Sins of the Present

March 16, 2015: While Cyclops and Phoenix plan a recon mission on the Centurion Project, Rachel comes to confess her insubordinate actions.

X-Men HQ



  • None

Mood Music:

Jean and Scott are in one of the control stations, suited up as if ready to go on an operation. For his part, Scott is hovering over a terminal that displays satellite imagery, albeit delayed, of an island in the Pacific where the Centurion project had been discovered.

"The Professor wants us to take it out, so, I was hoping the two of us could do recon on the area before assembling a team." He cycles through a few satellite images, going on. "Build a strategic plan that can wipe the whole thing from existence, with minimal loss of life. Once we…"

Suddenly, Scott goes eerily quiet. He tabs back to a recent satellite refresh and stares at it for a long moment, a frown forming on his face.

Should Jean look to see, she'll find nothing but fresh volcanic magma spilling up from the ocean, frozen by the image capture as the lava flash cools into obsidian.

Must be some kind of glitch… right?

She sat half upon the console itself, doubled over to zip up slightly gold boots that catch with a slight hitch at the back of her calf. She was listening, but Jean's concentration was elsewhere, like the need to do lesser weight training before she gives herself the thunder thigh effect. For now, she's stuck with thunder calf. "I already have a few choice people that I'd like to come with us. Suppose it could be a family affair?" It sounded weird, coming from her. But there was a hint of pride there in her voice. "Nathaniel, possibly Rose.. she's the good sort." Those were her two cents on the matter, for she actually wanted to see those two in action. "Rachel naturally. And Cable, possibly." That secret..

She was listening still, fixing the rest of her outfit with a few zips and tugs, turning once she hears the last of his words drifting into the ethers. "Scott?" She murmurs, her hand lifting to clasp his shoulder, holding on tight as she watches the scene displayed upon the screen with a very, very deep frown. A frown that draws her into a frightening silence.

"Try it again."

Rachel had been gone for a few days and her return an hour earlier had been one masked with the utmost of secrecy, straining her powers so that not even her mother would know she was back; although there was always the possibility she had sensed her.

One final task had to be completed before she confessed her sins and with the deed done, she let go of her telepathic shielding. It would be easy to sense her now.

She was approaching the control room Scott & Jean were in.

Jean could easily sense both guilt and a heavy sense of relief from Rachel.

Stepping into the room behind the pair, she forced a smile, "Hi Mom. Hi Dad."

She stared at the screen, eyes widening a bit.

"Scott?" Cal's voice comes through the intercom. With Cyclops logged into the computer system, he could tell where their fearless leader was. "Did you delete the Sentinel programs for some reason? I was going to update some but they're all missing. And for some reason the computer isn't allowing it to be saved when I recreate oneit."

A command entered and the satellite feed refreshes. Scott checks the time stamp, the complex global positioning metrics, the satellite hack. He rolls back to a previous image, inspecting the length between refreshes. "It's right," he murmurs quietly. "There was… some kind of glitch. There's a gap in the feed. Like something's been erased."

When Rachel enters, her father's face is a mixture of confusion and concern. That being said, there isn't a shred of his soul that remotely considers the young woman would be responsible. No, his thoughts go to other places. Magneto comes to mind. SHIELD. Would SHIELD do something so brutal? Is such a thing even built into their code of conduct? Magneto lingers upon his mind, but he doesn't say anything of it. He opens his mouth to formulate a response, but Cal's call distracts him. Turning aside, he presses a button to open their end of the comm. "… what?" He looks to Jean with alarm; his mind is already suspecting that they may have an intruder. Mystique could probably pull it off. "No," he answers, stammering a bit. "No, I… I just noticed a gap in satellite coverage myself."

Jean couldn't do anything worthwhile. Computers, recovering data, it was not her forte. But instead.. she focuses elsewhere, that burn within her chest, the heavy clench of her heart. Her eyes sting for but a moment but it's subsided. Rachel?

She felt her before she even announced herself.

Her gaze goes towards the young woman, then back towards Scott.. Calvin's voice upon the other end setting in a mild panic that doesn't dare reach her face. The grip upon Scott's shoulder tightens before it releases, a heavy breath soon exhaled as she draws her gaze down upon Rachel. It wasn't accusing, but it was one filled with worry.

Rachel looked between her mother and father and a soft sigh escaped her lips, "I'll confess to everything, just give me a chance to explain." She gulped, biting on her lower lip as she looked between two of the leaders of the X-Men. She really wasn't sure how they would take what was about to come.

Satellite coverage? Of what? Given Cal just mentioned Sentinels, the only thing that makes sense is of that base. He's about to say something more when Rachel's voice comes over the open intercom, confessing to everything. Whatever everything is. "Did you…" Cal asks over the intercom. *BLINK* "…delete the Sentinel programs?" he finishes as he walks in the door behind Rachel.

The squeeze from Jean deepens Scott's frown. He grows a bit slack jawed when Rachel mentions confessing, and then Calvin is teleporting in, accusing her of deleting the Sentinel programs. Closing his mouth, Scott draws a very deep breath, then let's it out with a long sigh. "Rachel…"

He's… not sure just what to say. So, he adopts silence, though his visored gaze might as well be blasting optic red toward her face.

There… there were no words. No wonder she felt the heavy hand of guilt upon her. It was tight, it squeezed her throat, the phantom pangs constricting and releasing all the same. Her eyes squeeze shut to blot out the emotions, for when alone with Scott they ran free. But now? The room was growing crowded. It was time to shut out the noise.

"..confess what." She was going to let her speak, her gaze gone towards Calvin to offer up a slight shake of her head. Maybe she was confessing something else? A drunken brawl, she found a boyfriend… anything but what Calvin was suspecting. "Explain."

Rachel steps away from Calvin before regarding her fellow X-Men in the room, Scott and Jean mostly, "Yes. I did delete the programs and I used authorization codes I /know/ to insure they can't be unlocked again unless something similar happens."

Her hands are on her hips, "That data existing, may have led to the creation of Sentinels if it got into the wrong hands. Just the idea alone was enough to inspire if someone ever hacked our computers. I couldn't take that chance." Maybe it was paranoid, maybe it was playing it safe; perhaps a little of both.

Rachel leans back against one of the consoles before pointing to the screen Scott and Jean had been looking at, "I lead an unsanctioned mission. I take full responsibility for my actions."

The young woman closed her eyes and whispered, "I did it to protect all of us."

Unless they asked, she wouldn't explain what happened beyond that. Jean would sense she was ready to accept the consequences of her actions as an X-Man without fear, it was the consequences of her action as a daughter that scared her.

Cal can clearly pick up on Rachel's guilt and her sense of being in the right. Which is not to say she is, just that she believes so. Nor does it mean he agrees. "That is incredibly flawed reasoning." he points out. "You're assuming a time paradox: there were Sentinels in your time because a Sentinel from your time came back in time and started the idea of Sentinels thus making Sentinels a reality. Except that Sentinels exist in multiple realities where your future doesn't and has never happened. Ones where camps for mutants already exist despite you not being part of it." On the subject of the base? That he needs to hear more about.

For a long moment, Scott seems to remain motionless. Save for the kneading of his chin back and forth, he doesn't move a muscle. Calvin's words are heard, listened, and under normal circumstances he would digest them; in this instance, it's simply too much for him to handle. The general idea was at least captured. Eventually, however, he shakes his head and turns away, finding a gloved hand coming to rest upon Jean's forearm. He turns to look at her.

Read my mind, Jean. He can't project telepathy, but he understands how it works. He can't look her in the eyes, but right now, he needs to know that she's looking inside. Jean… what do we do?

They were as much blood parents as they are foster parents to a fully grown daughter.

"Rachel." Scott turns back to look toward his daughter, mouth pressed into a thin line. "There… the Professor authorized us to take it out. We were…" He gestures toward Jean, lifting his hand from hers. "… planning the operation."

Jean just.. stared at Rachel. She could comprehend, could understand the reasons as to why, she could even understand the reasons and the need to wait, to share information, to operate as a whole instead of an army of one with others to follow. Scott's grasp draws her eyes towards him, that link they share opening.. one that blocks all others when in play.

I don't know.

She wordlessly offers, her own jaw tensing. For Cal said the thick of it, what really mattered through it all. Everything that was done, was based on an assumption that no one could see. This.. this was difficult. She wasn't prepared for anything like this. She never imagined it. Not with her own daughter.. but then again..

"Who was with you." She started. "What happened." She almost took a step forward, but she leans against the console yet again, to still herself.

Rachel shrugs her shoulders at Calvin as if she wasn't going to argue time travel with him or what could and couldn't be; she had her beliefs and he had his.

A nod is offered to Scott, "I'm glad you were."

Rachel smiles sadly, "It would have been too late though. They were packing up the facility as we arrived. Two of the centurion units were operational; we destroyed them along with everything else."

A soft sigh escapes from Rachel's lips, "I'm sorry and I understand if you want me to go but I won't give up those who helped me because it was my responsibility. I'm Sorry Mom.." She couldn't apologize enough.

Shaking his head, Cal leans a shoulder against the wall. "Get rid of the computer blocks. We need those Danger Room scenarios. Whatever else you think you're doing, you're also making sure that the X-Men have /no/ experience in fighting Sentinels. And that could kill us since you can't guarantee that the cat isn't out of the bag no matter what you did. We can take extra steps to guard them, restricted access, storing them on a computer not connected to the main unit, etc but if they do show up in thie reality, the X-Men need to know how to fight them. That lack of knowledge and experience might very well be part of what leads to your future."

When Scott had told the X-Men that he didn't want them to be at war, he meant it. What he didn't mean is that they would be avoiding battle at all costs. Perhaps… maybe he wasn't clear about that? There's little time to second guess himself, but the thought finds it's genesis and quickly burrows a little hole in the back of his brain.

His chest rises and falls when she tells them that the operation was clearing out. Had they waited, they might have missed the opportunity. She… had done the wrong thing, but it had worked out well in one regard; that the project was gone. Judging by the satellite imagery, which still lingers upon the monitor, little else survived either.

Scott is forced to wonder what kind of team he ended up raising in Rachel's future; what he taught the X-Men that would create someone willing to take so much life. Then again, how would he feel if he'd lost the ones he loves? Rachel had shown him her future. He'd felt that loss of life when Storm went, when Bobby was shattered into a hundred pieces. A shiver runs down his spine, but… it finds itself a cold home in the belly of his gut.

"He's right," Scott echoes on the tail of Calvin's request. Their base was blocked, guarded, secured, even warded by the arcane. He leans forward, staring at his daughter with a disapproving frown that he simply can't hide.

"Answer her, Rachel. Who… and what."

Even Scott is momentarily surprised by the coldness of his tone.

There was a slight look of distain that passes through her, her gaze flitting towards Calvin as he speaks his peace. He was right; but she didn't need to say so. She didn't need to voice that part of the opinion. This was almost killing her.

Her hand lifts to rub a little at her jaw as Scott speaks, his own coldness doesn't spark hers, but as she does offer up her words and opinions, there was a little gentleness there. Somewhat chiding but not.

"Rachel. You do not understand. Keeping the program secret from us, taking off with a few people who may or may not have been experienced when it comes to a mission or.. fighting. You could have gotten them killed."

There was a pause there, and finally she stands.

"What if what you had done had gotten one of them killed? Or worse? Would you have come to us now, with the same speech and spiel, knowing that their deaths, their blood would be on your hands?" She sweeps her hand along the room, frowning deeply. "What if, what you had done today comes back to destroy us all. Listen to Calvin. Listen to your father."

Rachel shook her head once more, "I gave my word to them and I won't break it. If they come forward on their own later, it's their own choice." She could tell none of them were happy with her and it suddenly gave her chills that she could be the cause of the terrible future she lived in just by coming back.

Wasn't that what Dr. McCoy had told her in the future once before he died? If you go back to change the past, you're bound to become the causal effect for that event.

"Do what you need to do to me. I did what I had to. What I was sent back here to do." She clearly was not going to give up her conspirators, she owed them as much.

"Jean." Cal says quietly, turning his attention from Rachel for the first time since he showed up. "I don't think anything Rachel did, beyond keeping us from training to meet the threat, endangers us. Whatever they were called, those were Sentinels and in every reality I've seen with them, they have only one purpose: neutralize mutants. Or in some cases, anyone with powers. The danger already existed; she took steps to remove it. At worst, someone who escaped or wasn't there when the base was destroyed might see us as an even more dangerous threat but I doubt it would make a difference in the long run." As an aside, he asks Rachel "Did you consider that? That not everyone who knows about them was on the base and is still outthere?" But back to Jean and Scott. "She did what was necessary even though she isn't happy she had to do it. I've had to do that a lot and it's never easy. We just need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And that means training." He's not upset about the killing; he's upset about the Danger Room scenarios.

Were it not for Calvin, Scott would have probably done the equivalent of 'busting her ass back to recruit'. He's awfully damned close to doing just that. However, the program did need to be stopped. Could the X-Men done that? Did they have the resources to completely erase an operation without destroying everything and killing everyone? It's… a slim possibility, but even the strategist in him knows that total annihilation is the only way to be sure.

Scott puts a hand upon Jean's knee. He turns to look at her meaningfully for a moment.

She showed me her future. I couldn't imagine something so terrible. Should she have the will to look, Scott allows, for a moment, the memory of Rachel's scenario to flash through his mind. It's little more than the visage of death and destruction; even their most powerful had been crushed. I can't punish her for trying to save us all.

Scott rises, leaving his hand upon Jean's knee for a moment. He closes the distance, reaching out with a gloved hand to gently take Rachel's chin. "More thananything, Rachel, it hurts that you didn't trust us." His fingers caress her chin for a moment before letting it go the gesture paired with a deep sigh. "Calvin's right. Restore the scenarios. I will restrict them to senior members, and if anyone ever dares to steal them, I will personally make sure they're wiped out."

For something like that, Scott would be willing to take life.

"Nobody wants to see you on some kind of leash."

Jean was disappointed in Rachel. So much that it was felt among the room to those that were susceptable to it. But it was pulled back and tucked under, her arms folding about her chest as she draws in a deep breath and a sigh. Cal catches her attention, her lips quirking very briefly, lips pressing into a thin line as she gives a slight nod. "But you never know." She leaves that out there, then.. her gaze falling upon Scott as she listens to his voice, taking in the imagery that he projects into her mind that gives a chill to her bones. A certain chill, one that was oddly familiar. Her hand lifts to rub a little at the back of her neck, red hair caught within her fingers to cause them to stay and work out the kinks.

Then don't. Jean says simply. He was their leader, after all.

Still, further words were kept tight and locked away, blocked so no one could actually hear. As Scott takes to Rachel, Jean looks away, her hand reaching out to turn off the monitors to allow the screen to fade to black.

Rachel smiles a little when Scott places his hand on her chin.

His comment about her being on a leash, it crushes something deep within her heart and soul. Suddenly she just feels very empty. Jean would definitely sense the comment had hurt, more than Scott would ever know.

"I wish I could do what you want Dad. The only one who might be able to do that is possibly.." She sighs, "Professor Xavier. "

The dissapointment from her mother stung more than a thousand knives in her heart.

Cal's eyes flick sharply to Rachel when she reacts to Scott's comment. He's not sure why but he'll ask another time. "Are you implying you've been telepathically programmed, Rachel? Do I need to ask by whom? Because if that's the case, I thinkt he Professor should not only take care of the Danger Room scenarios but look for things you might not be aware of."

Rachel offers a quick reply to Calvin, "No. The authorization codes can't be reversed by me. Only the Professor might be able to."

Bad luck seems to follow Scott around like a little lost puppy, nipping at his heels. There's no way he could possibly have known the effect his remark would have had, and without telepathy, he can't sense it, either. He only hopes that no one connects what happened to the X-Men, or the paradox may find its home. With a hand raised to massage the back of his neck, he turns and walks away. He's going to let Calvin handle this; he needs to, for the rawness of everything has hit him in a personal way, as well. He pauses next to Jean; she'll see his eyebrows raised in a manner that mirrors the grief in his soul.

Scott's comment, and Rachel's reaction took the breath from her. That.. hurt. Even if she was apart of the future, or of many other possible future's, that was still her daughter. The vacuum effect of Rachel's emotion causes Jean to tense up visibly, teeth clench, and gaze turned away from the three as she resolves herself to think. To just think about something else.

There was a good thing that Calvin was here, he was the sound mind and voice that they needed, for Jean could feel herself becoming quite emotional over it all, wanting to yell and to rant, to tear down the girl and build her right back up. To show her right from wrong and just how blurry that line could get.

Thank you, Cal.

But once Scott stops near her, she looks up towards him, the frown finally penetrating gentle features, her hand reaching out to make moves to grip his arm but.. no. To hell with it. She tugs him into a very, very much needed embrace.

It'll be alright.

"I'll talk to the Professor then." Cal says. About more than the Danger Room codes too. He'd like to make sure Rachel is program free, especially if the Phoenix Force did it. Or even worse. "The one thing that concerns me" he says to Scott and Jean, "Is that not everyone was at the base. Regardless of who took it out or when it happened, there's no way to tell everyone in the know was there. We should have Kitty and Doug look into it." Without looking at Rachel, he sends Tell me about it all later. You know I'll understand.

Rachel tells Calvin with a simple tone, "No. We're going to have a very big problem if you pursue this any further. It's over with and if you don't drop it, I might drop it for you." That might have been a threat.

The embrace is welcomed, answered. Scott would have rather lingered there, but the exchange between Rachel and Calvin draws him away. A sharp breath is drawn through his nose, and he turns back toward the other two.


A sharp look is given to Rachel; a look that seeks concession given to Cal. "I will bring this to the Professor's attention, and his decision will stand. This goes beyond the X-Men and any of us as individuals."

That tone… suggests that Cyclops will not have words like those exchanged in this base.

When Scott gets mad; Jean gets glad.

Somewhat. While she preferred him to be on the low with his little bout of anger, it was understood as to why he withdrew and took to the two as lead. "You two should pack it up." Jean finally offers, standing away from the console now at Scott's side. "Get some rest. I need to speak to Cyclops in private."

Rachel turns and begins to leave without another word.

«I didn't mean it as a threat Calvin. You just need to trust me. It's like arguing about the existence of God with someone who does not believe. I'm sorry.»

She really hoped her parents weren't going to get jiggy with it in the control room. People worked in here.

Actually, I meant tell me about the mission. Cal sends back. I want to hear about it. He nods to Scott. "Sure thing. You're the best choice to take care of it." Scott's the leader, after all. In this reality. And it's so nice not to have that monkey on his back. Even if old habits die hard.

Scott releases a long and low breath when Rachel departs. He looks after her for a moment, before bowing his head Calvin's way. "Thanks, Cal." It is heartfelt, even if to normal ears, the two words feel heavy and numbed. It also beads the tone of a dismissal; if Jean wants to speak with him in private, then privacy they will have.

There was a moment of thankfulness as Rachel leaves; not because she was disappointed in her, but she nearly assumed that there was going to be a fight. One that they had to break up. Beast would pitch a fit the size of a thousand suns. She offers up a little smile towards Calvin, but yet it fades only briefly. Those two still have work to do.

Get my message, Calvin? He would know what that meant, that if he allowed her to gently nudge and pry uninhibited. Either way, that smile picks up again as she nods her head, but once. "Thank you Calvin." Mostly for being the voice of reason in a very hot spot.

I did. Cal sends back then gives Scott and Jean a nod. In a *BLINK*, he's gone. After all this, he needs to work off some tension and his Brood program in the Danger Room is just the thing. He can let his inner Wolverine out. Literally.

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