|Marvel: In the Beginning...|
East Wing - X-Mansion - North SalemEdit
The east wing is quite large. Nestled here is the first floor. It has a cross design for the hallways, and within the center is a spiral staircase that leads upward to the higher levels. The floor is dark wood like the rest of the mansion, and the wallpaper a very light, almost off-white.
There are many wooden doors with golden plaques, labeling staff offices, the small staff laundry room, the staff rec room, and of course the nurse's office. At the end of the east hallway is an elevator with a sign above it which reads: 'Staff Only'.
- Staff Elevator - X-Mansion <EL>
- Main Wing - X-Mansion <O>
Kyle Owens stands at six feet and is a refreshing sight. A tight, blue sport t-shirt clings to his upper torso, showing off his board shoulders and revealing he has a six-pack. The sleeves are short, leaving his lightly tanned skin with a healthy glow revealed, along with the faint, blonde hairs on his arms. His legs are covered by long shorts, that reach his calves, leaving some lightly tanned skin exposed until his socks start, ending in his worn sneakers.
His hair is kept short and neatly cut, into an average style. It's a dirty blonde color, shifting from more blonde to more brown depending on the lighting. When one of his many smiles flashes, he reveals bright, perfect teeth. His skin appears all perfectly blemish free, and is flattered by bright blue eyes.
You see a tall, well-built young man. He looks like he's about 6 and a half feet tall and solidly muscled enough to be a professional football player or wrestler. He still looks rather young, though; maybe in his late teens or early 20's. His skin is slightly tanned, like he spends a great deal of time outdoors. Combined with his rough hands, one could guess that he's used to laboring or some kind of heavy work given his size. His hair is black and cut short and his eyes are a deep blue.
He's currently wearing a dark blue polo shirt, sans logo, a pair of slightly faded jeans, and heavy boots. All of his clothes look to be slightly used or at the very least several years old. A battered, leather messenger bag is slung over one shoulder.
Tall for a woman, this young lady stands just shy of six feet when in flats, and has a mature enough look and curves most would take her for her late teens, just under twenty years of age. She has a long, full mane of lustrous raven black hair which tumbles smoothly down to frame her face, over her shoulders and down to mid-back. Her face is a natural oval with high cheekbones, full lips, a narrow pert nose and raven dark sculpted eyebrows over deep crystal blue eyes framed by long dark eyelashes. Her neck is gracefully slim, shoulders broad but natural for her height, lending balance to her toned and trim unfairly hourglass figure. When she speaks, it is a warm, cultured soprano tone with clean diction. To be honest, this young woman is gorgeous, the sort of looks one would associate with (non-anorexic) supermodels and actresses. Say, isn't she familiar?
Currently this young woman is dressed in what can only be described as a private school uniform of modest nature. A navy single-breasted blazer with a school crest embroidered on the left breast pocket covers most of her torso, a crisp white collared silk blouse peeking out around her neck, a crimson silk scarf about her neck as a tie. Peeking out from beneath the hip-length edge of the jacket is a knee-length tartan plaid pleated skirt. White knee-high stockings cover her legs, and shiny black patent leather mary jane flats cover her feet. She carries a smallish black leather backpack, usually on one shoulder, a flat 'smartphone' in a pouch on that strap.
After a relatively uneventful Tuesday, Andrea finishes up the last of another assignment for her mysterious classes in the practical sciences of radio wave communications, and sets herself to take a break. Of course, this is when her smartphone chooses to remind her of the agreed-upon meeting with Mister Owens. Andrea purses her lips and sighs, then checks her email on the school server to make sure there's nothing awaiting her rescheduling, delaying, relocating or demuring the appointment.
Then Andrea checks herself in the mirror and makes her way downstairs from the guest room she usually occupies when she is here at the school for the day, and makes her way from West wing to East, seeking out the door labeled with Mister Owens' name upon one of the golden plaques. She pauses, momentarily, and then knocks softly. Sure, she's well aware that he's in. If the Professor has explained to him about her talents, he'd know that. But it's impolite to merely assume. So she knocks.
Kyle is indeed in and had gotten the briefing on Andrea's powers. It's part of why he tried not to glow too much. He didn't want to cause any headaches or the like. When the door is knocked on, he glances up from the little bit of sewing he's doing and checks the clock on his desk. Jumping a little, he quickly packs up the threads, needles, and the tie he was repairing. "Come in!" he calls as he folds the tie.
It's unlikely Andrea would be at all bothered by his glowing, but if it is brought to her attention she'd still likely thank Kyle. She's polite like that. Summoned, she pauses a moment, taking a deep breath, and then turns the handle and opens the door, coming inside as requested. The last time a teacher wanted to speak with her, it wasn't so much a good thing, though Ms. Dawn did her best not to make it worse than it had to be. "Sorry to interrupt, Sir. I did not see a message delaying our appointment." she offers, simply enough. Part of that politeness: she leaves the metaphorical 'door' wide open for Kyle to delay this with but a word if he'd rather get back to his sewing.
Kyle smiles a moment and then waves Andrea in. "Nothing to worry about. Come in, have a seat please," he gestures to the chair before his desk. "Thanks for coming down so quickly."
Andrea follows the pretense of giving the office the once-over visually, even though it is not at all required and her eyes have nothing at all to do with her sight. Then she takes the offered seat, sitting primly in place with hands folded neatly in her lap. "I merely made sure to be on time for our appointment, Sir. It is no great trouble."
Kyle's office isn't anything special. He's got a lot of supplies for the sewing class around as well as various things he's working on for assorted Mansion residents. He also seems to have a small tanning lamp installed in the room and directed at his chair for some reason. Otherwise it looks pretty uninteresting. "Alright..." he trails off, taking a deep breath. "So. I'm told you had a meeting with Ms. Dawn before. Could you please tell me what it was about?" he asks. He already knows but he wants to know Andrea's version of things.
Andrea sighs. Her first thought, honestly, is 'Don't they communicate with each other before they do this?' Nevertheless, she has been asked, and she will respond. She just isn't thrilled about it. "Ms. Dawn was apparently asked to speak with me about two prior incidents that have occurred outside school grounds, each resulting in injuries. The first was the destruction of your shop. The second an incident at the Mall when I and a few other students were present to witness another mutant attack people. I explained to her what happened, how and why. She asked why I had gotten involved, I explained why. She was concerned that I was unable to protect or defend myself. I explained that would not be happening. She was not pleased with this, and suggested I not leave school grounds without my bodyguards in the future, so as not to endanger my fellow students any further." Truth is, that's not /all/ that was said, but it is the highlights of everything. And what else was said, Andrea has no intention of discussing with someone else. It's none of their business.
"And why will it not be happening?" Kyle asked simply. Gone were the smiles and cheeriness, replaced by a rather serious tone and expression. "If you're going to be getting involved in things like that...why do you refuse to defend yourself?" he asks. "And I do not believe the bodyguards soltion will be...all that nice. It's not exactly helpful to your friends."
"I believe Ms. Dawn's point was that I should no longer leave campus in the company of my friends, since my unwillingness to fight would endanger them, Sir." Andrea explains. She seems curiously unruffled by this, though one may assume she is being intentionally controlling of her visible emotional reactions. She is an /actress/, after all. "I am sorry, Sir. My reasons are my own, and will not be changing. I do not believe that one needs be a warrior, willing to do harm to others, in order to help another in need."
Kyle quirks an eyebrow. "I'm sorry but that's just not good enough," he says simply. "My reasons are my own...my word," he shakes his head. "If you're going to be running into the middle of fights, you simply need to know how to defend yourself. Otherwise, at least have the sense to stay away from the fights," he says. A hand is held up quickly. "I'm not saying not to help people. Or that you need to become some sort of cage fighter...but just standing there and letting yourself be hurt doesn't help anyone," he sighs. "Andrea...seriously...I dislike fighting. Quite a lot. But frankly...there are times when there is no other option but to fight. To protect ourselves or the ones we care for."
Andrea merely sits quietly in front of Kyle, refusing to be perturbed. "So you may believe, Sir. I do not. I did not try to enter 'a fight'. I tried to enter into a crisis situation and help without fighting. It is and remains the best I can do."
"As I was told, you ran right into the middle of a crowd of violent thugs. If that's not entering 'the fight'...I don't know what is," he says, eyes narrowing. "And why is this supposedly the best you can do?"
"I ran towards the entrance, trying to reach Alex before he went inside after you, so that I could help him find you, Sir." Andrea answers, calmly. "I had no reason to expect those people to attack me. I meant them no harm and presented them no threat. I do not know why you would consider that entering a fight. I do not." Still, Andrea remains outwardly calm and respectful. But one might wonder how much longer that will remain the case. She cannot be pleased. "I have already explained, I cannot and will not harm another. I will not take it upon myself to judge that it is somehow appropriate or acceptable to harm another. Ever."
Kyle gives Andrea a flat look. "Gee, I don't know...the fact that they were whooping and hollaring and spouting hate speech might have clued you in," he says, mildly irriated. "And why can you not harm another?" he asks again.
"I had no reason to expect their vitriol to have any target in me. I said nothing to them, did not confront them, did not attack them in any way." Kyle can get as irritated as he likes, but that doesn't make him right in this matter, at least not as far as Andrea is concerned. "As for the rest, I do not need to explain myself further. What I have explained should be enough, and quite clear."
"Common sense, child," Kyle replies, rather exhasperated. "They were a group of violent, hateful thugs and you were running towards their 'work'. You made yourself a target," he says. "And if I'm asking for more explanation, you obviously haven't explained enough. And it's very far from clear."
"You may consider such to be common sense. I do not." Andrea answers, simply enough. "No one has ever attacked me merely for walking a sidewalk. I had no reason to expect they would." The lovely young woman continues to portray eerily serene calm as she responds. An empath or telepath might know better; few others ever would. "What I have said is abundantly clear. You do not like it, and you wish to countermand it, so you demand more details when they are unnecessary. I have made the situation clear. I will not intentionally do harm to another. I will not put myself into the position of deciding that I have the right or responsibility to do harm to another."
Having recieved a note from Kyle regarding his uniform, Piotr has come downstairs to Kyle's office to collect it. Maybe it's the bad influence of Alex rubbing off on him, but the normally well mannered Piotr knocks on the office door, then opens it and pokes his head in before waiting for permission. "You left me a message, sir?"
For a moment, Kyle just stares. He honestly can not believe this girl before him. He reaches up to rub the bridge of his nose, starting to glow a faint red color. He starts to say something but stops at the knock to the door. Clearly not in his usual cheerful mood, Kyle blinks a moment. "Yes, Piotr...one moment. Your uniform and suit are finished," he says, getting up and opening a cabinet in his office to look for the desired garments.
As the knock sounds, Andrea does not startle. She is not surprised. She merely turns her head and offers a smile and a little finger-wave from her lap for the Russian. "Hello, Piotr. Nice to see you." If she is curious about this mention of a uniform or a suit, she makes no sign of it. She simply greets a fellow student amiably. Andrea is sitting in a chair in Kyle's office in front of his desk, legs crossed neatly, hands folded in her lap primly, dressed in her usual custom-made school uniform - an actual private school uniform she designed for herself when she started attending Xavier's school. She is still, as she has been for weeks, wearing long sleeves despite the wilting heat and humidity. But otherwise she seems unruffled.
Piotr blinks a bit and blushes as he realizes he just walked in on a privae conversation, possibly ameeting with a student. "Oh...I am sorry. I did not realize you were speaking with someone, sir. I can always come back later." He looks over at Andrea, having only met her in the ride back from the mall incident. "Hello. How are you doing, Andrea?"
"Don't worry about it, Piotr," Kyle remarks over his shoulder. "Ah, here's your suit," he says, pulling a garment bag from the closet. "And here is your uniform," he declares, walking them over to Piotr. "We needed a small break from our conversation anyway," he says simply.
"I am doing as well as can be expected, I suppose. Thanks in part to you. I did wish to say thank you." While Andrea has seen Piotr about school, she has not yet had the chance to express her appreciation for his help extracting her and the other students from Toad at the Mall. Scott has - in his own way - refused to accept that thanks, apparently being of similar opinion to some of the teachers about the whole incident. But that does not preclude Andrea's feelings, merely makes it difficult for her to successfully express it. She does not seem at all put out by Piotr's intervention, but she gives an interesting glance at Mister Owens at his comment. Who needed a small break? Not Andrea, apparently.
Piotr gives Andrea a smile and a nod. "Thank you. I was happy to do what I could. I am sorry that you were injured badly before Scott and I arrived. We understimated Toad's speed and ferocity, it seems."
"I was told you and Scott were quite impressive, Piotr," Kyle remarks. "I think everyone involved underestimated this Toad person," he says simply. He still needs to talk with Jono and Alex about the encounter but for now there's just Andrea.
"The only thing I underestimated was his acidic goop, really. But you and Scott were quite impressive." Andrea offers. Is she as arrogant as that sounds? Maybe. Or maybe she's just quite serious. She could tell quite easily just how fast and agile he was. And how strong. She didn't set out to fight him. All she ever set out to do - the same with the others - was find some way to keep him from hurting an innocent young woman who had done nothing and needed help. "We did what we could. It was not enough. That is life, unfortunately."
Piotr shrugs at the praise. With him, it's not arrogance, but honest humility. "I think that with a bit more training, the four of you would have been more than a match. Alex had good leadership and good ideas. If it seemed that Scott and I were impressive, it is becasue all of you did most of the work before we arrived. You helped someone in distress, tried to resolve things peacefully. Some people, though, do not respect peace, unfortunately. Toad is one of them."
"Training in the arts of self defense and more effective use of powers," Kyle says simply, handing the clothing bags off to Piotr. "Because refusing to fight will only get one so far as there are times when there is no choice but to fight."
"There is always a choice, Mister Owens. Whether or not it is the choice you yourself would make; Whether or not it is the choice you expect or believe in or consider wise; there is always a choice." Andrea answers. Clearly, this must touch on some subject these two have already been discussing. It'd be the only explanation for that kind of response. Right? "Others may choose not to respect peace. But allowing their choice to determine one's own choice to abandon peace does not absolve one of the responsibility for one's actions."
Piotr takes the bags of clothes from Kyle. "Thank you, sir." He listens to Andrea's speach, thinking on it before responding. "What you are saying is right, Andrea. We are all responsible for our actions, and fighting should never be the first choice. But Professor Xavier told me something very important when he came to see me in Siberia. He told me that a good man once said that 'All that is needed for evil to win is for good people to do nothing.' In a perfect world, yes, fighting would never be needed. But our world is not perfect, is it?"
"That will be all, Andrea. You can go now. You'll likely be hearing from the Professor soon," Kyle says firmly, the red glow around him vanishing quickly. He then nods to Piotr. "That's true, Piotr. True indeed. And no need to thank me. If there's anything else you'd like made, please let me know," he says with a smile.
"Very well, Mister Owens. Have a good day." Andrea offers, rising with smooth elegance and poise and offering a nod to Piotr. "Quite true as well. But while good men - and women - must do something, that something need not be violence. That too is a choice. I will not say that those who choose violence in defense of right and others are wrong. Only that it is wrong for me. It was good to speak to you, Piotr." Andrea lays her hand lightly on the big man's forearm and smiles, then offers a nod to Kyle before following Piotr out the door.
Piotr looks at Andrea curiously as he heads out of Kyle's office with her. "I did not mean to say that everyone should fight when there is no other choice. And you are right, there are other actions besides violence, such as what you did. But even then, is it not best that you learn how to defend yourself for the occasions that others will not listen to reason and you must take such actions?"
Walking away from Mister Owens' office, Andrea doesn't seek to avoid Piotr, but she perhaps might have wished the subject to be at a close. Nevertheless, the gentle giant wants to talk, and she has observed enough to know that is a rare thing, so she decides to talk with him rather than cut him off, politely or not. "I understand the impetus. But assuming that one /must/ take such actions is the beginning of the mistake, in my mind. One might take such actions. Many do, or would if put in that place. But for my own reasons, I cannot. If that means I suffer, so be it. I cannot take upon myself the responsibility to decide when it is appropriate to harm another."
Piotr nods in understanding. "I admire your position. I just hope that someone does not take advantage of that and bring others to harm because of that choice." He's still looking at Andrea, seemingly in thought.
"I hope so as well." Andrea answers thoughtfully. She knows that Ms. Dawn and Mister Owens disagree with her on this point. Both have done all they can to encourage - nearly demand - that she accept self-defense and powers training for combat. But Andrea has resisted. Her deeper reasons, which shaped this philosophy, she has not explained. "I will help in every non-violent way I can. It is all I can do."
All of a sudden Piotr's eyes go wide as everything clicks. Now he knows where he's seen Andrea before. "The show! On Disney Channel in Russia! That is where I have seen you before!" He smiles wide and chuckles. "My sister Illyana, she loves your show. She has seen every episode many times and makes me watch it with her."
Andrea offers a gentle giggle as Piotr exclaims, suddenly putting everything together. But she also bows her head a bit. "That would be one place you have likely seem me before, yes. I am glad that your sister found pleasure in the show. I hope being 'forced' to watch was not too great a chore?" Andrea takes it all in gentle good humor, poking fun at herself without hubris. She really does come off as sweet and kind as her characters usually are. "I don't know if it would violate the rules about the secrecy of the school. But if not, I would gladly autograph something for Illyana, so you could send it to her." If she'd like something like that.
Piotr nods and smiles. "Yes, she would enjoy that very much. Thank you. And no, it wasn't too bad watching your show. It helped me learn the basics of English before I came here. Although, I still don't understand America as well as I should. New York and the school here are very diferent from what was on your show."
Andrea smiles warmly and nods. "Very true. The show was ... 'television normal', not real-world normal." She considers that for a few moments, and then mentions, "If you ever have a question, I hope you know I'd be happy to help." It's the least she could do, right? "I'll talk to the Professor about the autograph. Maybe you can think about something Illyana would like to receive, autographed?" A photograph is the easy one. But other things could apply as well. A tee-shirt? A book? Or more.
"Anything from you would be a gift beyond treasure for her." Piotr smiles back. "And thank you for the offer. I have been studying my English very hard since I came here. But I am still a bit confused by American customs. Although, seeing your Fourth of July celebration was wonderful. It is one thing to see fireworks on television, and something else to see them in person."
Andrea smiles. "Well then, perhaps a few things can be sent." Andrea is the generous sort, obviously. "I imagine seeing fireworks on television cannot compare to seeing them created by Mister Owens in person, either." Andrea watched that rather raptly herself. Only a scant few here actually know that Andrea's own abilities lie in a direction that might mean she too can do those things someday. Maybe. "I would love to talk more, Piotr. But I need to get going. I have a video conference call with my off-campus professor in a few minutes, and I ought not to be late."
Piotr nods. "Of course. Thank you for your offers, you are very generous and kind. And if there is anything I can do, please let me know. Although, I am not sure what kind of help I can offer you unless you need artwork or wish to learn Russian." He smiles sheepishly and shrugs.
Andrea beams. "Well, if you wouldn't mind teaching, I would enjoy trying to learn some Russian. And perhaps we'll see each other in art class." That said, Andrea touches Piotr's forearm again, much as she did earlier in Mister Owens' office, and then gathers herself to scamper upstairs towards the room for her video conference.