04-12-2019
05:32 PM
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04-12-2019, 05:32 PM
[In-Character] [Post #61]
She stared at the suit, as she did often enough, trying to make sense of the contraption she had been forced into, the walking computer that loomed and responded to her call but refused to yield completely to her order and directions. It had other directives, authorization was necessary. Preprogramming that refused to be swayed regardless of the situation. So it stared back, almost tauntingly, hoping she would ask it to do something so it could deny the instruction.

When it spoke her name, it didn’t sound like the soft mechanical murmur she had become accustomed to. It was deeper, warmer, more appealing than the emotionless hum. It didn’t matter how it attempted to emulate the idea of emotion, the suit was not like a Six model, it had never been meant to ‘feel’. The sound of its voice, though, around the structure of her name was something else.

Better.

Something she wanted more of.

She chased it through the corridors of the hall that gave way around her, before her, and when its appearance tried to shift, she realized the state of the dreaming she had slipped into. If she flexed her senses, she could feel him on the periphery, like a thought that kept trying to slip out of reach. A memory that she tried to keep a hold of even as her focus was being drawn elsewhere.

When the suit said her name again, it was someone else’s, one she felt herself miss, drawing her name out in its longer form. More appropriate, Because that was how he had always been, as though he had never had the opportunity to speak it before meeting her and felt compelled to say it whenever possible.

She never thought she’d miss Tony, not when he’d been alive.

Warmth settled against her lower back and she anchored to the sensation, let it draw her through the haze that sought to cling to her perception. Her fingers bunched lightly at fabric, and she rubbed her face absentmindedly against jersey and skin. She opened her eyes enough to see his chin, watched it move and she lifted herself up onto a forearm to better look him over. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and stifled back a yawn. For a moment, she looked to the suit lingering almost completely asleep in the corner of the room.

She smiled down at Jaxon, something sleepy. “Hi.” She looked him over. “Are you…are you okay?” He looked alive, and well enough. A flush to his skin that indicated appropriate blood flow rather than the ashen appearance he had started taking on. She set her hand against the side of his face and gently swept her thumb along hi jaw and chin. Then she twisted enough to look at the monitors, all of which had been turned off at some point. She could recall flipping the main on into hibernation, but she hadn’t turned everything off.

It was…morning? Maybe? “It’s been at least a few hours.”
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08-22-2019
04:34 PM
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08-22-2019, 04:34 PM
FF. To a few nights after Nuclear!Benji / Kiranapping. [In-Character] [Post #62]
Oh don’t be silly, Jaxon.

He could still hear her voice, and see her smile. Kira had assured him that she would be fine. Like always, she would be okay in the middle of countless mutants in an undetected facility. Had Jaxon said anything against that? No. Had he told her that he would stay no matter his technological problems because that was their protocol when taking a non-combatant out of the theatre for such missions.

You never leave the healer alone.

A healer.

Those were hard to come by.

He exhaled, staring at the screen again where the footage from several youtube videos that had surfaced from the night Benji Richards had gone nuclear were running. Kira. She had been there – and instead of having prevented that, Jaxon had been stuck in the lab, once more hooked up to machines.

Last time it had been Caitlin. Now Kira. Who next?! Elise? Would it be her he put in danger next time? Jaxon looked at Benji’s figure bright in the night sky. Mutants were facing a renewed shit storm – even though storm barely cut it; tornado was more accurate – because of the man’s actions that night. And yet, Jaxon was certain that he would act much the same way if it had been Elise.

A shiver raced through him and Jaxon growled. His usually almost clinical demeanour was shaken. He felt unstable, unsteady. Too much had happened – too much hung in the balance. Something was afoot, and he couldn’t put together what it was. Too many moving pieces on the board. Too many variables that were introduced that he did not know how to read.

Paranoia someone had called it. But Jaxon did not think so. It felt more like an elaborate game of Jenga – pieces moving, pieces shifting, bricks pulled out from the lower levels only to be placed on top. The tower was growing and whoever was building it was doing it expertly. But why? Jaxon could not see the reasons for any of it.

His gaze shifted to the open bottle of whisky that stood next to the workstation. While alcohol was certainly not something he indulged on often, it did come in handy whenever a moment such as this one arose. Last time he had dug into the water of life after the video of Scott and Emma had emerged. Tonight felt right to have another drink – or five.
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09-03-2019
05:13 AM
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09-03-2019, 05:13 AM
[In-Character] [Post #63]
The sandwiches were stacked one per plate, four plates high, two water bottle cradled in the crook of her right arm, bag of chips between her fingers. She rounded towards the steps to the lab and nearly ran into a familiar blonde that seemed somewhat scarce at times.

“Where are you going?” She asked, noting Paige was tugging on her leather jacket. She frowned and narrowed her eyes slightly as she glanced around them, realizing the other woman was alone. Then she lifted her brows as she leaned slightly forward, indicating she was actually waiting for an answer.

“I have an errand to run.” Paige replied without missing a beat.

“At midnight?”

Paige then narrowed her own eyes, the hint of a challenge in her gaze. “I’m pretty sure that I don’t answer to anyone so may-”

“Your husband is great with you fluttering about around midnight?”

The blonde hesitated for half a second. “Move along, human.” And then Paige sidestepped around her, wrapped a scarf about her throat and pushed through the eastern exit. No alarm, no anything, except the familiar buzz of the door’s security system being re-engaged.

The idea of anyone being out anywhere alone was unnerving in light of recent events. Paige was capable enough, and Alex was related to Gabe so she assumed something similar in their powerscopes. But she had been witness to Gabriel flying off the handle in light of Caitlin being plucked up. It had happened within the building they occupied. Kira had happened outside of it. And Paige was just waltzing out the door like it was normal. What the- she pressed her lips together. Not her circus.

The steps downward were taken with ease and she counted them out, familiar.

His figure loomed at one of the workstations, hands on the edge of the counter, shoulders pushed back somewhat, likely staring at something rather intently. The closer her steps brought her to him, the more readily she noted the open bottle somewhat within reach. She nudged it with her elbow when she was in reaching distance to do so, then set the four stacked paper plates down, tossed the chips lightly up beside them and the plopped the water bottles down with a little extra umph.

“He puts on a good light show, at least.” She commented in regard to the video feed that Jaxon likely had on repeat and had probably already sat through a hundred times. It was more than just a shiny glitter show, though, there had been actual damage to nearby buildings, shallow seismic activity. Thankfully, Franklin Richards was not some brainwashed drone working for the dips that had made off with the theater’s resident healer. She had already tried to imagine the state of the world if Benji were darker, some hunter kept by the Services on some invisible leash. Yikes.

A keystroke and the video paused.

“You’re sinking.” The ‘again’ was purposely left off. “Don’t.” It came out more of a breathy request.
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09-12-2019
01:12 PM
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09-12-2019, 01:12 PM
[In-Character] [Post #64]
Twice, Jaxon had managed to empty that tumbler. He had not yet filled it for a third time. And as Elise entered the lab, in a way putting herself between him and that bottle, he doubted a third filling was in the cards soon. Jaxon agreed that drinking more might not be a good idea - alcohol often had unforeseeable effects on him. His threshold sat much lower than that of most mutants, and even humans.

He inhaled as his eyes continued to dart back to the screen. That night … it had been the beginning. The beginning of the end? A number of mutants had perished since then - victims to something Jaxon could only call ‘manhunts’. Organised parties that would seek out a mutant unlucky enough to expose themselves, or just mutants whose identity was known would end up in the crosshairs. And before long, they ended up dead. Killed in the streets, by self-proclaimed protectors of the city …

Jaxon briefly wondered whether the average human saw vigilant mutants just like that. Individuals wrongly assuming a role of authority, a role to protect.

Elise’s tone was pleasant, her voice soothing to his frayed nerves as she commented on Benji’s form on his screen. Jaxon simply nodded. “Light, sound … all of it,” he said, his voice giving away that he was barely as distanced from the entire matter as he wanted to appear.

She paused the video, and Jaxon looked up from the screen.

Two words, then a third and Jaxon sighed. He averted his gaze for a moment, eyes looking at the food and water provided for the both of them. “I am,” was all he said. There was no point in denying it.

“Death toll is at four, ‘Lis” Jaxon continued, by way of explaining his state. Blinking a few times, Jaxon shut off his internal connection to the resident system. He was constantly scanning the news feeds. Each new case of a mutant dead that showed up was like a punch to his gut. Jaxon looked at the woman standing next to him.

“That’s on me,” he told her. “Last time we almost lost Caitlin, and you got shot. This time, they get Kira … and now four more are dead.” And underneath his words lay a single question. How can I not be sinking? Jaxon swallowed against the bile rising in his throat. He was not one prone to self-pity. Allowing as much as this of his own struggle to show was something private for Elise’s eyes and ears only.
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09-15-2019
12:48 AM
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09-15-2019, 12:48 AM
[In-Character] [Post #65]
Water was better than whiskey. At the moment at least. For him. If he indulged in that bottle, if he let himself slide around the lip and down into the waiting belly of the amber liquid, he’d spend much of the next day running scans of himself and trying to separate the human from the machine bits. Like that first morning. Only the first morning had been a bit brighter, and it had had nothing to do with sunlight. There had been nothing in the manner of guilt toying with his thoughts then.

Light. Sound. He was settling into he matter, regardless of the simplicity he tried to convey with simple thoughts. And he was sinking, quickly, the whiskey only helping to spur him along.

He met her gaze once the video was halted, and then looked away the moment her insistence left her lips. His admission that he was already sinking was noted, but completely unnecessary. At least he could acknowledge it though, that was something, able to put it into words. But it wasn’t honesty that had brought it forward, it was the guilt that still sat like the world strung about his neck.

Four. Yes, she understood there were four. At least four. He blinked and she could tell he was disengaging form the theater’s system. It was a sort of tell that he possessed which she had picked up on rather quickly.

And then he took the blame, accepted it readily, and she pressed her teeth together to keep from snapping back that it had nothing to really do with him. He had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, he tried to reference Caitlin and the results of that lovely trip, then he pushed onto the more recent scenario surrounding Kira.

“You haven’t killed anyone.” She insisted. “You didn’t put a gun in anyone’s hand, nor did you pull any triggers.” There were humans that hated mutants, and mutants that hated humans. There would always be people like either side in the current living generation, and it would persist still beyond it. People were afraid of different, always had been, always would be, it was a trait that had propelled humanity forward through evolution already. Fear was a motivator. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

“Caitlin’s abduction was a result of programming that you didn’t do to yourself.” Her grip on the desk, hands at her sides, intensified slightly. “And all that coding and conditioning is gone.” The Services couldn’t tap into him anymore. They still weren’t clear on what had occurred at the clinic that had prompted him to fritz, but if it was external tampering, then it was attempted sabotage. She could write his coding, but she couldn’t make him completely bulletproof. The human side had brought him home. “Kira’s nabbing was seemingly well orchestrated.” She leaned towards him and released the desk in order to move closer to him.

Her hands lifted form her sides up to frame his face. “Something happened to you and Kira has insisted she told you that she would be fine without your presence.” Because the redheaded mutant had made that very clear to everyone in the building. “She was worried about you.”

A healer was a coveted thing, and she could see all the benefits that anyone would find in having one of their own; humans, mutants, the Services, rebels, anyone. Knowing the interests of the Services, though, they likely wanted to unwind the genetic coding to her mutation for replication and application. She wondered if they already had it, or if they could somehow work it out without Kira actually being there anymore. Blood could coagulate and ‘expire’.

“You are not responsible for the actions of other people.”
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09-20-2019
09:26 AM
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09-20-2019, 09:26 AM
[In-Character] [Post #66]
Guilt was so easy to sink into. Especially with no one there to put things into perspective. Jaxon looked at Elise. His features were darkened by a sense of sadness as if to ask when it would finally stop. But such a question was ludicrous. He was what he was – that part would never stop. There was no way back from who he was now to whoever he had been before.
Her words hammered against what even he knew walls supposed to lock him in a world of self-pity. Where he was the cause of all evil. It was so much easier to place blame than to accept that shit simply happened. Because if it did, then it could happen to everyone. Nothing was safe. No one was… Giving everything reason removed the extremely volatile and accidental nature of life.

Jaxon exhaled not without defeat when Elise brought her hands up to his face. He looked at her, made herself hold her gaze. He needed her touch. A bit of warmth in what felt like a seemingly rather cold hour. Kira had put her foot down? Ensured that no one placed blame on him? Jaxon still wondered what Benji thought about that.

And now Elise was putting her foot down. It almost made him smile. Jaxon eyed the bottle sitting not far from him. He still was within limits to forego a day of scans. If he switched to the water she had brought, she would be fine. “Second time, they got to us through me,” Jaxon couldn’t let that go. “So, I am not responsible for other people’s actions,” he relented. And yet. “I’m a liability. And if you don’t mind, I’d like for you to check the subroutines that monitor the transmissions I pick up – consciously and unconsciously.”

Jaxon closed his eyes, tipped his head forward and against Elise’s. “What if it’s you next time? Last time, Caitlin was stopped on that rooftop. This time … they actually had her. They went through me twice. I’m sure they’ll keep trying.” Once one discovered a weakness, one exploited it. It was human nature.

“I had two,” he murmured as he closed his eyes and lifted his head, pushing his lips against Elise’s forehead. He was speaking of the whiskey. He could feel the effect, unravelling him further to a certain extent. But he was far from drunk. “Not sure whether I’m in ‘massive scans’ territory yet,” he admitted. Then he opened his eyes once more and moved his head back a little.

Jaxon let his gaze roam her face. Fine and well defined lines. Delicate. His eyes swept across her mouth. Oh, the things these lips could do to him. He exhaled then shook his head once as if to stop himself from going off on a tangent.

“That’s not everything,” he finally stated and motioned for one of his terminals. He picked up one of the sandwiches and took a large bite out of it, then picked up a bottle of water; the whiskey was forgotten for now. “I want to show you something.” He stepped around her, and woke the screen out of sleep mode. On it were several windows, overlapping. Directories were displayed in some of them. Lists of files upon files. Most carried cryptic names. Jaxon had narrowed down the code to incremental dates and possibly code letters indicating content. BAX apparently stood for Barnes. CRS for Carol.

He opened a folder that carried latter letters. “I found this, and I’ve no idea what to do with it.” Jaxon took another bite, put the bottle down and then rubbed the freed hand across his face. His facial growth needed a trim and Jaxon felt tired. But there was no time to sleep, barely time to shower let alone cut back the facial hair. He threw Elise a glance, momentarily contemplating whether she would be willing to do latter for him. He quirked an eyebrow, then went back to the task at hand.

“It’s part of what I could gather from these files.” Jaxon drew in a deep breath. “Lang was setting up Bucky and Carol. She was his handler. Lang had found out about her – who, what she is. He wanted …,” he paused, finding the idea itself so irritatingly b-movie kind of plot. And yet, by what he could gather it was exactly the sort of thing Steven Lang had gotten up to. “He wanted to see whether he could produce offspring … whether Bucky’s super physique matched Carol’s changed DNA. It apparently did …” He shrugged. This went without saying, given that Carol was very much pregnant.

“But that’s not all of it.” He pulled up records – scanned pages – that indicated someone had extracted viable eggs from her. Jaxon drew his eyebrows down, his expression one of disgust for the man who’d done all that. “When he mentions a programme called Shiva, there’s menion of another subject to be tested.” The information had been cryptic, but only a single thing did make sense. “I think he was trying to see if his DNA could match hers, too.” Jaxon sighed, the information had sat heavy on his chest ever since he had put the pieces together. “What do I do with that? Do we tell her? Tell him?” Carol was on the mend. Bucky’s fragile mental state was no secret. “Do I just delete that? I mean … Lang is dead.” He pushed out air, biting into his sandwich but finding it taste somewhat stale this time around.

And yet, a bit of weight was off his chest.

Well, a bit of it. He had found more he needed to talk to Elise about.
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