A talk with the king (Sins of the Father III)

Summary:
November 3, 2014: Polaris wakes up after being poisoned by Zaladane, she finds her powers have been "stolen" and that Magneto was also caught. More revelations for the green-haired woman follow.

A tower in the Savage Land

It is a jail, looks like any jail despite being inside a 18,000 year old Atlantean tower, in a swamp, in the Antarctic.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


Whatever Zala gave Lorna was not mild drug. Once the green-haired sister fainted, she was feed the antidote, but she didn’t recover right away. In fact, Lorna barely could recover consciousness when she found herself bound to a device in some kind of lab. It is hard to remember. There was a short guy with an oversized head that was both creepy and cruel, and Zala being all imperious. A lot of pain and Lorna shifting from sleep to painful half-daze for a few hours. Then a vague memory of Zala gloating how she now had Lorna powers and she was ‘ready’. And sleep, long sleep.
Now Lorna is waking up and it is pretty dark. A brazier in a corner provides reddish light, and she is in a small cell, maybe 12 square feet, on a cot. Steel bars leave the cell open to those in the hallway beyond, and there seem to be other cells in the chamber, all likewise barred. The cell is bare, but for the cot and a jar with water on the floor.

"Urgh." The noise that emanates from Lorna as she begins to regain consciousness isn't a word in any language, but it adequately sums up her present state of being. She. Feels. AWFUL. Her head hurts, her mouth feels like something died in it, and she feels generally exhausted and beaten up. Which probably isn't too far from the truth, given the day she's had… or has it been longer than that? As Lorna wakes up more completely, oddly enough the first thing she wonders is how long she's been out. Because if it's been more than a few hours, and Cyclops and the Blackbird survived whatever happened to her, she could reasonably expect to have been found by now. Since she hasn't been… that's unlikely to be good news, and she needs to accept that she really is alone.
Pushing herself up on her elbows, Lorna looks around at her surroundings. She has to blink a few times before her eyes manage to focus, but what she finally does see does nothing to raise her spirits. "You got yourself into this one." She reminds herself, her voice sounding rough, and her eyes slide across to the water jar before she firmly looks away. She's not drinking anything else here, that's for sure.
As more half-memories of her treatment by Zala come back to her, Lorna stops feeling quite so sorry for herself and starts feeling a good deal more angry about what's been done to her. She uses the anger, pushing herself up off the bed. Her first order of business is to get over to the bars if she can, the next is to find a way out of this cell… whether or not Zala was telling the truth about taking her powers.

Bad news: she can’t even sense the bars. They look steel, but there is nothing where her magnetic senses should be. Certainly she can’t just bend the bars with a glance. Standing up is no problem, even though her muscles ache, it feels more as if it was from being too long resting in a wooden cot without even a pillow than from being beaten up.

It's an extremely odd sensation, being able to see the bars (and, depressingly, touch the bars) when they otherwise appear not to exist to her senses - or more likely, it's those senses that no longer exist. Lorna stares at them for several seconds, /trying/ to reach out to them with her powers, keeping at it for so long that she almost manages to convince herself that she really /can/ feel them, that she really /has/ gotten hold of them with her magnetic powers, but when she tries to move them, they just… don't. Not a rattle, not even a tremor. Nothing. Lorna's suddenly seized with anger, irrationally strong, and she grabs the bars with her hands as if she could physically rip them apart… which of course she can't. She doesn't yell or rant, just clenches her teeth and pulls at the bars until she's breathing heavily, each breath a hiss between those tightly-clenched teeth of hers. Finally she gives up, as abruptly as she started, letting go, throwing her hands up in frustration, and wheeling around to pace the small area she's been confined in. "Damn. Damn!" Her words are spoken in the quiet tone of someone who really, really wants to be shouting. "I /am/ getting out of here, I /am/ getting my powers back and when I get my hands on her I /am/ gonna be a damn only child again!" Finally halting, Lorna clenches her fists as her anger rises again, but this time she manages to beat it back down. When she's mostly sure she's not going to throw herself at the bars again, she starts examining them, and the rest of the cell, as minutely as she can, for any way to get out, or at least for anything she might be able to use.

Suddenly, there is a scrapping sound from outside the cell. From some other cell, actually. Apparently Lorna is not alone in the chamber. Someone, a pretty large someone is standing up from another cot. “Is that so, Polaris?” Yes, it is a man, speaking perfect English with a grave voice, without the weird accent of the Antarctic natives. “Tell me. Where are your fellow X-Men?”

Lorna freezes when she hears the other voice, the sudden realisation that she's not alone pouring cold water on her anger - at least for the moment. She moves toward the front of the cell, trying to get a look at whoever's speaking. "Yeah. Might take me a while, but yeah." She replies for a couple of reasons. Mostly because she doesn't want whoever's just spoken to think he's frightened her into silence, but also because although she's realised just how unlikely it is that what she's just being saying will come to pass, the alternative to her bravado is, well, to give up. And she's not quite ready to do that yet. "Before I answer that, who are you and how do you know who I am?"

"Oh, I have followed your career from afar," replies the man, walking closer to the light. "Professional interest, among other things. Magnetokinetics are not common." Lorna can see he is a strong, middle aged man, wearing white and black armor. Although his armor is broken and bloodstained in some areas. She has heard of him many times. Magneto.

Magneto?! Lorna's eyes widen almost comically as she gets a good look at the man in the damaged armour. She's never met him, but she recognises him. She could hardly be an X-Man and NOT recognise him. Getting over her surprise, those wide eyes narrow suspiciously as her mind races. Zala talked about genetic tests, and Lorna guesses she knows where she got her samples from now. Assuming her 'sister' was telling any part of the truth and isn't just completely insane. In any case, Lorna fights the sudden urge to greet the man with 'Hi, Dad.'
So what should she say? Nothing would seem the obvious choice, but looking at the man, she doesn't believe this is a ruse to extract information from her - and she doesn't know anything that would be of much use to him anyway. "Not that uncommon. There are three in this tower alone. Or there were." From her tone she's clearly still smarting at the loss of her powers. "Look, I'm having a really bad day. I fell out of a plane, I have no idea what happened to the others…" Well, other, but he doesn't need to know that. "So just tell me: Is all this your fault, Magneto?"
You'd almost think she wasn't intimidated by his presence. Which isn't entirely true.

“In a rather redundant way,” replies Magneto, a touch of sarcasm in his voice. “I built this place, for instance.” He kicks at the bards. Solid. “But no, it is a creature called Garokk. He wants to invert the world’s polarity, which is why he lured us here.” He steps back to sit down on his cot. Lorna can’t see his face anymore.

Lorna wasn't actually expecting him to say 'yes', but surprise is followed immediately by that same irrational anger that she felt before. Even though it was only a qualified 'yes' that doesn't cover what Zala's done to her, Lorna still wants to yell at Magneto, for dragging her here, for dumping her in a swamp, for torturing her and ripping her powers away… Lorna grabs the bars of the cell with one hand, squeezing until her knuckles are white and she feels like her fingers are about to break, keeping it all inside. She knows on some level that what's really driving her anger is fear, and more for not knowing the fate of Cyclops than for herself.
After a few seconds she takes a deep, ragged breath. "All right. Garokk. Zala said that name, too." Lorna goes quiet again, still looking at Magneto even though he's not looking at her. "She said…" Lorna shakes her head. "Never mind. You don't sound like you want the world's polarity inverted, so…" She takes a deep breath, not really believing she's about to say this. "What are we going to do about it?"

“I am going to kill Garokk,” replies Magneto matter-of-factly. “They are taking me back to the Sun City at dawn. That will put me close enough. Meanwhile, you should rejoin the X-Men as soon as you can. Or did you come here alone?”

Lorna's eyebrows go up again. "Good luck, I guess." She says that a bit faintly, and without really thinking about it. Nothing she's heard about Magneto gives her any grounds to doubt that he's going to do anything less than straight up kill Garokk. The idea of telling him not to doesn't enter her head. If the Professor hasn't been able to change Magneto's outlook, she can't hope to… and although she's never voiced it, her own values don't exactly line up with the most strident of the X-Men.
And there's another key problem, which apparently Magneto has missed as well. "Not quite alone, but rejoining them's going to be hard if I can't get out of this cell."

“Oh? That is no problem.” The door of Lorna’s cell creaks open slowly. “It is still two hours before dawn. We are three floors under ground level. You might need to avoid some guards.” Of course there is also a swamp with dinosaurs up there. But Magneto assumes Lorna knows that.

Lorna's discovering that Magneto's just full of surprises, as he opens the door for her. From his cell. Which means… Lorna grimaces. His threat to kill Garokk is suddenly looking a lot more plausible. But she's not getting out of her cage any other way, so Lorna quickly steps outside the bars before he changes his mind. "Thanks." She says, to fill the awkward silence as she hesitates outside the cell. She has a lot of questions. Why he still has his powers, for a start, and perhaps even more important to her, why did Zala claim he was her father?
But if she hesitates too long, she'll lose her own chance at escape. And then she can't do anything about Zala. "Look, Magneto, why don't you come with me? Maybe we can come up with a better plan than assassination?" It might be a mistake, but she'll wait for his answer - and then she's leaving, with or without him.

Magneto looks at Lorna for a few seconds, as if seriously considering her offer. “No. They think I am powerless, if we both escape they would suspect otherwise and take measures against me.” He stands up, “Brainchild and Zaladane believe their machine has transferred our powers to her,” he chuckles, “they don’t know much about mutant genetics. Go, find the X-Men, or hide. Survive.”

Truth be told, Lorna didn't expect Magneto to give her suggestion a second thought. And although he does finally go with the answer she'd expected, the hesitation before he speaks makes her curious. Curious enough to over-rule her decision of a moment before, that she needs to get out immediately unless she wants to be thrown right back inside her cell. For a few moments she remains where she is, irresolute, then - almost unwillingly - she walks toward the cell where Magneto lurks. "That sounds like the sensible play." Lorna admits as she approaches the bars.
"But I sometimes have trouble with sensible." If that wasn't so true, it might be funny. "The thing is, Zaladane seemed to think she DOES know a thing or two about genetics." Here it comes, if she's going to back out now's the time… and it's not like she'll be able to trust any answer he gives her. These are all good points that her better judgment is making, and Lorna's ignoring all of them. "For example, she said she'd done genetic tests that proved I was her sister. And that you were her… our… father." Lorna reaches out to take hold of the bars of the cell with one hand. "Is there anything you want to tell me?" She injects some levity into her tone, as if she doesn't care about the answer.
But if that's true, why's she still here?

Magneto ahs soundlessly. “I suspected she would have.” So a few seconds pause. “I made a promise to your mother I would keep you away from my war, and from myself. It was… ironic you ended up with Xavier nevertheless. It was still better if you didn’t know, I though. Yes, it is true I am your father.” He gives Lorna a few instants to digest, which he also uses to collect his thoughts. “As for Zala, her story is quite incredible, and yet I have heard some very incredible stories in my life that ended being true, and so I am reluctant to disregard it completely. Genetic testing is unable to identify the exact familiar relationships. But… mostly likely she is closely related to the both of us. Otherwise her body wouldn’t have been able to adapt to duplicate our powers.”

Lorna's hand tightens a bit on the bar as Magneto reacts with such complete and utter calm. Lorna hadn't believed Zala when she'd claimed that Magneto was her father - she's still a little shaky on believing that she has a previously unknown sister who's a complete and utter nutcase, similarity in appearance and powers notwithstanding - but Magneto is undeniably HERE. That's what caused the worm of doubt to burrow its way into her mind, and the fact that Magneto hasn't answered her question with utter derision isn't helping her maintain her skepticism. And she'd very much like to maintain her skepticism.
So much so that when Magneto matter of factly mentions her mother, Lorna barely registers it. She blinks, incredulously, and her voice is a strangled yelp when she says, "WHAT?!" She manages a somewhat more normal tone when she speaks again. "Wait, what? My mother? What? Are you actually saying…" He is. No amount of trying to talk over the top of him is going to change that, evidently. Lorna's grip on the bars is now white-knuckled. In fact, the bars are vibrating, just slightly.
"Magneto, just… stop talking, for a minute, OK? Stop talking." Lorna's breathing fast, and she concentrates on getting that under control first. Because it's something that she CAN control. She's not going to have a sudden revelation about BREATHING to throw her off-balance, after all. It takes a long few seconds, but finally she regains a measure of calm. And then has to snort back some laughter she really wasn't expecting. "So Obi Wan never told me what happened to my father, huh?" Lorna knows that now is not the time for jokes, but somehow she can't stop herself. "Don't take this the wrong way, but if a sales pitch for ruling the galaxy is coming next, I'm leaving." And yet, again, she doesn't. Instead, she takes a long, ragged breath. "So I'm supposed to believe that Magneto, the Master of Magnetism, the guy who really doesn't like humans… had kids with one?"
Lorna just looks at him for a couple of seconds, then lets go of the bars so she can throw her hands up. "This is ridiculous!" She says, turning around to face away from the bars. She only manages to maintain that position for a couple more seconds, before she slumps down to sit with her back leaning against the cell. "But it's true, isn't it? Does the Professor know?" Lorna lapses into a dark, brooding silence, then finally says, "All right. All right. I'm not going to… whatever. So she didn't take your powers. If she didn't take mine either, why can't I…?"

Magneto stares. Well, she told him to stop talking, didn’t she? Also, throwing at him he doesn’t like humans and still had an affair with her mother. Tsk.
“Your mother was a latent mutant and we met at college,” he mentions. “The how and why is irrelevant, and perhaps I shouldn’t have told you right now. It is not a good moment.” But there might not be another moment. That is why he did. “As for your questions. I do not thing Xavier knew. He wouldn’t have made a genetic analysis without telling you, he is… he is like that.” Exasperated sigh, here. Xavier, the unpractical one. “As for why you can’t access your powers, it is because your system is in shock. The device they used to copy your power template on Zala’s overloaded and shut them down. I needed a few hours of intense meditation to recover. But some rest would do the same. A telepath could also hasten the process.”

Lorna snorts. "I'm not sure what a GOOD moment for this conversation would have been." There are a lot of things that Lorna could say about Magneto bedding a latent mutant at college, knocking her up, and then apparently vanishing. It's only the fact that saying any of them would only make an already awful situation even worse that keeps Lorna from voicing any of them.
Still not turning around, Lorna hears Magneto's sigh of annoyance and says, "What? You're unhappy because he DIDN'T invade my privacy?" Lorna grimaces, glaring at the opposite wall. "All right, in this one instance I'll concede you've got a point." It would have been so much easier to find this out from Professor X. At least then she might have some idea what to do with the knowledge. She's obscurely grateful that the discussion turns to her absent powers. "Great." Lorna says, letting her head thump back gently against the bars. "I don't have a few hours and all the telepaths I know were smart enough to stay home for this trip." Revealing that to Magneto of all people might be a tactical blunder, but Lorna has bigger problems right now. "So it's back to Plan A. Run and hide." She sounds vaguely disgusted by that. She doesn't want to join in with Magneto's assassination plot, but she feels so… useless.
Finally getting back to her feet, Lorna turns to face Magneto once more. "Why didn't you ever come for me?" Lorna didn't know she was going to ask the question before it was out of her mouth. "I might not be as strong as you, but I'm strong enough. You could have used me. Why didn't you?" Lorna doesn't want to think about what's prompting that question. Doesn't want to be the orphaned girl asking her absent father why she wasn't good enough for him.

"There were several reasons, starting by the promise I did, and that you weren't even twenty when I gave up war," replies the old man, finally stepping back and sitting down on the cell's bunk. "I could have 'used' you, indeed. You are a stronger magnetokinetic than me, Polaris. Far stronger I was when I was when I was your age. Once you master your power, you will be almost unstoppable."

From what Lorna knows of Magneto during his period of open warfare with humanity, she doubts that he'd pass over a potential soldier just because she was less than twenty years old. Perhaps his promise to her mother did mean something to him. Assuming there was such a promise. Assuming, even, that he's her father. This whole outing has been a succession of unpleasant revelations that've been difficult to swallow. Lorna's not quite ready to accept that her life up until this point has basically been a lie. At least, not intellectually. In her heart, she already knows that what she's been told, unpalatable as it is, is the truth.
Green eyebrows rise in astonishment when Magneto tells her that she's stronger than him. The surprises just keep on coming. "I don't feel particularly unstoppable right now." She tells him, the words clearly not requiring a response, intended only to buy her time to think. It's no good, though. There are too many questions. If she asks them all, she really will still be standing here when the guards come for her, or him. And then she'll never learn the answers. When she next speaks, she chooses her words very carefully, as if the wrong word might doom her. "If I get out of here alive." She begins. "And if you're right, and I still have my powers… then I'll find you. If anything you've told me is true, then I don't have any choice."

Magneto hrms. “Of course you have choices. But if you truly wish to see me again, Xavier would be able to contact with me.” Assuming he survives the whole misadventure. He has ‘forgotten’ to mention that unconnected to the magnetic field of Earth he is at ten percent of his usual performance level (which is why he got caught so easily). But if should be good enough to destroy that supposed deity, Garokk.
Because otherwise it will be up to Lorna.
“Farewell, Polaris,” he adds as the young woman leaves.


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