Free Food Wins

February 2, 2015: Cal runs into Nate and they talk about realities. Back scened.

Xavier's. Cafeteria.



Mood Music:

It has been a few days since Nate and Rose arrived to Xavier asking for help for the bombs Stormwatch had implanted on the young woman. The X-Men know of the business, although most students do not. Nate and Rose have temporarily been given rooms in the dorms, although technically they are not students or faculty or… well, it is probably not the first time odd people spend time there. Mutants have weird lives.

Nate is not a common sight at the school, though. He spends much of his time in New York, but when he is around, he tends to be in the school cafeteria, because the food is free, and so is the coffee. Like now. Sandwich and coffee. All a mutant needs to survive another day.

Free, already prepared food is quite the draw and not just for Nate. It appeals to the common (or uncommon) superhero on the run as well. Or just the ones too lazy to cook for themselves. Cal's talking on his cell phone as he walks in and grabs a tray. Both hands being used, a couple sandwiches and some desert float over to his tray and a coffee cup heads over to the machine to get filled with a touch of milk. Such a casual use of powers is not too common but neither is it all that rare either. Satisfied with his selection, he turns and looks for a place to sit, bidding goodbye to someone named 'Steven' who he'll be meeting tomorrow evening for a show.

Nate sits in one of the few tables without a group of students. It is lunch time, and for once he is having lunch on the correct time. Happens about twice a month. Also, unusually, he is not wolfing down the sandwich, since he is talking telepathically at the same time.

And the crowd is why Cal usually tries to eat at off times but it didn't work out that way today. An empty spot in the sea of bodies draws his attention over to the guy sitting by himself. An unfamiliar guy as well which could mean only one thing. "You must be Nate." he says when he gets to the table. "The Professor mentioned you'd be around. Mind if I sit?"

Nate looks up at Calvin and nods, "Yeah, I am Nate, Nate Grey, and sure," he gestures to the empty seats in front of him. "You must be one of the teachers, I still have to meet all of you. This place is pretty crowded."

Cal nods his thanks and sits down. "I teach now and then." he agrees. "Yeah, it's pretty full at the moment. We not only have the kids but the college kids as well though they have their own area and don't usually mix much." The cafeteria though attracts everyone. "So how are you doing? Getting accustomed to this reality? I know how strange things must be for you having gone through it myself."

Nate nods idly at the comments about Xavier's, but when Calvin mentions other realities, he directs a sharp look at the man. "I… yeah, I guess. Not as bad as the first time. Hmm… you switched parallel Earths too? Man, they should have told me. Well, they told me about Rachel."

"The first time is always the worst." Cal agrees with feeling. "Nothing is like you expect it to be and the worst part is not how different things are but how similar: similar enough to get you into major trouble if you're not lucky." He pauses to take a large drink from his coffee before continuing. "I've actually been to enough that I stopped counting but that's more or less done with now. I think Rogue said you don't necessarily have much choice about it though?"

"Not the first time," admits Nate, grimacing. "But I learned to move through the… the Spiral of Earths. Until I got here, at least." Pause. "This is an odd conversation, even for the usual x-crazy standards, who are you? How did you do the traveling?"

There's a small snort of amusement as Cal realizes he forgot to introduce himself. "Sorry. Call me Cal. Or Mimic as the case may be. I take it I don't exist in your home reality?" It's not really a question. "I was kidnapped from my reality in order to fix others. There were several of us and we didn't have much choice about it at first. Then we managed to escape the control of the aliens who were overseeing things and realized it needed to be done to save the multiverse. So we kept on doing it." He shrugs a shoulder. "It's pretty high stress though so people would decide they had enough and we'd find a replacement. Eventually, it was my turn to say enough." The Exiles in a nutshell.

"I wouldn't know about a version of you existing," admits Nate. "I didn't know all the mutants, much less all super-humans. Or maybe you did and were famous, but used another name. Well, good to meet you anyway," he offers the man his hand. "Gotta admit "kidnapped by aliens to fix reality" beats anything I have heard this year."

"It makes for a better story than a job." Cal says as he clasps the offered hand. "Though I'll admit it was interesting. So what was your reality like? The odds against my having been there are astronomical but I might have visited a similar one."

"It was a bad one, and now it is a dead one," comments Nate bleakly. "A genocidal maniac called Apocalypse led the mutants into an attempt to conquer the world, and nuclear weapons were used by both sides. I guess now it is a radioactive wasteland. The X-Men failed. Well, everyone failed and paid the price. Only I escaped and it was a fluke."

"Apocalypse?" Cal repeats, both brows rising. "One… Well, two of my team mates were originally from a reality that's very similar to what you just described. We ended up visiting there to fix things, in fact and they were surprised to see the place wasn't a wasteland. The bombs never landed."

"Lucky them," because Nate is pretty sure the bombs were landing, he felt the people dying, and saw the mushroom clouds rising. He sighs. "It doesn't surprise me it has happened in other realities, I am not sure if Apocalypse is known here. I should find out."

"Not that I know of." Cal tells Nate. "I'm sure someone of his threat level would be making the news and I've yet to see anything like that. You undoubtedly know more than I do though. I'll ask Blink next time I see her."

Nate hrms. There is a danger in assuming. Apocalypse might be known under some other name. Or might be more subtle. It might also be he died centuries ago, but Nate will never be so lucky. "I will ask Xavier," he notes.

"It can't hurt." Cal agrees. "I'm always keeping an eye out for things that I know have been trouble in other realities so we can head them off. Apocalypse is certainly one of them. So what brings you to this one? You implied you have a certain degree of control over it."

Nate nods, "I can move between parallel Earths. Or at least I usually can. Some places are difficult to leave, and it looks like from here I can't shift worlds. I have not been far from New York yet, so it might be just this area."

Cal nods at the explanation. "I've no way of leaving so I can't help you out there. If you are stranded, there's a lot worse place to be." And better ones too. "I'm sure the Professor has made you welcome here." Pause. "If I might ask… Have you talked to Jean?"

Nate smiles faintly, "sure I have. And I am not worried. I have no interest in leaving right now, probably not for a long while." The mention of the Professor makes him grunt in assent. He talked only very briefly to him, still some business pending. "Why do you ask about her?"

"Well, your last name is also Grey." Cal points out. "And you're a mutant. The logical conclusion is you're related to Jean in some way. Your Jean, of course, and not this one. But still, that kind of thing is always nice to establish even across realities."

"Yeah, you are right," admits Nate, "I am related, although… it is complicated. Out powers are very similar, though." He finishes his coffee mug and looks longingly to the coffee machine. "We should find Rachel and compare notes. Those Exiles, are they still around? Or can you get in touch with them?"

"Isn't it always." Complicated. Cal shakes his head at the question. "They are but no, I can't get in touch with them. They know they can come by and ask for help though. So if they do, I'll definitely mention you to them." Noticing he's finished his sandwich, he looks up at the clock. "I need to run. Feel free to send a thought my way if you need anything. Welcome to this reality."

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