Better Living Through Chemistry

Summary:
November 23, 2014: Beast runs into Mimic in the X-Men's base and various things happen.

X-Men HQ


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


One of the most advanced pieces of tech in the X-Men's arsenal is the Danger Room. There, combat skills can be honed and tactics tested. And sometimes, it's used just to release stress. Cal's currently inside running a combat program. While not all the safety features have been turned off, many have. Armored up and claws out, he's covered in gore as he battles and kills large insectoid aliens. Fortunately, Earth has never encountered the Brood in this reality. Yet. The ferocity displayed could be unsettling to those who aren't used to Wolverine but is something Cal's been known to release now and then.

Hank McCoy noted that the Danger Room was in use and had to check to see who was in there. The students aren't supposed to sign it out without a teacher to supervise, but when has that ever stopped a teenager? Rules are merely guidelines.

Moving into the observation deck, he notes the settings before he glances out to see who is in there. He watches a moment, noting the movement and weapons that Cal seems to employ against the Brood…which look rather nasty. He doesn't interrupt quite yet, but when there seems to be a brief pause in the action, he asks over the speaker, "Have a bad weekend?"

A second Queen collapses atop a pile of workers and Cal looks around for the next target when Hank's voice interrupts him. "Computer freeze. End program." The wasteland that was New York city and all the alien corpses disappear. So does the gore covering him; the benefit of holographic simulations. "No, just practicing. They might arrive one day." he says, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down. "You want a turn at them? I can dial it down a bit." A lot.

"Might they?" is asked pack as Hank watches the Aliens go. "What -were- they? And how would they land and attack without warning from…well…NASA? The Military? Superman?" He grins at that last. "I'm good for now, thank you. I've actually had a rather fruitful weekend…no need to rend anyone, or anything to bits right now. Thank you for the offer." A bushy eyebrow lifts, "And why would you have to dial anything down for me? Just because my claws aren't two feet long…"

"Brood." His experience with them is not something Cal has a habit of talking about. "They go from planet to planet to colonize them and either kill off the inhabitants or use them as hosts for their young. NASA would never see them coming before they landed." He leaves the Danger Room and steps into the control room. "So what did you do this weekend that was so fruitful?" he asks, choosing not to answer that final question.

Hank McCoy is well aware that his question isn't answered. Golden eyes scrutinize Cal as he moves to join him in the control room. "Brood. And they are stopped by…mere physical force? I suppose insecticide wouldn't work." There's another sort of grin then before he answers "I think I finally got something to work. All signs point to it working…" so that seems to be a good thing. "What made you decide to run this particular program? Are you concerned about an impending attack?"

"Pretty much." Cal agrees. "They're extremely strong and armored. And if they manage to implant an embryo inside someone, they can take over that person as it matures and have access to any powers as well if they're present. They're a hive mind and extremely dangerous." He shuts down the console then perches on the edge of it to look at Hank. "I run it weekly or more. Anyway, tell me more. Signs of what working?"

Hank McCoy tilts his head some, "So you feel they're a major threat then?" Interesting. He'll have to do more research on this. "You'll have to tell me more about them so we can all be trained to deal with them. Also, how they implant an embryo — I can work on some sort of armor for our uniforms that might help with that." As for what's working with him, he moves to crouch on one of the chairs, his elbows resting on his knees. "The Professor and I had a long talk about…a number of things. Things that you and I have talked about…and things that have been concerning me. He suggested that I continue working on the serum from Nancy."

Cal shakes his head. "Armored uniforms won't work." Not when the stingers can penetrate his armored skin. "But you're right, we should talk about it some other time in case they show up." Just not now. "To negate mutant powers?" he asks, frowning as he considers Hank. "And you think you're on the right track? Has it been tested yet?"

There's a nod in regards to talking about the Brood…later. He'll remember to bring it up again fairly soon. In regards to the serum though, Hank gives another nod, "To negate them…in a way. I don't intend on having this for public consumption. I know I'm on the right track — it's been nearly completed for a while now. I just hadn't gone further for," there's a brief pause, "A number of reasons. But the Professor agreed that it might be necessary."

Hank McCoy also adds, "It hasn't been tested on a person yet."

"And you intend to test it on yourself." Cal states, sounding quite certain of that. "What happens if something happens you don't anticipate? You're the only expert on this so if you're incapacitated, what happens then?"

"Better me than anyone else, Cal, and you know it. I know that something could go wrong, but I don't think it will…" but that's what he thought about the serum that ended him becoming blue and bestial. Hank shakes his head, "I don't think I'd be incapacitated. It's not like I'm creating something out of the blue here. It's…I know what Nancy did. Either it works or it doesn't. I suppose that the worst would be that it becomes permanent…"

"Nancy has a power. Replicating it into a drug is something else." Cal points out, shaking his head. "I know I'm not going to talk you into changing your mind so I'm not going to try. Just promise me you'll let me know when you decide to test it so I can be there. I want to think about precautions we can take too."

Hank McCoy gives a sigh, "Cal, this isn't about me now. It's about making sure that the students are safe if I decide I want to get out of my lab. If I want to go into the City to see a play or to a museum," or on a date. "It's about preserving the school's secret. The Professor agreed." He looks over at his friend for a long moment, "Would you rather I remain in the school aside from X-Men missions? Or that I sever myself completely from the school?"

"Of course not." Cal answers with a snort. "But I also think you're overstating the risk to the school. There are precautions we can take to make sure you're not physically followed. As for being traced here… You're an employee. Or we could get you a fake ID to use so it's Hank Smith painting the town red."

"Or I can take the serum and appear as…not-blue and furry when I go out. The Professor agreed that this was probably the best way. In fact, he pretty much suggested it…I merely mentioned that I had the potential to make this serum." Although, it's Xavier, so he might have known much more. Hank gives another sigh, "I appreciate your concern, but I don't think anything will happen. I think the serum will work. It shouldn't leave me completely inept, you know."

"Shouldn't." Cal repeats. Not won't. Shouldn't. Just like the last serum shouldn't have activated a secondary mutation. "I just wish you were happy with who you are, Hank. And realized that you can have a perfectly happy, fulfilled life no matter what. 'If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?'" he quotes. Can I get an Amen? "In any case, I want to be there. All right?"

"I agree with you, Cal." Hank hops off of the seat and moves over to the other, "Look. I agree with you. I've been thinking long and hard about this…and I could have taken this serum a while ago." It's apparently been ready for longer than he's implied. "But I didn't. Because you're right. I have to be happy with who I am and this is who I am. Now. It's who I probably would have been even if I didn't try to fix my 'defects' before. I know this. I know you don't believe me, but this isn't about me. Not like it was before." He adjusts his glasses, "I don't want to be caged up, Cal. Even if…" he lets that go. "Right now, this is for the School."

He reaches out to clap the other on the shoulder, "I'd be happy if you were there. I didn't mean to interrupt you from your Brood attack…"

Cal steps in to give Hank a hug. "Okay, Hank. I'll take you at your word. And if there's anything I can do to help you, just let me know okay?" After a few moments he steps back. "Don't worry about the Danger Room session. In fact, I'm glad you came by. I wanted to ask you about SHIELD since I know you've had contact with them."

Hank McCoy returns the hug, complete with a sound clap on the other's back. As they step apart, he blinks some, "SHIELD? I've had some contact…some better than others, but not much. What did you want to ask?"

Returning to his perch on the edge of the console, Cal asks "How were your experiences with them? Were they all hung up on bureaucracy and secret clearances or easy to work with? Reasonable people? That kind of thing. I don't know who you had contact with but I imagine they were all scientists? I'm more curious about the higher ups if you met any."

"Why?" is the next question. "Are you thinking of joining? Of dealing with them? Of…breaking in?" Hank cants his head some as he looks over at the other. "I think I need a little more about why you want to know before I can give any sort of answer."

Cal laughs at the last option. "No, I'm not planning to break in. I don't think it's public knowledge yet but you might have heard that the Justice League has agreed to a working relationship with SHIELD? I ran into Superman the other day and he mentioned it. I'd been thinking about maybe working with the JLA for a while but something's always come up." Most recently, leaving this reality. "But now…" He shrugs. "So I'm curious what experiences people have had."

"I hadn't heard," Beast shakes his head, but resumes his crouch on one of the seats in the Control Room. "Well, SHIELD is Government…which would lead me to presume that the JLA will also have some government connections. Which, depending on how you feel about things, could be important. Secondly, yes, most of my dealings have been with the Scientists," and one in particular, "And while they're willing to discuss certain things, there was mention of meeting in a lab and it seemed that I would not be permitted to go to their's. I also met with someone of, what I suppose, is higher rank, and she was very 'by the book'."

"So your general impressions?" Cal asks. "I stopped by the Triskelion the other day and talked to some of them briefly. Believe it or not, she hadn't even heard about the Justice League yet. And boy was she pissed. I had to reinforce my shields to keep her anger out she was projecting so much."

Hank McCoy removes his spectacles and cleans them off with a handkerchief from a pocket, "My general impressions are that, as a very specialized Govermnent Agency, there is a great deal of red tape that must be navigated. I'm sure they have multiple levels of clearance that one must go through to get any interesting information. They're Government. Need I say more?"

"No, not really. That's pretty much what I was thinking." Cal agrees. "But the Justice League isn't actually joining SHIELD, I don't think. Just working in tandem with them. That's one of the things I want to get clarified. But if you're going to work with a government agency, one that answers to the UN instead of an actual country is the way to go, I think. Possibly for us too at some point."

Hank McCoy returns his glasses to his face, "Maybe. But then we have to play by their rules…and we already break more than a few here. I'm not sure it would be in our best interests to work for any government agency, if you ask me. It could mean…well, they'd want to keep tabs on mutants. I'm not terribly keen on that idea, especially for those who want to hide who they are."

"Work with, not for." Cal corrects. "And not on everything. But as I said to them when I was talking to them, they most likely find out things before the Justice League so can tip them off to it before it gets worse. The same could apply to us. But there'd need to be limits, of course. I don't intend to let them know my name, for instance."

"Same difference when it comes to the Government, if you ask me," Hank points out. "If SHIELD wants to know your name, Cal, they'll know it. They're…I still think that they were part of the reason why HYDRA found us to attack us here. I also think that they probably know almost everyone here because of it."

"Could be." Cal agrees with a shrug. "I don't have the same disrust for governments that some people have but things were very different in my reality. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt to the UN even if I wouldn't any specific country. The world needs to get over its tribalism and learn to work together before something shows up and its too late." Like the Brood.

"And you think that they'd trust us? It's one thing to have people like Superman in their back pocket, but if we aren't controlled by them, do you really think they'd work with us in a friendly manner?" Hank points out, "Maybe for a specific instance where we were needed, but…we're mutants, Cal. The world still doesn't seem to like us very much."

"It needs to start somewhere, Hank." Cal points out. "I'm willing to make the overture via the Justice League even if I'm not quite ready to for us yet. If we never extend a hand fearing it'll get bitten, what are we doing here?"

"It's your choice, Cal, but I don't trust SHIELD…and I wouldn't trust the UN to decide, if we make the wrong turn, that they're suddenly against us. I would also beg you, if you decide to do this with the Justice League, to be so very, very careful. Careful that they wouldn't find out about here and the kids."

"No one can track me here, Hank." Cal assures the other man. "They won't learn my name and they can't follow me. But…" he muses, consideringly. "I suppose it wouldn't be a bad idea if you built a room with enough shielding to block all types of tracking devices and an array of detectors. I could make a habit of always porting into it, just in case someone tries to slip something onto me."

Hank McCoy arches an eyebrow, "You want me to build a Faraday Cage that you can teleport into?" He can't help but look a bit skeptical. "Isn't that…dangerous? They might do more than stick bugs on you, you know."

Cal just looks puzzled. "What's a Faraday Cage and why would it be dangerous? You're starting to sound a bit paranoid, Hank. The Red Team is in a lot more danger than I would be for that kind of thing. They're right out there and public." Not to mention Cal's a lot better able to take care of himself than most of the kids are.

Hank McCoy takes a moment to organize his thoughts, "It's a cage that blocks static and non-static electric fields…and radio transmissions. Basically, there could be no way that any sort of reception that could get through it. You'd need to be debugged before stepping out, but…I suppose…I could talk to the Professor about it. I guess it wouldn't be entirely superfluous…"

"We do have a number of teleporters." Cal notes with a nod. "And the Red Team is the most vulnerable. Illyana could also bring everyone into it first. Just make it large enough we can assign specific areas for people so there's no possibility of porting in when someone else is in that spot."

Hank McCoy ums, "That would probably blow out the power to the house, Cal. I might be able to get one that fits one person. The Red Team…" he shakes his head, "Don't even get me started on that. I don't think it's a good idea…and I'm just waiting for someone to show up here at the school, having been discovered because of them."

"It's a very brave thing they're doing and, I think, a potentially good one. They're putting their money where their mouth is. Or rather, their lives where our ideals are. It's what got me thinking about all this, in fact." Reaching up, Cal runs hand over his hair. "There's risks to everything. The question is, can they be minimized and are they worth it. I think so."

"I think that maybe we have differing opinions about the Red Team. I applaud what they're trying to do, but I'm not entirely sure that it's the best way to do it. Not with us trying to keep the Institute a secret." But they're also more easily hidden as mutants unless they show their powers. Hank gives another sigh. "I can't focus my energies on minimizing their risk. They chose this method. I have the students here, the Institute itself, and the Gold Team to focus on."

"What? We found something we disagree on?" Cal asks, feigning shock. "Who'd have thought. Worse comes to worse, Hank? We pack up everyone and open another school somewhere else. Canada maybe. Illyana can certainly get us all out in a minimal amount of time. Even quicker if I mimic her power. Or I port everyone away. But we're all taking precautions so it shouldn't come to that."

Hank McCoy rests his elbows on his knees again, "I'm sorry, Cal. I don't entirely trust Illyana. I'm sure she's doing what's best for the Red Team, for now." He's heard stories, after all. "It's not about moving. I don't think that the Professor wants to have to pick up and move everything because the Red Team dipped their quills a little deeper than they should have."

Nope. Cal's not going to debate about Illyana. "I"m sure he doesn't want to. I don't want to. But if it happens, it happens. Without risk, there is no reward. It's a bold move and can pay off greatly. Yes, it could also crash and burn. But, like starting to work with SHIELD, it could save a lot of lives down the line. Human, mutant, everyone."

"I think we're just going to have to disagree on this one, Cal. I don't think the world is quite ready for what you seem to be expecting and proposing. If the Red Team can do it, if you can do it, I'm happy to be proven wrong. But I can't really condone it. My focus is the safety of the Institute and those within it." Hank lifts a shoulder at that. "You do what you want to do, Cal. But I don't want to turn the Institute into a Fortress."

"Time will tell." Cal says and shrugs. The die is cast and all that. "But we all want the Institute safe and anonymous till it's truly safe for us all to come out. Which is the goal of all this, after all. We're all being careful." If not as slowly cautious as Hank might like. "Anyway, thanks for the info. I already talked to Roberto about them so I think you're the only other one who had any contact with them."

Hank McCoy nods, "Of course. I can try to make an introduction, if you'd like. I can't guarantee anything would come of it, but…I can try." There's another pause then before he asks, "When might you be around for the test? I should probably do this sooner than later, to be honest. I can run some more fail safes, but I'm very confident that this will do what it's meant to do."

Oh, I already talked to them." Cal reminds the other man. "I don't need an intro. I can be available whenever you're ready so just give me a call." He thinks a moment then says "A way to determine from afar that it's unoccupied would be handy. An app of some sort."

Hank McCoy blinks a moment, "That what's unoccupied? Give me a couple of days to check my tests again but then we can try it out, I suppose…or now. I guess any time is as good as another and if something goes wrong, you can call for help."

"That cage thing." Cal answers, brow furrowing at Hank before he realizes what he's talking about. "Oh, you mean the serum. Any time, Hank. Whenever you feel it's ready." If it's now, that's fine. If he's nervous, next year is also fine.

There's another sigh, "Cal, I'm not building that unless the Professor says we should. Even then, it's not like the students will be playing in it or there will be picnics in it." Hank scrubs a hand through his mane of hair, "Honestly, it's been ready for a few months now. "

Cal just shrugs. "Whenever you want." he merely says, obviously willing to go with whatever Hank decides.

Hank McCoy watches Cal for a moment before he hops down from the chair, "Might as well get it over-with. You wanted to be there…it's ready…if anything happens, I trust that you'll do what needs to be done." He then gestures for Cal to follow him to the lab. "If it works, I'm afraid it'll be quite uneventful."

"Here's to uneventful." Cal murmurs and follows Hank to his lab. "Of course I'll do what needs to be done." Whatever that might be. "Was anyone helping you on it? In case I need to go get help from someone who has a clue."

"Not a one," Hank shakes his head. "Just me. I'm sure Charles will know what to do if this goes…well, another step further in the mutation," he looks at his clawed hands for a moment. "There's information on my computer if you need to look up the formula, but…I don't think it'll kill me." So there's that.

It takes only a short time to get to the lab. Unlocking it, Hank lets Cal inside before he moves to where the serum is stored. There are actually a number of hypodermic needles stored there…presumably with the same serum. He gestures for Cal to take a seat while he retrieves one of the needles.

Instead of sitting, Cal goes over to the needles and one *blinks* out. "Just in case we need a sample and they get broken." he tells Hank. Which is a nicer way of saying 'in case you mutate further and go on a rampage'. Turning, he leans back against the counter. "I'm good here."

Hank McCoy starts to protest as one disappears, "Cal…" but he takes a moment to let those words sink in. "There are others…and the formula is also on my computer. I don't want that getting out." There's an exhale, "I understand your reasoning, but…please keep that hidden from everyone." He then moves over to one of the computers to check something before inspecting his chosen needle.

But, enough stalling.

Taking the needle very carefully in his teeth, he rolls up an arm of his sleeves and gives Cal a nod.

"Here goes nothing."

"It's in my room and I'll bring it back once we're certain you're okay." Cal tells Hank. And then he waits. Outwardly calm, he's ready to armor up if need be. Or port them both to a hospital. Or just play it by ear.

The needle pierces his skin and the serum is administered. Really, it's like a flu shot…or the inoculation given out earlier against the potential mutant-killing poison. Hank keeps a hold of the needle as the disposal unit isn't immediately near by and he doesn't want to move just yet.

It takes less than a minute before it begins to take effect. Blue fur recedes, replaced by much less hairy flesh-colored flesh. Gold eyes become blue and sharpened teeth dull.

Thus far, it seemed to have worked!

A couple of breaths are taken before he looks up and over at Cal. "I'm sorry, but who are you?" is asked…

But he can't keep it in for long. There's a grin as he moves over to clap another shoulder, "Just kidding…just kidding. Well…looks like it worked." He does glance down to his bare feet — they still show his mutation. "It worked. Thank god, it worked."

Cal frowns at first but then shakes his head at the joke. "Not funny." he says but can't help but smile a little. "Congrats Hank. It looks like it does. But we should wait and see before breaking out the champagne. Did you deliberately make it to just counter the secondary mutation or was it supposed to reverse everything? And is it permanent?"

"I'm sorry…" Hank is trying to hide his giddiness that it worked. The needle is tossed in the appropriate bin before he moves back towards the other, "Not even Nancy's very close proximity…and don't say anything…couldn't get rid of my entire mutation. I was born with these…" he wiggles his toes some, "And not even she could get rid of them. So I'm not surprised that the serum made from her blood couldn't either." He goes then to check his computer briefly before turning back, "It…shouldn't be permanent. I wouldn't do that. I…" and here he glances down briefly, "I don't -want- to do that." It's a first time admitting that.

A pale hand is held up before he closes his eyes and tenses. It's not the prettiest of sights, but splotches of blue begin to appear and it only takes a few moments for his transformation -back- to blue and furry is complete. He looks back at Cal then, sharp teeth showing in a grin, "That one was really the question…I'm glad my calculations were correct."

Cal's brow quirks as he spots the returning fur but Hank's lack of response keeps him from saying anything. "Oh, good. That was planned. You should take a blood sample and make sure nothing is different than what's to be expected. Since it's never been tested on a human, you don't know if it's damaged anything. Or if there's a cumulative effect." He might not be a scientist but he did lead the X-Men in his reality. He needed to have at least some idea of scientific procedure.

Hank McCoy nods, "I planned on that. I don't know that I'll be able to take a sample every time I go back and forth," but he gets out a lancet for a quick sample or two. "And yes, it was planned. I'm…I decided I didn't want this to be permanent. Well, the other. Your earlier words didn't fall on deaf ears, my friend." The sample is quickly prepared so he can look at it later. "There may come a time where I won't need to use it anymore, but for now…well. Thank you for being my observer for this, Cal, and thank you for your concern."

"That's what friends are for, Hank." Cal says simply. "I'd like you to always have an observer when you take another dose until the testing is completely done. Or as done as is reasonable. Just because the first dose was safe, it doesn't mean they all will be and having someone around is just a good idea."

"Who's the scientist here?" is asked with a grin. "This dose should last at least through the day if not into tomorrow. It's all the same batch and I don't plan on taking it regularly; just when I need to go out." Or when he wants to go out. "I'm still Beast as an X-Man and I don't intend to change that. I'll do my best to have someone around, however." Although if something -did- go wrong, only a few might be able to handle it.

"I learned from the best." Cal says with a grin. "But what do you mean it should last through the day? Can you control the effect and switch it on and off?"

Hank McCoy nods, "That's the intent. Sort of like how you can call up different powers, this should let me go back and forth while it's in my system. So, if needed…" if he's out and needs to shift, he can.

"No time like the present." Cal says and makes a small hand motion. Get on with it. "Let's put it to the test and see what limits it has."

"You're such a taskmaster," Hank smirks but closes his eyes and takes a few deep breaths, presumably, to relax. As it did before, the blue begins to fade, replaced by his much more human-looking self. Blue eyes open again and he glances at his hands and feet, "It's an improvement on the last one I tested on myself, I can tell you that."

"I imagine it feels strange but is it painful?" Cal asks, watching the process curiously. "Tiring? Let's see how many rapid transitions you can make. Wait." he adds. "Hook up those machines of yours to monitor yourself before that."

"So, no time for that champagne, I see," Hank smirks, "It's…odd. Not really tiring, but I have to get a bit worked up to go back to the blue, and relax to go back to the…human. There's a little pain involved," after all, claws, hair, teeth, and muscle are changing with each shift. He begins to undo his shirt so that he can attach the electrodes for monitoring, "You totally owe me champagne."

"An entire bottle." Cal agrees, shifting his attention to the monitors. He might not know exactly what they mean but sudden spikes generally only mean one thing. "Take a blood sample every ten minutes so we can see how fast it's metabolized and if shifting back and forth increase the rate." His Hank was a genius too and taught Cal well.

Hank McCoy sighs, "No chance to rest on my laurels, huh?" Although he probably would have done all of that after doing a dance around the lab. "Siri…set timer for ten minutes," and a cell phone across the room answers back, 'Timer set'. "At least you aren't having me running on a treadmill while doing this." But he does his best to try and shift back and forth between the two forms. "Are you just going to sit and watch?"

"Pretty much." Cal agrees cheerfully. "And I was planning on exercise too. Just after the shifting. You need to get used to shifting while under stress in case you need to. In a way, you've got a new power and we need to determine its parameters."

"I may begin to despise you," Hank grins, shifting back and forth, not terribly quickly, but as smoothly as he can, noting the readings on the monitors. "And here I thought I'd have a nice, fairly quiet evening…maybe start a new book."

"You can read tomorrow. I'm sure we can think of several hours worth of experiments to perform. And I'm going to stick around until all traces of it are out of your system." Cal tells Hank. And true to his word, that's exactly what happens.


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