Confessions

Summary:
March 21, 2015: Audrey and Nate come to Scott, confessing their involvement in the destruction of Project Centurion.

Scott Summers' Office - Xavier Institute


Characters

NPCs

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Mood Music:
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Audrey has never actually been to the Institute before. She joined the Red Team in the city, and even there she's been cautious, only slowly integrating. She picked up enough to understand there was a school, but given her own background, she didn't really have any desire to look at it. She went to "school" with other mutants, too. Military school. With intense operational training.

She arrived in a car borrowed from Roberto, which means it was far flashier than anything she would have picked, and she was quick to get out of it and into the school where she could blend in better. She's not sure if this place reminds her of home in a good way or a bad way. It's a school full of mutants. It seems safe. They seem…happy. But then, so did her home, too. Sometimes.

In oversized black cargo pants and a black t-shirt, with her hair down, she looks young enough to still be a student herself. The slump-shouldered posture of awkwardness as she steps up to the door to Scott Summers' office helps. One deep breath…and then she knocks.


Nate saw Audrey arriving to the school building from the cafeteria. He was surprised by the presence of the young woman in the mission, since the Red Team is so public, but assumed she was Rachel's friend. Besides Audrey was able to be invisible, so she was perfect for the mission.

But now she is here, hrm. On a hunch, he goes to Scott's office and… righto. Rachel already 'confessed' so why not? He dislikes secrets, anyway. "Mind if I join you? Moral support if nothing else," he offers.


Scott Summers is wearing jeans and a t-shirt; a black v-neck at that. He's supposed to be grading papers, but for the moment, a strange artifact is seated upon his desk; an intricately carved pair of serpentine women known in Mythology as lamia, carved from pure silver. The duo are entwined around an impressively sized emerald, with a long platinum chain stretched across the desk.

When there comes a rapping upon his door, Scott quickly snatches the Ley pendulum from the desk and stuffs it into a drawer, before minimizing his Google window and closing the laptop. "Yes, come in!" he calls out, while reaching for the papers he's supposed to be grading and spreading them out where they should obviously be.


Audrey starts when Nate joins her at the door, but his offer brings a swift flash of gratitude across her features. "That…would be great, yeah," she says quietly, managing a strained smile. It fades quickly enough, though, and her posture shifts as she opens the door. Outside, nervous, shy student. Inside, under pressure? Soldier. Her shoulders push back and back straightens until she's atattention, hands clasped behind her back. She moves to one side, making room for Nate with a sidelong glance before she's looking back to Scott. "Sir."


Nate smirks and steps into Scott's office, arching an eyebrow at Audrey's military stance. Ex-soldier? She looked to young. Well, Nate doesn't seem nervous, just vaguely curious. It is the second time in Scott's office, so little must have changed. "Scott," he nods to the older man in greeting.


Beneath his glasses, Scott lifts an eyebrow. He knew of Audrey as one of Berto's kids; she was with him on that important operation to the Negative Zone with Richards. Why she's standing at attention is beyond the teacher; this was no military school.

Pushing his chair back, Scott runs a hand through his hair and stands up. "Well, come in, have a seat," he tells her. "You too, Nate." A gesture toward the pair of chairs before his desk, before Scott sits back down and moves some of those papers out of the way.


"I-" Audrey looks to the chair, and for a moment there's a crack in the facade as she catches a corner of her lower lip between her teeth. "I'd rather stand, sir, if that's all right." This may not be a military school, but that's all Audrey's ever known in terms of dealing with authority. Behind her back, one hand clasps her wrist a little tighter, bracing herself. "There's something I need to say."


Nate glances Audrey when she decides not to take a seat and shakes his head. He does pick a chair and flops down with little hesitation. "Audrey seems quite worried about this matter, so allow me," he looks at the girl. "Since I might know Scott a bit better… look, Rachel asked us to go with her to destroy the Centurion robot factory and we did so. It was not a US army base as rumored; those guys were probably a branch of Hydra or something similar."


For a moment, Scott looks between the two with an expression of mild confusion. That is, until Nate opens the can of beans. A long sigh can be noticed, shoulders rising and falling in a measured gesture.

"So she did," he acknowledges quietly. Rachel had been stalwart about protecting those she'd asked to come on the mission, to the point where Scott remained entirely unaware of who else was present, until now.

"I suppose we'll never know, will we?" he asks. "All of the 'evidence' is at the bottom of the ocean, beneath a massive volcanic island made of fresh obsidian."

There is a touch of accusation in those words. Fortunately, the ruby lenses spare Nate and Audrey the glare that comes from Scott's eyes.


Audrey's shoulders stiffen when Nate drops the bombso casually, but she holds her posture. "It was a poorly planned mission, sir," she agrees, voice carefully even. "No plan of approach, no balanced objective, no contingency. But by the time we arrived and found out it wasn't sanctioned and wasn't planned, we were there. And they were packing up to leave. There wasn't going to be time to come back and try again with a better plan. So we acted." She's not as unrepentant as Nate, but apparently she feels a need to justify herself anyhow.


"Never? Well, that is what Rachel wants to believe," comments Nate with some skepticism. "I doubt it, because I am pretty sure it was something that came from her past, which means it came from the future. She doesn't want to talk about it, so we have to wait. Or maybe ask Juggernaut."

He is not going to comment the lack of planning or the kind of planning. Rachel knew far more she was saying, there might have been a solid plan in what she did. On the other hand, he kind of knows his 'sister' and she is, or was, quite the hothead.


"I know." Scott is addressing Audrey for the moment. It was a poorly planned mission, and he's well aware that once they arrived, they had to act.

He looks then toward Nate. There is a period of silence, until Scott stands up and walks over toward the expansive window behind him. There, he looks out at the grounds and the students at play in the sunshine. "We don't know who else was aware of the project. We don't know if everyone was there, or if data plans, schematics, and the like were stored elsewhere." He turns back to face them. "We don't know, because there's no one to ask." He looks doubtfully toward Nate in regard to Juggernaut; the beast didn't have a reputation for answering questions.

Looking back to Audrey, Scott presses his lips into a thin line. "Rachel made a lot of poor choices. She's also gone." He retrieves a hand written note from where it's been sitting, face down, on a bookshelf along the wall and offers it to her.


"Yes, sir," Audrey agrees regarding the lack of information. "I understand, sir." When he offers out the note, though, there's a roil of emotions from the girl, brows furrowing in a frown. Confusion, disappointment. Even a little bit of betrayal. A little bit that grows as she reads. "So she just-" She presses her lips together, then passes the note to Nate, staring at the point where the wall meets the floor. "I see."


Nate frowns at seeing the note. He didn't expect this… maybe Ray has been hanging out too much with Cable. "Damnit… she should have trust someone," and maybe she did, just not him! "I'll look forher anyway, whatever she is going through, she shouldn't do it alone."


Scott looks between the two, feeling the same sense of betrayal, of disappointment. He turns away, walking back to his desk, but rather than sit, he leans a hand upon its surface, considering everything for a long moment.

"She made the wrong call," he acknowledges. "At the same time, Jean and I had made a decision that would have also turned out to be a bad call. Rachel acted too quickly; we acted with too much caution." He looks between the two. "Sometimes, you find yourself in a no win scenario. But I won't tell you that you guys and whomever else Rachel brought into this just got lucky. I don't call a bunch of dead men and women 'luck'. I call it, 'slaughter'. That's not our way, and if that means we take a few more punches to the nose than we want, so be it."

Scott comes back around to face Nate and Audrey. "I don't know why she didn't bring me into this. Only guess is that she didn't trust me. She assumed I would tell her not to go. That was her mistake, beyond anything else. It's a mistake I hope neither of you ever make."


"I doubt she thought you'd tell her not to go, sir," Audrey says quietly. "But I get the feeling you and she didn't see eye to eye on the topic of whether or not killing anyone was necessary." She takes a breath, looking back to Scott. "Sir, I don't want to kill people. I left- I escaped where I came from because I didn't want to be someone's killer. I was afraid I wouldn't fit here. That I couldn't be what I needed to be for the Red Team, because all I've ever been trained to do is kill. But the X-Men don't kill. That's what I was told. But when I was told it was necessary, I did it. Like a good, stupid soldier." She's angry. But it's hard to tell if she's angrier at Rachel or herself.


Nate shakes his head, "trust is not easy, Ray has some issues," like an obsession with preventing her future from being possible. He can understand, because Nate would go ballistic if he hears about Apocalypse. "This wasn't an X-Men operation, and… she should have told you, Audrey." Then he looks to Scott, "I am willing to avoid deaths whenever possible, in this case, though, maybe Rachel was right. I don't know, but she needed me, and I will always help her."


Looking between the two, Scott seems to develop an expression of understanding. Then, his brow furrows as he considers something. "Do either of you remember when HYDRA made a move against this school?"

He motions toward the windows, beyond which can be seen the institute's front lawn. A significant swath of new grass is growing in a line that spans the entire front lawn, as if it had been destroyed at some point in the recent past. "Do you see that line of fresh grass?"


"Preferably before we were in the drop zone, yeah," Audrey retorts to Nate. "But she should've told-" Finally, the attention stance breaks and she turns away, pacing a step in front of the door. "And then she just leaves?" She pushes a hand through her hair, forcing out a slow breath as she follows Scott's gesture to the window. "I see it, sir."


"I wasn't here," replies Nate to Scott questioning. "I only heard about it, something about a killer virus. They hit Mutant Town too, right?" He has no idea where Scott is going to by asking about this.

As for Audrey, well, he knew it wasn't something Xavier or Scott would have organized. Audrey didn't, and that is certainly something Rachel did wrong. She was too hellbent to destroy the killer-robot idea at any cost, even knowing she would face Scott and Jean's wrath.

There is a lesson there for him too. He needs to think about it.


Scott nods to affirm Nate's question. "That line is there because I made it. Turned my tactical visor to full power, carved a proverbial line in the sand." He gestures with a hand to help visualize what he's describing. "The angle of the blast tore up dirt and rock, throwing it into our attackers faces. Stopped them in their tracks, didn't kill a single person."

He turns slightly then, looking toward Nate and Audrey. "But if any of them made it across that line? I would have aimed to kill."

Shoulders rise and fall; it was difficult to consider that end game but he's been down that road before. "If I take a gun, shoot an armed man who's invading my home, a United States law protects me. It might grace the nightly news, but I'll be branded a hero. Thing is… if I take of these glasses and blast the same crook with my mutant power, it's not going to be viewed the same way. Even if, in theory, it's no different. They won't say that I used a weapon, they'll say that I am a weapon. If Professor Xavier hadn't been there to 'clear things up' with law enforcement, then I have no doubt this school would be on every watch list from the FBI to Interpol."

He looks between the two, hoping that they're able to draw the conclusion he's coming to, without saying it. Killing isn't against the rules, but it does have dire consequences.


"I can't actively kill with my power." Audrey turns back to the desk, crossing her arms loosely over her chest. "I'm a light show, sir. I can make it brighter or darker. I can make holograms. I can see in the dark. I can be invisible. But my powers don't actually hurt anyone. Do you get that?" She closes her eyes tightly, wrestling with emotions she hasn't been able to put into words. Army training wasn't really much for talking about your feelings.

"When I kill someone," when, not if, "It's because I chose to do it. Because I tried to. With my hands, or a knife, or a gun, I end their life. I can't tell myself it's an accident. I can't say it's this power that happened to me, this thing that I am. It's on me. I had a- I had a choice, or a chance, or an option not to do it, but I did. And not because of some higher ideal. Not because of some dream, or some hope for the future. Because it's all I know how to do. Do you know what that feels like?"


Nate hrms at Audrey, "it really doesn't matter if someone uses a mutant power or a gun, killing is killing. But killing is not murder. Soldiers kill in war quite often. Cops kill sometimes. Even normal citizens can kill in self-defense."

"Now. Killing when we don't need to kill is the issue, isn't it?" He gestures outside. "But really… I don't think the main reason should be the social consequences. FBI… whatever. I wouldn't have killed them because they can go to jail, get un-brainwashed, or just change their minds, and become something good. You don't know how lucky you are to have a working justice system out there."


"Yeah." Scott looks to Audrey. "I get that." He listens then, as she explains what it means when she takes a life. "No, Lux, I don't know what that feels like. That's why it's your responsibility to consider the decisions you make,because they will always have consequences."

He turns then to Nate, then glances back out the window with eyebrows raised. "There's never gonna be an easy solution to this. The variables are just too high. The X-Men, we… we aren't a military unit. We exist to help people. Whether that's teaching a mutant child how to control their abilities; helping an old lady move her couch, or using our powers to stop those who'd seek to harm others. That's who we are. It's never going to be easy." He looks out the window again, then back to the others with a smile. "But we face it all together."


"I know soldiers kill," Audrey says wearily to Nate, relenting enough to drop down into the other chair. "Sir, I understand what you're saying. And I don't disagree. Like I said, I left because I didn't want to be a killer. I'm just…I don't know where I fit here. I want to help. I want to do…something good. But right now, all I'm good at is killing."


Nate hmms. He is not sure what they are talking about anymore. "I think Audrey is speaking of something more personal. I am all about helping people, but I was trained to fight since I got memory, and spent years in a war… I am not good for teaching, really. Or a good example for normal kids in a normal world. I am not going to say I am only good for fighting, but maybe I am… I am learning to do other things, though."


"Hmm." Scott considers all of this for a moment, before walking back around to the business end of his desk. The papers are all stuffed into a folder, then, he opens his desk drawer and retrieves the Ley pendulum he's been toying with earlier. "This was given to me, for safekeeping. I've been meaning to show it to Illyana." He gestures toward Audrey. "Take a ride with me to the city? Maybe we can talk with Roberto about all of this." A glance is given toward Nate, eyebrow raised to indicate that the man is welcome as well.


Audrey glances to Nate, considering for a moment. She doesn't know him well. Hardly at all. But there's something encouraging about the idea of not being entirely alone in the adjustment department. "I borrowed a car," she says, adding quickly: "Actually borrowed, there's a pool. But, uh. One of you might want to drive if we're going together. I don't think either of you would fit in the back seat."


"One of these days, I am getting a driving license," comments Nate with a smirk. Chances are he will be able to pilot the Blackbird before that, he is trying harder. Although his teacher just left the school, as that note reminds him. "Sure, I will go with you. About time I meet Illyana."


Looking between the two, Scott smirks. "Nope. Mike Drakos built me a car, and I haven't had the chance to take it for a spin yet." He turns away, crossing his office to collect a jacket. He drapes it over his shoulders, gently placing the Ley pendulum into one of its inner pockets. "Oh. And." He looks back to the two, grinning wider still.

"He claims the car is capable of flight."


"So…you want to take an experimental flying car?" Audrey quirks a brow at Scott, looking between him and Nate as if trying to tell if this is a joke or not. It's not a joke, is it? Is that worse than being a joke? She stands up, still watching both warily. How does she get the car back if they fly? Some way that's got to be better than trailing behind, probably.


Nate hehs. Conversation has taken a lighter tone, but that is fine. He stands up, "hell, yes. I remember. I can't believe you have not tried it yet." He glances at Audrey, "your teammate Mike Dracos said it would fly. So… lets see? I can catch the car if it fails… I think."


""Look, I've gone over the engine and all the specs." Scott doesn't take uneccesary risks, after all. Right? "We'll just fly it into town. Low. I don't want the cops getting SRD involved if they see a flying car speeding down the highway."


"Uh huh." Audrey holds out for another moment, then shakes her head - not quite quickly enough to hide a flicker of a smile. "All right, I'll come with you guys in the experimental flying car. It'll be…fun." Probably not the word she had in mind at first.


Right. And Rose wants Mike to build her a flying motorcycle, so Nate wants to see if that car really works. "A flying car is not likely be exactly legal, uh? But well, most flying superhumans are also in some kind of legal limbo." So, who cares? Don't get caught!


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