thirty or forty years ago, perhaps that would be an issue, but now?" The finger lowers, "I would imagine that they might encourage tourism and you would, no doubt, get linguists and anthropologists there to study your culture. But I doubt they'd try to make you 'Brazilian'."

"Perhaps," Amara agrees with a dip of her chin. "It is a frightening prospect, either way. Things are going to change for us, and it may or may not be for the best." She leans forward to get a look at what he was working on, clearing her throat softly. "What were you working on, before I interrupted you?"

Beast shrugs, "Or you can try to stay the same…but that might be to your detriment before too long. Well, Nova Roma's. However, I think that you can still maintain your culture, but it may just take more work." Not that he's particularly studied in Politics or Anthropology. He read a few books about it…took a few classes for fun.

The question has him picking up the smallish, electrical item, "I've been trying to figure out how to make a dampener for Nancy. Finding a way to nullify…nullification isn't the easiest thing."

"How do the other ones you've made work?" Amara asks, hooking one heel up onto a rung of the stool. "I mean, are they acting on the results of the power, like canceling out radio waves, or are they acting on the x-gene itself?" She may not have studied science, but she's proven intelligent enough to follow the basic concepts of most things.

Beast smirks a little ruefully, "I haven't really made any before. If it was as easy as cancelling out radio or heat or other energy waves, it would be one thing. But I'm not entirely sure how one is supposed to measure what Nancy does. I've looked at her cells but aside from some sort of biological intervention, this is unchartered territory. It's rather fascinating, actually."

Amara taps a finger at her chin, pensive. "Well, I'd say figuring out how her powers work would be step one. They only seem to work within a certain distance," she muses. "But they don't stop the effects of powers." She tilts her head, eyes narrowing. "You need to find out how they're working as in how she's making it, and how it actually effects the rest of us. You could compare cells inside and outside of her sphere of influence and see what the difference is?"

"And she's able to control the 'aura' by how calm or worked up she gets. That's not unusual, really. Most of us figured out our powers through intense emotion." Unless they were born with it, of course. "How do you mean they don't stop the effects?" He gestures to himself, "They turn me back to before I was this. I would say that affects the effects. Again, it's about measuring how she does…I suppose we could see if it's some sort of energy output…"

"If I open up a fissure from outside of her range, it still reaches her," Amara clarifies. "But there is a lot of cause and effect that goes into tectonic movement. I am the catalyst, but the rest is…physics, I suppose." Considering his explanation, she hums to herself. "What things could cause a field effect for her powers? Pheromones, if it's smaller when she's calmer, maybe? Or else some sort of psychic field, which goes back to how it's acting on other people."

"It's something that affects our genetic code…which doesn't seem to be psychic. It could be biochemical, but to affect something so greatly at the genetic level…" Hank frowns at the item he was working on, "Pheremones wouldn't do something that immensely, I wouldn't think. Pheremones mostly affect sensors in our brains…"

"So if it isn't psychic, then it must be physical somehow?" Amara quirks a brow, propping her chin on one hand again. "You could test that, though. Put her blood next to one of us, see if it produces the same effect. But what else anywhere in nature can act on the genetic code of something else unconsciously?"

"I've done that," Hank admits. "It counteracts the mutation in our blood. But that's her blood with our's. We know she's not bleeding on us…" He looks at the table and his notes, "It could be some sort of biochemical energy…" he turns to look back to Amara. "Radiation."

Amara's brows both rise this time. "Well," she says slowly. "I suppose that makes sense, actually." She tilts her head, then looks to the device in his hand. "So I suppose the answer would be to approach the dampener the way you would approach something that decreases or limits radiation."

Beast arches an eyebrow, "Lead? Not the healthiest." But it's something to consider. Something to experiment with. "It's obviously not traditional 'radiation'…" although now he's going to have to get out a Giger counter to be sure. "But if it acts like Radiation, we might be able to find a material that blocks it…or if it has an origin within her body. Does her skin radiate the energy? Her heart? Her head? And focus the item thereā€¦"

Amara hops down from the stool, smile flashing. "And now I have been at least somewhat useful," she declares cheerfully, putting the stool back where she found it. "You should talk to Nancy, by the way," she adds. "She seemed very quiet on the way back from Nova Roma, but she didn't seem to want to talk to any of us. Perhaps she might feel differently about you."

Beast starts to smile in return, but when the conversation turns to talking to Nancy, it fades. "I'm not entirely certain that's the best idea right now. I know she's been flirting, but…I'm not in a place to explore any of that right now." He has a lot to work through and it's nothing that anyone else should have to shoulder. "But I'll try. I don't want to be the reason for her happiness…or unhappiness."

"No flirting is necessary to listen," Amara assures with a small smile, shaking her head. "But I am sure you know yourself the best. Be well, Hank," she says with a hand to her heart as she moves for the door. "And good luck with the dampener."

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