It's Not a Long Way to Cairo

Summary:
March 11, 2015: Quicksilver seeks some guidance from Cyclops following his speech. Cyclops gives the antsy youngster some food for thought in the form of a Danger Room simulation.

X-Men Base

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Characters

NPCs

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Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


"Yes, Cerebro, access granted." Scott rises from his computer workstation, thinking to go on and meet Pietro at the main entrance. However, he pauses for a moment, realizing that he's probably about to be joined by the speedster before he can even think to get back on the comm and tell Pietro where to find —


Zzzzip. As if on cue, Pietro skids to a stop just beside Scott. The wind follows after him in a rush, pushing his hair forward and rolling a wave over Scott. Despite the confidence of his entrance, there's something sheepish about his expression.

"Uh, hi. Sorry. I'm sure you've got a lot of shit going on. Do you have a minute?"


— him. Damn, the kid is fast.

Scott raises an eyebrow from behind his ruby glasses. "You don't need to apologize, all of the off limits areas are off limits, even to someone as fast as you." He really doesn't intend to sound mean, but it just comes out that way. To Pietro's credit, he's showing respect for Scott's workload, which is a point in his favor. "I do," he answers, and points over toward a chair opposite the workstation he'd previously occupied. "Have a seat," he says, while reclaiming his own. "Tell me what's on your mind."


Pietro looks at the seat, looks like he would rather stand. Slowing down is bad enough. Being entirely still is near torture. But still, he sinks into the chair. His leg thumps a bit like a jackrabbit. He might be marking up the floor.

"So um. It's about your speech thing. Nice job, by the way." He offers a thumbs-up in the most sincere way possible. "Just wondering if you know about my various, uh, issues. When it comes to being more…active with rights and stuff." So articulate.


If the tapping is unnerving Scott, it's hard to tell. It is, but the annoyed expression is thankfully concealed by his glasses. "Thanks," he answers the compliment drily. "I'm glad it meant something to you." He really doesn't enjoy giving speeches. The young man's next words, though, they seem to interest him. Reaching out, Scott folds up the workstation and folds his hands, studying Pietro for a moment. "Pietro, we barely know each other. Tell me your concerns, I'm all ears."


"Ah, yeah. I didn't know how much the um, the Professor told you." Quicksilver is usually a pretty cocky, self-assured young man. But right now, he looks nervous, and more flighty than usual. He seems to be struggling with expressing himself.

"Well, do you um, know that I'm not American? I don't have any papers or legitimate ID. I smugged my sister and me here. If anyone gets their hands on me, I will probably be deported."


The information doesn't seem to bother Scott at all. He actually smirks a bit, for this wasn't a new scenario. "I doubt anyone's gonna have an easy time getting their hands on you, if that's what you're worried about." Leaning back, Scott considers the young man carefully for a moment. "This isn't exactly new to us, Pietro. We don't particularly mind if you're here illegally; this is a safe place for all mutants, regardless of what things they may have done in the past. It doesn't prevent you from studying here, if you should like, and it certainly doesn't prevent you from training to join the X-Men."

At that, however, he arches an eyebrow. "Do you want to become an American?" Professor Xavier certainly has the means to help Pietro to nationalize.


"I'm just letting you know that things could get really complicated for me if anyone happens to catch me on film doing any kind of heroics. Should I start wearing a mask or something?" For normal people, that would sound like a ridiculous question. But inPietro's case, it's a legit option.
"There's also the matter of the people after me and my sister. People who messed with my memory so I can't remember her name or her face."

"And…" he adds, "I think maybe? I don't have any reason to want to go back to Transia."


"Well, nothing's impossible on that front, but you'll want to speak with a Professor Xavier about that." Scott rubs his chin for a moment, considering, for Quicksilver brings up an important point. "A mask? Depends. My uniforms all involve a mask, partially so that my tactical visor is more difficult to fall off or be removed, but mostly, it's to conceal my identity. See, I'm an instructor at the Institute, and we don't want the X-Men to be connected, in any way, to that school. For the safety of the students. Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, well, that's your call." His brow then furrows. "How long have you been hunted?"


Quicksilver chews on the cuticle of his left thumb. The leg that momentarily stopped jackrabbiting has started up again. "I mean, normally, I can go fast enough if I need to. But the more I try and…help people, the more I start to worry that it's gonna let them find me. Everyone has cameras in this country."

He exhales a large breath, nostrils flaring. "Awhile. My sister…she had an accident with her power. Then these people took us in. We thought they were going to help us, but they wanted to use us. I took her and we ran away." He shakes his head and leans forward, elbows on knees. "I don't know what they want."


"Wear a mask, then." Seems simple enough, right? "One that doesn't impede your vision. One that has style. It does something, boosts your confidence, trust me."

A deeper concern comes across Scott's face for a few moments, but it dissipates when an idea comes to him. "Ever thought of trying to turn the tide? Become the hunter, rather than the prey? If these people mean you harm, well, you have a team now. People who can help you. Back you up."


Pietro's face scrunches up. He's begun fighting for other people, but going on the offensive has clearly never crossed his mind. "It's a little…intimidating to go up against people who have messed with your memory. Although…" he purses his lips. "I've been thinking there might be two groups. Because whoever messed with me, had me. Why did they let me go? Why did they just split us up?"


"There are times when the only answers you can find are by going to the source," offers Scott. "Something for you to think about." He can sense that the guy is feeling uncomfortable, so Scott finally stands up. "First, though, you need practice. Some training in how to work with a team. It can be difficult, even uncomfortable at first, but you'll come to realize that sometimes, our strengths balance out other people's weaknesses." He knows that one of the telepaths may be able to help Quicksilver, but for the moment, he does not bring it up. He doesn't want to overwhelm the guy too quickly. "Pietro, there's something I want to show you. It's a place we call, the Danger Room."


"Is there a highway to it?" quips Pietro. You think he'd be too young for an 80s movie reference, but he's been systematically catching up on American pop culture.

A certain amount of tension leaves the young man's face as the conversation turns away from serious, personal matters like being hunted and manipulated. The self-assuredness starts to slowly return. He also seems to be relieved to be standing. "I like tactics," he says. After all, it takes a decent tactical mind to properly position bullets, objects and fists so that as many enemies as possible get taken out at once.


With a rueful smirk, Scott shakes his head. "Only when Tom Cruise is visiting. Come on."

A minute later, Scott and Pietro are entering the Danger Room. "It's a simulation device. I won't get into the technical details but, it can create any environment, any obstacle, even enemies to fight. All three dimensional, unlimited perceived space, and I'm going to bet the system is fast enough even for you." He looks up, speaking out. "Danger Room, access code Cyclops, 169-Alpha."

"Access granted.a Welcome, Cyclops."

Scott looks back to Pietro, smirking. "Load program Sahara 19."

Gradually, the walls disappear, replaced by what seems to be the endless dunes of the Sahara desert. Even the sun feels real as it beats down upon them. "Well. Go on. See how quickly you can reach Cairo."


Pietro might not know what's actually about to happen, but he senses it's going to be something cool. He tries to contain his excitement - and his urge to zip past Scott.
When they enter and the environment changes, his eyes go as big as saucers and his jaw goes slack. "Whoah." He toes at the sand and then fans his face. Ugh. Of course, Scott had to choose a desert.

After a moment of walking around, zipping off a bit and returning, he determines the proper direction for Cairo. With a cocky grin and a brow-waggle towards Scott, he sets off, sprinting at near-top speed towards where he believes he should find the Egyptian city.


Its a lot of work, but the Danger Room adjusts well. After all, simulations can cheat, but even at his high speed, Quicksilver will realize that the miles pass with surprising accuracy. Sure enough, given enough time, he'll come upon a fully animated simulation of Cairo.

Scott is… nowhere to be seen. A perceived great distance, the Danger Room's hardlight systems have completely masked his presence. He stands there, alone in the desert, studying his fingernails as if bored.


Quicksilver comes to a stop at the edge of a bustling marketplace. A billow of sand sprays around his heels. He feels hot, sticky and dirty. Even with his body's remarkable ability to handle high speeds, desert sprinting is hard work. He mops his brow and walks up to one of the people-simulations. He pokes at a spice vendor who gives him a funny look. Then he starts to laugh.
"HEY SCOTT. THIS IS AWESOME!" he yells, then fistpumps. Oh, the possibilities!


Nothing.

Looks like Scott's gonna wait to see if Quicksilver can find his way back. And it's an awfully big desert.

Lesson #1 - there's never an easy way out of the Danger Room.


Pietro purses his lips, spins around, mops his brow again. Phew. He looks around for someone selling something cold to drink. He helps himself to a couple of helpings of water, then dumps the rest on his head. He tightens up his shoelaces, examines the position of the sun, then prepares himself to sprint back. This time, he pushes his limits almost to their max, hoping to trip up the system. At speeds like that, it's only seconds by the time he's found Scott again. He skids to a stop, sending a spray of sand up through the air. He's drenched in sweat. "This is amazing. But why a desert, man?" He's looking pretty…red-faced.


During the trip back, the system does, in fact, struggle. It cheats, making some of the dunes stretch on for miles rather than meters, speeding through the simulation in order to make up for Pietro's impossibly high speeds. When he does arrive, Scotf lifts his eyebrows and checks his watch. "That… is… amazing." Truth be told, Scott is very much impressed!

When asked about the desert? He smirks. "Well, a highway would have just been too damned easy for you. Besides, I wanted you to experience just how realistic it is. Tomorrow, we'll try something strategic. End program."

The desert disintegrates piece by piece, leaving them inside the silver-blocked room again.

"… You should see our electric bill."


Quicksilver sucks in a deep, sharp breath as the oppressive heat suddenly disappears. As does, presumably, the layer of sand that had caked his shoes and clothing. Not however, the sweat. He spins around, taking in the blank walls. He grins big. "Aw man. This is going to be fun. I'm sticking around for the holodeck alone." A beat, then, "You guys have never unleashed Moriarty with this thing, right?" He waggles a finger between the room itself and the doorway.


Nope. Scott is not getting the reference.

"Tomorrow morning," he repeats. "A beer says I can hit you." He's going to need to program his visor to do a little trick, to even the odds, but he's got the time.

Oh, and Scott is well aware that Pietro isn't of the legal drinking age. Then again… Pietro isn't a U.S. Citizen.


Not only that, but it would be naive to think that a silly thing like the legal drinking age would stop Pietro. He follows the rules he agrees with - which is a rather bad habit. Thankfully, so far, he agrees with most of the critical ones, as well as the ones the X-Men have laid down. Like, well, not entering HQ without permission. For now, anyway.

He positively beams at Scott. "Deal. And if you can't, you let me simulate whatever I want in here."


"Deal." Scott grins knowingly; he wanted Pietro here for strategic reasons, yes, but he cares about every mutant who crosses his path. Knowing what he now knows, he wants to mentor the young man further still, so that one day, he can hunt the people who messed with his brain and try to find his wayward sister. Danger Room scenarios are perfect for that.


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