Limits and Boundaries
Roleplaying Log: Limits and Boundaries
IC Details

Warren and Dani discuss their respective changes, and their plans going forward.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: January 05, 2020
IC Location: Danger Room, X-Men Base
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Jan 2020 08:00
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The Danger Room has been in frequent usage lately. No surprise why — after what everyone who crossed dimensions saw, after what everyone at home still faced day to day, the desire to stay sharp has been running high among the team. Usually they're communal sessions. After all, the X-Men are a team.

There are some occasions, however, when the Danger Room shows only one occupant, and the facility is restricted by a lock that cannot be overridden except by the highest authorizations. On these occasions, it's obvious that Warren is the one in there, using it, but he doesn't really talk about it and does not invite any company to join him.

In fact, the general sense is that he does not want company. Ever since they all got back, he has certainly been far less gregarious than hs usually is, for obvious reasons.

He usually selects off-peak times to duck into the Danger Room, though today he's slipped a little bit and done his session in the early hours, presumably after a morning flight. The lock has released on the Room, though Warren hasn't quite left yet. Standing in the middle of the blank white floor, his feathery(?) wings draped tiredly down his back, he seems lost in thought as the simulation winds down.

He still looks normal. For given values of normal. Death's colors have not come back to him — yet.

Emotions are definitely high for the majority of the team. Whether it's from going to that particular reality or from the various levels of fall-out from it.

Everyone processes their emotions differently and for Danielle Moonstar it's split between two ways.

Running Danger Room scenarios for herself and then running Danger Room scenarios for others.

Let's not mention the obsessiveness that she's now acquired in regards to locating their particular version of Apocalypse here in their own world. No matter what or how he turns out to be in their reality they will find him and they will deal with him.

Preferably with death.

As such, Moonstar has been hitting the Danger Room quite hard and that's what now brings her to their doors. With the lock disengaged the doors sense Moonstar's presence and automatically open and Dani steps right on into the room.

One supposes she could have went straight into the control room, but to be honest the mornings are usually empty.

Though it's easy enough for Dani to see the room isn't quite empty yet as Warren stands there in the middle of the room.

She pauses mid-step, "Warren." Comes her initial greeting, "Sorry, I didn't expect anyone else to be here this early. I can come back later if you aren't finished?"

And while she offers to leave she can't help but give the feathered-winged man a quick once over.

"I'm finished," comes the quick answer. Warren's head turns slightly — not enough to look her fully in the face, but enough that one blue eye can regard her. "With the scenario, anyway."

He looks her up and down — his gaze lingering on her missing eye — before he finally turns to face her. Light shines along his wings in a way it never did along his old feathers, reflecting keenly off the edges of his feathers.

The old Warren would have continued the conversation by now, smoothed over the awkward silence in some way. It is unnerving to see him so silent and aimless now. Warren always used to be someone of immense purpose and drive. Even if he didn't have an idea what to do, he always projected an image as if he did. Especially with the younger members of the X-Men, who he always transparently felt responsible for; even ones like Danielle Moonstar, who long since came into their own in leadership.

Now…? Now, he just stands there, as if embroiled in some internal struggle.

"Were you coming to train?" he finally asks, after seeming to quell that unspoken strife. "I was just… testing myself," he admits. "I need to learn my limits, what I can do, how far I can go without… being unable to come back."

His wings twitch. "Slow going."

With this scenario. That brings a curious cast to Dani's expression as she considers the man, "What scenario did you run with?"

Her question holds perhaps too much forced lightness, but still it's asked and hopefully she'll receive an answer. Afterall, she's noticed the amount of time he's spent in the Danger Room as well.

And while he looks at her eye, Moonstar no longer visibly shields the missing eye when someone looks at that injury of hers. For better or worse, she's gotten to the point where she can mask her response to the reaction of others.

That awkward pause, while noted, isn't necessarily outwardly reacted to. Instead Dani steps further into the room with what little equipment she brought with her slung over a shoulder. She gently places the equipment (arrows and her bow) upon the ground, as she keeps the majority of her attention on Warren. The glint upon his feathers draws her eyes for a moment before she returns her gaze to his face, in time for him to ask that obvious question of whether she's here to train. "I was."

It's those next words of his that finally prompt a familiar seeming frown from the Cheyenne woman. Her next words are a bit slower to come as she considers what might be best to say. "It's probably a good idea to figure out what you can and can't do." And then, "And you're free of Apocalypse now. Do you think there's still the chance you'd revert?"

"Sentinels in New York," is Warren's answer. "An old one. Probably one of the first ones we coded. I thought I'd start with something easy… or at the least, very familiar. Nothing Scott put in these systems was ever 'easy.'"

The nostalgia brings back a hint of his old flippancy, a wing flicking before he self-consciously pulls it back in. Or perhaps it's something else, not just nostalgia, that makes him effect that forced lightness, just as Dani does. There is a certain frenzied energy to him now, a too-bright look in his eyes that drives him onwards… urging him to imitate his old life and his old self, out of the fear that if he stops for too long, the reality of what he is now will catch up all at once.

Her hesitation as she now considers what best to say, though… that averts his eyes with some shame. He had never considered himself a person who needed to be handled like glass — never considered himself a person who others would need to walk on eggshells around — and yet that's all he has sensed from Dani since… since his wings were lost, really.

Such a long time. And with Dani being one of his and Alison's closest friends, it's all the more jarring.

Her more frank question brings his eyes back to her. "Like this," he says, "I can do whatever I did before. I could do… more… if I let more of Death come back out. But I've found, in training here, it's like trying to ease myself down an icy slope. I can do it, I can make use of it. But if I slip…"

He shakes his head. "I am afraid I could revert. I haven't, yet. But I might."

The mention of Scott and his particular programs earns a more natural look from Dani as well. "I'm pretty certain Scott doesn't know the definition of easy."

Those words about Scott are murmured and then lost, as Moonstar listens to the rest of what Warren has to say. Perhaps senses some of those internal thoughts of his. Or perhaps when he averts his eyes she realizes she's made a mistep as well and it causes her to likewise look away.

Up until he speaks again.

His words brings her eye back over to him and she listens to all of what he says. "But what better place than here should you slip and fall?" Moonstar gestures at the blank walls that surround them, "It can take the heaviest of punches and keep on going. You can even set-up safeguards that monitor how you're doing and how you're reacting to the program itself."

"Though I think it'd still be smart to have a spotter up in the control booth."

Just in case he reverts and with that unspoken thought the Cheyenne finally broaches more of that particular subject. Death.

"You speak like there are two different people in your head. Is that really the case?" She asks, a note of concern to her tone of voice, "Or is it more of an emotional response that kicks up stronger than what you're used to?"

"I know," Warren says, his golden head hanging, white pinions drooping until they trail along the floor. "I figured this was the safest place to run… some tests. Push myself a little. I set the Room to subdue and sedate me if it read my vitals going beyond a certain set of parameters, but… I'm afraid there might come a point where it's too much just for an automated system to handle. Even one as advanced as the Danger Room. I do need a spotter."

He glances up. "I was… hoping you would. There are not a lot of other people I trust to do it. I just haven't asked, because…"

His gaze turns back to her eye. "I'd hate to once again be the reason somebody was hurt. And if the systems failed, if they couldn't neutralize me, you'd have to come in. Normally I'd say you're best qualified, with your abilities, but I'm not sure your shiv could get through the psychic armor."

He's keeping his back away from her, she might realize. His wings are faced as far from her as he can get them. "Just a lot of things I don't know for certain."

The further questions about Death, however… though Warren balks a little, his feathers rustling uneasily, he also doesn't protest. He knows how important it is to ask these questions. Even if…

"I don't… know." …even if he doesn't really know the answers. "These wings… they're just an extensible part of whatever he put in me. His 'techno-organic strain.' It's… mostly under my control. But sometimes I hear — something like voices. Sometimes I feel it within me like a separate entity, with its own impulses. It's not… sentient. It doesn't think. But it has urges."

He looks uncomfortable as if aware of how bizarre it all sounds. "It makes me hope that I can bring it under control, since it doesn't seem like a mind of its own. But I just don't know yet. If we can find the analogues for him, for that ship, in this world… I might be able to learn more."

The mention of having the room subdue and sedate him brings an automatic nod from Moonstar. It's the most sensible thing to do and she understands this.

Those next words of his and that hesitancy prompts an almost sarcastic response from the woman. "Because I lost an eye?"

"And now you're afraid something might happen like that again?" She continues with, "Don't let that stop you, Warren. You or Ali." Moonstar states in that very matter-of-fact way of hers and that tone only deepens, "We are family. It's what we do for one another."

And it's the least she can do to try and repay them both for all that happened with the Demon Bear. Perhaps one day she might express those feelings, but for now that day is not today.

As to his concern about her psychic powers not being strong enough, Moonstar considers that a moment. "Then I'd simply bring the Bear out and then we'd see who's stronger."

She leaves it at that for a few silent seconds before she finally adds, "And perhaps we should ask Jean to look into that psychic armor. See if she has any recommendations on how to combat it."

As he speaks about his wings Moonstar can't help but glance at them again. She notices how he keeps his wings as far from her as he can, but she doesn't remark upon it. Instead she listens to the description of what he hears, what he feels, from those wings of his. She doesn't laugh at what he describes, nor does she brush them aside, as if it's nothing to worry about. "What do they say?" She asks, "What does it want you to do?"

The question of whether they'll find Apocalypse brings an immediate response from Dani, "We'll find him and then we'll deal with him appropriately." She means kill, that's what she means, but she doesn't quite say the word out loud. Not when Warren mentions the ship. That actually brings a more visceral reaction from Dani, as a look of repugnance mixed together with horror flickers across her features, "That ship. It - it can't be left alive. It's not meant for here. It's mind is different than ours. Vastly different."

Dani's sardonic response draws the first smile from Warren that she's seen since stepping into the Danger Room. It's faint, but it's there, and it's not colored by any sort of negative emotion. It looks like the expressions he used to make, if writ a little more small: rueful, amused, wry.

Well — maybe there's a little lingering guilt. But he doesn't speak to it, and it fades quickly.

"You're right," he acquiesces, his wings lifting slightly in a gesture of capitulation, before he remembers his own nervousness about them and sleeks them back down. Old habits are hard to break, though, it seems, and a vast amount of his body language was always connoted through his wings. "Shutting down because I'm afraid it'll happen again just means I'll never learn how to control it," he says. "I know that. The Professor… he always taught us the importance of learning our own powers. He built the entire school on that principle."

His eyes go a little distant. "He said, the only thing that could hurt us was staying ignorant. It's still true, I suppose… but I wish I still believed him now as deeply as I did back then." There have been so many ways, since those halcyon days, in which the early idealism of the X-Men has been punished over the years…

Warren shakes his head, as if to physically dispel the unpleasant thoughts. "No," he repeats, without any hedging or qualifiers this time. "You are right. I'll take you up on that. Jean, too… when I can talk to her."

Her response to his uncertainty about her handling him, if he were to lose control… at first, it draws an actual laugh. It's short, and it's rusty, but it's good to know he can still laugh. Even if it's at 'his rueful realization of his own arrogance.' The arrogance is an ingrained habit, it seems. The humor fades quickly, though, as what she said really sinks in. "I didn't know you could bring it out," he admits. "It's… part of you now?" Unspoken is the question: is it under your control?

Her questions about his wings bring him to withdraw a little again. No surprise, given the topic. "They say to bring death," he says, his voice low. "They want me to prune the weak, and uplift the strong. They want me to make the world clean for the chosen."

His eyes close. "It's that thing he put in me. That thing that made me Death. It doesn't think. But it wants."

His feathers, already bristled just thinking about this, lift even further in unease at the thought of Apocalypse — the ship. "I want them both gone," he says, his voice shaved to a whisper. "I don't want any chance of them taking control of me again."

You're right. That immediately prompts a grin from Moonstar and while she could say something smart ass, and it's right there, the rest of his words prompt those sarcastic words to fade.

Especially his remarks about the Professor. "The Professor was right. If we don't understand our powers they'll only hurt us in the end. Knowledge and control is what all of us need."

His admission of his belief not being as strong as in the earlier days now gives the woman pause as she considers her answer and herself here. "When you're younger it's easier to have that solid core of belief. When you haven't seen as many things or been through so much hurt. Nothing ever stays new and pristine. No matter how much we try to protect it."

And now, here, Dani's amusement perks up for a second, "As if we're both so old and decrepit."

When he agrees to take her help and possibly Jean's, Dani nods, sharply. "Good. Those of us with psionic powers learn pretty quickly early on that control is everything. Either you control it or it controls you. There is no in-between."

The short laugh causes Dani to relax a bit more. It's good to hear something of a humorous sound from her friend, even if rusty from disuse.

However, his next questions - especially the unspoken one - causes Dani to turn less silently amused and back to her typical serious mein. "It's part of me." She confirms and as to her control, she adds, "And yes, it's under control, though that doesn't mean it doens't occasionally peek out." Which brings Moonstar's eye over to Warren's wings again, especially when he reveals what they whisper to him.

"We all have our shadow selves within us. Where our darkest of thoughts can be found and can be silently voiced. Where it can be hidden away. Only now yours has been given life by what Apocalypse has done to you."

"Given to you." She amends as her eye unfocuses slightly, as she stretches out her more mystical senses. The kind that can sense the nearby presence of death and its ilk.

"But much like the darkness the Bear has given to me it doesn't mean you aren't still you."

When those wings lift further in unease, from Warren's own distress, Moonstar refocuses her attention less on the inward and back to the room. Seeing her friend in such a way, the Cheyenne woman's next words are harsh when speaks them, "Then we'll kill both Ship and Apocalypse. That's all that's to it."

The corner of Warren's mouth quirks at Dani's rueful comment about how they sound old and decrepit, talking of their 'youthful naivete.' "Well," he says, "when you start fighting at eighteen, I suppose thirty-one is ancient as hell. Enjoy your youth at — what was it? twenty-five? — young Dani. It's such a fleeting thing."

He sobers, though, at what she says next. Those of us with psionic powers learn pretty quickly that control is everything.

Warren exhales, his head bowing. The sound seems like it would have been a laugh, if it were delivered with just a bit more force behind it. "I didn't really have to learn any of that," he says. "All that came in for me was wings. I had to learn to fly, but half of that came from instincts. I had to learn to fly for combat, but all of that was just physical training."

His gaze averts. "If I messed up, no one really got hurt except me."

His hand grazes along his own feathers. As Dani speaks about her own connection with the Bear, he listens in silence. It's under control, she says. "Good," is his sole, initial response.

But how she frames the impulses within him visibly troubles him, his gaze dropping. "Yeah… I guess I don't know," he says slowly. "I don't know how much of it is me, and how much of it is what he put in me. There were… he used artifacts to make his Horsemen. Seeds, he called them. Mine is still in me. I don't know how much of what I hear is what it says, or what I say."

His feathers slowly part, before closing together again with a distinct scissoring hiss. "I need to know more," he says. "About what it is and where it comes from. And once I know what I need to…"

Dani finishes the statement. They will stop both Apocalypse and his Celestial ship.

He's pensive a moment. "Where are you thinking to start?"

Enjoy her youth at twenty-five. That brings a quirk to her mouth of amusement, "I'm not even twenty-five yet."

That humor stays there up until he averts his gaze and speaks on messing up and how it never really impacted others.

"I think we're at the point where everything we do -" Dani says, her gaze still on the winged man, "- impacts all of us in some way. We've become too high targets and when things come after us it's always more than just the rando-thug that we could beat up and be done with."

Almost she says she misses those good ole days, but she can't quite push those words out.

Instead she considers the mention of the death seed that's within him and who's voice speaks within him. "You know good from bad, Warren. Don't second guess that, no matter what the wings, or the seed whispers to you. Which is always easier said than done, I know, but if you can remember that then you can use it as a compass to point you away from the wing's urges."

"Have you thought of trying to have it removed?" She finally asks, "Whether it can be done physically or possibly magically? Perhaps you should consider a visit with Dr. Strange. Even if he's unable to remove it perhaps he can tell you more about it."

And with knowledge comes power.

The metallic hiss brings a slight twitch of her eye back to his wings, but that last question returns her eye back to him.

"For the search to find them both?" Now it's Dani's turn to look pensive as she considers the many thoughts she's had on the subject. "I think it's going to have to be a search that spans various levels." She holds up one finger, "I suggest we try magically scrying for him - names hold power - to see what that pulls up." A second finger goes up as she speaks, "I plan on digging deep into SHIELD systems to see if there's any mention of him or the ship in our databases." Her mouth thins to a sardonic line, "I wouldn't be at all surprised if SHIELD ironically already had Ship hidden away in some place and tagged as a 0-8-4." Then her third finger rises, "And then also good old fashioned hunting for him. Which means we'll need any knowledge you and Ali might have about where he came from. Where he could possibly be found. Names, places, events, anything that could possibly be mirrored here."

I'm not even twenty-five yet, Dani protests. "Ah, well," Warren says. "I lose track."

He falls into a pensive silence, however, as Dani goes on to speak of how he knows good from bad. "That's the problem," Warren sighs. "I'm not really sure anymore if I have any… correct bearing on good from bad. It's hard to tell what is good. The world isn't black and white enough for it. Not these days."

If ever it was, he doesn't say aloud. Maybe it just seemed so when they were kids… because they were kids.

He glances up, as she asks if he's thought of removing it. "I don't think it can be removed," is his blunt answer. "I admit Apocalypse is a biased source of information, but… it doesn't feel to me like he was lying. This… thing is half my body, now. It's a large part of the infrastructure of… me. The best I can do is learn more."

She mentions Strange. "Yes," he says. "Him, perhaps. Tony, too, if he can study what this is. But I have a feeling the real answers are not on this planet…"

He trails off, lost in thought — or maybe listening to something only he can hear. It takes a moment before he seems to snap back to the here and now to realize Dani is answering his question, and a faint look of apology glosses his blue eyes. "It sounds like a good plan. As for the third step…"

Warren's wings rustle restlessly at his back. "He talked about a lot of places he had been, over the centuries. A lot of gods he impersonated. Indian gods. Aztec gods. Slavic gods. But it all seemed to come back, in the end, to some place in ancient Egypt. And a name: Akkaba."

The given admission of whether he can tell what's good or bad causes Dani to frown. "I'll grant you that the world is very blurred with right and wrong, good and bad, but -" She continues with, "I don't believe you've lost all bearing on what decisions are good versus bad."

Her next words are quiet when she says them, "After all, you could have killed Cameron, but you didn't. If I had been in your shoes and the Bear urged me to take his soul, I would have."

"But you didn't. You stopped yourself from taking that final step." Or so it seemed to her.

The revelation that the seed likely cannot be removed causes Moonstar to frown, but she nods. It was a hopeful thought, but not one that she expected to pan out. "Yes, Tony might be able to help too and no matter what we learn, big or small, all of it will hopefully help you understand yourself more. No matter if all the answers are here or not, especially in regards to Ship. That thing wasn't human created."

She can't quite hide the creeping disgust that finds its way into her voice as she speaks more indepth about Ship.

Thankfully, Warren's next words pull her away from the disturbing thoughts of Ship. "Akkaba?" She echoes, "Akkaba. Allright, that's more than what I thought we had. We'll have to start cross-referencing historical myths and legends, and other data to see if there's any sort of common factor that can be found that points to him. Otherwise we're going to be like Indiana Jones and run through every temple and pyramid out there, until we find him."

And kill him.

"And in the meantime as we search for him we can toss people in here regularly so we're ready for when we have to fight him."

Cameron's name gets a singular result, from Warren's apparently-feathered wings. They bristle as if the pinions have a mind of their own, the feathers grinding their edges against one another with unexpressed fury.

Warren's expression, by contrast, is locked down to expressionlessness. Still, the distinct tightness to his features betrays the sentiment he's holding in.

He holds that way, a moment… before he lets his eyes drift closed. He exhales, seeming to mentally center himself, and his wings quiet. "I did," he says, when she said he stopped himself. "What would I have become if I let myself kill him? He wanted me to. He wanted me to be, every bit, the image of me that he hated in his mind. He wanted to know he'd turned me into a much — worse version of myself."

His wings droop. "He can live knowing he got my mercy instead. One last shot — to survive." And to survive far, far away from Alison Blaire.

He glances up at Dani, troubled, as he hears again the note of revulsion and trauma to her voice as she speaks of the Ship. It is something he will probably ask her about, later, when he feels stronger to be the steady shoulder for another person. For now, he just offers what little intel he does have. One name.

"Akkaba, she echoes. "He talked about it like it was a place," he says. "But all his followers called themselves Akkaba, too. It bears more research. Later."

He nods to her final words. "For now, we get ourselves ready."

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