We Should Talk
Roleplaying Log: We Should Talk
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Doctor Strange pays Firestorm a surprise visit-evaluation.

Other Characters Referenced: Captain Marvel, Batman, Superman
IC Date: January 28, 2019
IC Location: Downtown Manhattan, New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Jan 2019 05:23
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's getting late in the day, but as things have proven, heroing has no set schedule. The errands that Ronnie had meant to do after another grueling tutoring session with the professor have been for the most part, forgotten. Duty had called in the form of a runaway car and later a sinkhole that threatened to swallow a couple of taxis and a falafel cart.

"Man, I didn't think I signed up for road repair."

Just keep concentrating, Ronald. So long as we can strengthen the layers of subgrade and the aggregate base, it will lower the risk of further crumbling enough for people to move things to safety, Professor Stein tempers, his words for the audience of one. Which…can't be said the same for Firestorm as he seems to be speaking to himself whenever he responds.

"The what now? I mean. Sure, we could do that, but I can totally fill in the hole, no problem!"

It's not nearly so simple as that. There may be sewage drain pipes and water mains that need to be taken into account—

"Oh, right, like the uh… time we turned the street into quicksand to stop the Juggernaut? Yeaaaah, I remember that mess now…." His shoulders droop a bit, but he maintains his focus as he manipulates the molecules and structures of the material of the ground just at the edge of the gaping hole before finally lowering his arms, the glow that had surrounded his hands and the hole's rim fading. He lets out a sigh of relief, then hovers up from the street, glancing down at some of the construction workers that had gathered with the emergency that had surfaced. "You guys got this now?" he asks them, giving them a thumb's up, which he gains in return, if only that those returning it look somewhat uncertain as to what to make of what had happened as the flame-headed hero in red and yellow begins to fly off.

***

"Excellent work," says another voice in the air not far from Firestorm. "Have you thought about a change of careers?"

Despite the chilling effect of the impending registration deadline, it's still New York City after all… The only other place you're as likely to find people flying around of their own volition is Metropolis. So it probably shouldn't come as a surprise to the young hero that there's somebody else up on the sky with him, or at least hovering a respectable distance from the ground in the interval between his exchange of thumbs ups with the road workers and his attempt to fly off heroically.

Because there is.

There's a guy, just… Floating there.

There's no fire coming out of his head anyway, but no visible means of propulsion either, not even a S on his chest. There is a blue and black tunic, at least, with sleeves pushed up (his dark pants would seem to match, but on his feet he's wearing combat boots) and he does have a cape. Well, it's a cloak, really. A Cloak, if one wants to be strictly correct, the gold-embroidered red material fluttering lightly around him as it holds him aloft, its stiff collar almost taller than his head.

"Doctor Strange, Sorceror Supreme," the man introduces himself. "We should talk about you rewriting the fundamental building blocks of matter."

***

"Are you pullin' my leg, Prof? And what's with the voice cha— Oh."

Thankfully Firestorm hadn't attempted to go jetting off in his usual expedient fashion, but all the same he pulls back in midair with a bit of a start. Well, that sure isn't Captain Marvel.

"Uuuuh…." He can't help but stare a little as he takes in the floating stranger's appearance. While capes still seem to be a thing in hero uniforms, the rest of the man's attire doesn't follow the trend of fit and streamlined function. Internally he can even sense Professor Stein's confusion, glad that he's not the only one a bit thrown for a loop here.

Sorceror? the Professor echoes, even as Firestorm says so aloud in much the same tone. "Sorcerer? Whoa, for real? I guess that explains the clothes."

Did he say 'doctor'?

"Errr… Yeah- wait. You're a doctor and a sorcerer? That's…! …okay that's kinda confusing but know what? I'll go with it." Blink.

"We should talk about you rewriting the fundamental building blocks of matter."

Once again the Nuclear Man falls silent, his eyes widening at the self-proclaimed sorcerer. He glances off to his side as though to exchange a baffled look with someone before turning his head back towards Doctor Strange.

"W-wait… You know?"

***

Curiously, the people below, the workmen and gawkers, all seem to have forgotten about Firestorm by now. They don't even look up, as though the fact of two men floating in midair was the most mundane thing possible.

Because, you know, Sorceror Supreme.

Strange waits, with a kind of frayed patience, as Firestorm expresses his confusion at the fact that he's meeting someone who is both a doctor and a sorceror, a faint frown developing below his perfectly trimmed mustache. Those grey eyes just watch the Nuclear Man, who almost surely lacks the kind of mystic awareness required to notice the third eye also watching him. Reading his aura, studying him in the hopes of learning something, anything, about this mysterious young hero and how he does what he does. It's even possible he might notice that fused existence, the second consciousness lurking around and turning Firestorm into a prime example of the power of teamwork.

"Well, yes, you were just doing it," the Sorceror Supreme points out, gesturing at the road work. "And all that quartz in the Metropolis Museum of Natural History. That was your work, I'm assuming, unless that Poison Ivy woman has developed some new power."

***

For the moment Firestorm's in turn forgotten about the people below, both his minds turning circles at the appearance of this sorcerer. It's clearly not every day that one meets a sorcerer, and given the modern age one would think that being a doctor would be on the opposite side of the spectrum in the case of science versus magic. Of course that's mostly based upon fictional sources and knowledge provided mostly on Ronnie's part, while Professor Martin Stein seems to be having a difficult time believing what he's hearing on both ends, himself. He's learned that much of what the teenager he's found himself bonded to tends to say is best taken with a grain of salt. But Ronnie wasn't the one who had named this Doctor Strange a sorcerer.

Firestorm glances back down when the caped man refers to his recent handiwork, only then noticing how everyone's right up and got back to their own business down below, even with them still being at a fairly noticeable distance up here in the air. He frowns a little, turning a look back towards the Sorcerer Supreme before blinking once again with something of a sheepish expression. "Oh that. I didn't make all the quartz stuff? That was someone else- I think they said it was some god or something? I just…worked with it." He can feel Stein's incredulity at bringing up the supposed involvement of a god, much more than his willing to believe Doctor Strange's unusual title.

"Um. Did you find out about the quartz thing because you're a sorcerer?"

***

Did you find out about the quartz thing because you're a sorcerer?

"Yes," Doctor Strange answers.

"Also, process of elimination. It wasn't done by any magic I recognised, and none of the other people who were there did anything quite like… That. Which left either you, or Poison Ivy, and even if she had developed some new metahuman ability, it hardly seems like she'd put herself in a cage. So, I was keeping an eye out for similar events, and here we are."

That explains everything, right? It's definitely the opposite of explaining nothing, right?

Right.

Obviously.

"A power like yours has a peculiar fingerprint. When anyone changes things it leaves certain signs behind." He frowns more deeply now, turning a critical grey gaze on the Nuclear Man.

"Why, does everyone just assume your head is on fire and you fly and that's it?"

***

The second response is more acceptable than the first, and Firestorm has to grin as the professor nods. All right, that's fair, he admits. And although troubling, what he says about signs being left behind does make some sense.

"Even when you try putting things back the way they were?" Firestorm asks, at that moment not sure whether he means to address Stein or Strange or both. From the look on his face it's definitely news to him.

His expression looks less than amused when the sorcerer puts forth the most general assumption of his abilities at face value. "Yeaaaah, that's about right," he sighs, lifting his shoulders and dropping them in a shrug. "And short of saying I can do nuclear magic, I'm pretty sure no one really knows how it works specifically. To be honest, I'm still kinda learning, myself."

He lifts his hands, looking at them as he makes them spark a brief glow of light. Did he do something wrong somewhere? Captain Marvel was nothing but encouragement the other day, but this sorcerer guy makes him feel like he's about to get scolded.

"…I'm not in trouble, am I?" he asks after some hesitation.

***

"Change is change, er… Firestorm, right?" Doctor Strange replies, assuming that the Nuclear Man is talking to him since there's nobody else here. Though he certainly wouldn't begrudge the younger hero talking to voices in his head. The sorceror does that often enough, too. "Even if you put something back to 'how it was' there's always going to be tiny imperfections, tiny clues. Unless you're reversing time, I suppose. I wouldn't advise altering the flow of time, though, it can have some unusual consequences."

That Firestorm is still learning how to use his powers isn't that much of a surprise; in Strange's experience, most people are, no matter how long they might live with them. But it's the hesitant question that does actually surprise Strange, though it hardly shows on his face. He, of course, thought he was being perfectly patient and understanding and empathetic.

But then he usually thinks that, no matter how far from the truth it might be.

"In trouble for what?" Strange asks, his brow furrowing. "Quite likely you saved lives at the museum, helping to apprehend Poison Ivy like that, and you did it without accidentally blowing half of Metropolis up. I imagine those silly registration laws would have SHIELD or the DEO or whoever get mad at you, but that's all quite absurd." He brushes it off, and with it the potential enforcers of those laws, with a certain… Well, hubris, really. It's hubris.

"No, with an ability like yours you could really do a lot of good. Not just fighting villains, but helping to repair the damage afterwards. If you were interested, I could talk to some of the others in the Justice League…"

Does he just want to see Batman having to deal with Firestorm? No, no! Well, yes, a little. It's like 50/50.

***

That explanation makes sense, and Firestorm finds himself nodding. "I guess it wouldn't be super noticeable though, all those changes? Unless you were a Sorcerer Supreme or something though, right?" Because otherwise there would have been way more people popping up for a little chat like this, he realizes.

It's like…if you broke a vase and tried to mend it. There would still be cracks. In altering molecular structures you may be mostly working with what's available, but you're also taking away from the atmosphere or releasing unnecessary bonds into it. Of course such changes should be miniscule enough not to create any drastic shifts but it is still a good thing to be mindful of.

Maybe Strange might find it well, strange, that Firestorm still nods to himself even well after the sorceror's own explanation. But if he's caught whiff of the additional presence, or perhaps more accurately the dual consciousnesses residing in the singular form of the Nuclear Man, then it's probably easier to understand, even as Firestorm's response seems delayed. "That makes a lot more sense, Professor," he murmurs, fingering his chin thoughtfully as he weighs these new perspectives.

It seems it's his turn to be surprised by Strange's response. The man had been frowning and eyeing him so that he'd gotten a little paranoid. "I… Well…yeah, that was the point. I didn't want anyone else getting hurt. I get the feeling it'd be too easy to do that." Those aren't exactly rainbows that he blasts from his hands after all. The mention of S.H.I.E.L.D. has him looking up again.

"No one's yelled at me yet. Well, except for those two losers in the park that one night, but… I did run into Captain Marvel the other day." He smiles wryly, like he's still not quite sure what to make of the offer she'd made. But the professor had pointed out that they were a government organization, and working with S.H.I.E.L.D. would mean abiding by the law once the months turned over.

Maybe it's just the sorcerer's tone, but the words that follow are anything but condescending. Actually, it's more like a dream.

It takes Firestorm a few tries to actually get his mouth to form words. "Wh- Prof, did he—"

Apparently so, Ronald! It seems our mysterious sorcerer is acquainted with—

"-the Justice League?! Ohmanohmanohman…. Really???"

Thankfully no nuclear meltdowns follow for as giddy as the Nuclear Man appears to be.

Ronald, calm down before you make Doctor Strange regret anything.

***

It becomes increasingly obvious that there's something - beyond the most immediate, head-on-fire stuff - unusual about Firestorm. The sense, yes, that there is something else, or someone else present… But it's difficult to divine exactly what was going on, without doing anything particularly intrusive. And he wasn't here to go rattling around in anyone's mind without permission.

Not barring a substantial shift in the situation, anyway.

It's particularly telling that Firestorm is still acting like he's listening to something well after Strange's explanation is finished. And then seems to be responding to someone else entirely, because Stephen Strange has been many things in the past eighty-odd years, but a professor is not on that list.

"Captain Marvel is very good at what she does," Doctor Strange says, which might be him being politic, or maybe he means it - nobody could really doubt Carol Danvers' bravery. But he still thinks registration is silly. Maybe because he's a wizard?

Still, Firestorm's response about the Justice League isn't quite what the sorceror had expected. It wasn't like they were the Avengers, hanging out in a building with a big letter on it. The Hall of Justice was much more restrained. Kids today seemed to be all about Tony Stark and Captain America and the video games.

No respect for the old way of doing things.

Harrumph.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," the sorceror says, lifting his hands in a calming gesture. "We'll have to see what, you know, Superman and the rest think."

***

"She offered me a job with SHIELD," is said in regards to Captain Marvel. "It sounded cool and all? But it also sounded like a limited time offer, probably because of the whole law thing coming up? But I dunno…" If not for that addendum Carol had imparted before they'd split ways, Firestorm might have been inclined to take the job. There are other things going on however, and things to consider now that he could count himself and Professor Stein amongst those included in the clauses of the new Registration Act.

Of course, with the Justice League being name-dropped so casually, he's glad he's taken the time to think about things. If he weren't hovering in the air Strange might get the impression that Firestorm might've been bouncing in place.

Sure, the big names these days seem to be on the fresher brand of hero name under the Avengers, and with people as flashy as Iron Man or iconic as Captain America, who would be surprised? But the Justice League is a classic name, and those associated with the team have carried their own recognition and an unforgettable reputation. Sure, Firestorm might have been half-joking when he'd asked the Titans he'd met in Metropolis to put in a good word for him, but he's pretty sure he's not dreaming here as he speaks to Mister Wizard thirty feet off the ground…

Okay, so it could very well be a dream but he can't recall any reason why he would be dreaming up a doctor-sorcerer supreme…unless the supreme stuck from having Taco Bell for lunch the other day.

The thought is hardly enough to jar Firestorm from this otherwise reality, and even with Doctor Strange trying to placate him, the young hero (if it wasn't obvious before, it's definitely obvious that he's pretty young now) can't help but clasp his gloved hands on his face with barely contained glee. "Superman!! Oh sweet! This is so awesome! Man- okay, yeah, okayokay, I'm good, I'm not- I know this isn't….doesn't mean anything but oh wow……!"

***

She offered me a job with SHIELD.

"Well, of course you should do whatever is best for you," Strange says, because no duh. It seems clear, though, that Firestorm has some reservations about the idea, and also that whenever the sorceror mentions anything Justice League related the younger hero gets real excited. "Either way, I'm sure you'll do your best to help people."

And that's really the whole point of the job, right? Plus, the more conventionally-focused superhero types there are out there, the less likely the Sorceror Supreme will have to bestir himself when he needs to be focusing on protecting the very existence of reality as they know it from terrifying insanity monsters or something.

Typical Sorceror Supreme stuff.

And then, of course, he brings up the Man of Steel himself, which reduces Firestorm to outright fanboy glee. It should probably hurt his feelings (and it does, a little bit) that he isn't an immediately recogniseable member of the League, despite everything. But, he does suppose that the likes of Superman and Power Woman have a way of drawing attention. Still, it's hurtful.

"Oh boy," the sorceror says under his breath. "Right, well, I'll talk to the others, anyway, and we'll see what happens. Here." A card, a proper business card, sort of appears in the air and floats over to Firestorm. It has all the usual information you would expect from a wizard's business card, with his name (he's really a doctor!) and the address of the Sanctum at 177A Bleecker Street (plus a gmail address, it's 2019). "As long as you have that, I'll be able to contact you."

***

Helping people. That's what he's been setting out to do. They'd come by such powers in such a violent and unexpected way, and it had left more of an impression than becoming a fused super-being. The truth of the matter was that there were bad people in the world, people who had the means to harm others and do terrible things. And now Ronnie and Stein had the ability to try and do something about it.

And it's been a learning experience. They've found that it's not always bad people. It's accidents, it's neglect. It's things that just happen and things can still go so horribly wrong. But they don't have to always end badly, not if someone's there to do something about it.

Firestorm manages to sober up a bit. Perhaps the sorcerer's reaction has called attention to the awkwardness. Or it might also be the internal cough and gentle reminder from his ever-present professor that he should really try to behave more maturely. He might also be sympathizing with the sorcerer doctor.

"Ahem. Yes. Coolsie. Oh, business card? Niiiice." Firestorm accepts the card, looking at it, flipping it over. He's not sure if he's amused or disappointed at how modernized the Sorcerer Supreme is that he's even got an email address. Know what, he'll go with it. "Thanks, Doc. I'll make sure not to lose it."

***

Nobody wants to look bad in front of a wizard.

The card does appear to be quite mundane, though of course who could really tell? Especially somebody without any magical senses of their own, like Firestorm? It could be doing all sorts of weird magic stuff.

"See that you don't," Strange says on the subject of losing the card. "The consequences could be dire."

He pauses. Really lets that hang there a moment.

Then he laughs.

"Sorry, sorceror joke. It'd just be a pain in the ass. Don't worry, it's just a regular business card." But then, he'd say that, wouldn't he? "Now, I'll let you get back to work. If you run into any magic trouble, just go to the address on the card." Behind the Sorceror Supreme, reality itself spins open, his gestures causing a portal to form, one that he floats backwards into, before it snaps shut.

About two seconds after that, the people on the ground below start to notice Firestorm is still there.

***

"Hah."

Doctor Strange has a terrible knack for delivering deadpan. Still, Firestorm relaxes a little at the admission of humor (???), still taking care to stow the card where it won't get lost. Probably better to stay on good terms with a guy that goes by Sorcerer Supreme.

He hardly gets another word out as the man in the flowing cape suddenly vanishes, a trick that Firestorm can't pull off himself. "That definitely hadda be magic, Prof." Even as Stein attempts to offer possible alternatives to such, it's largely ignored as Firestorm glances back towards the ground and sees that he's drawn attention.

"Wait, how long were we even talking there?" he mutters, waving awkwardly at the people before he throws himself back onto his original flight path. That was super weird. But he has a business card to prove it was real.

"Whaddya think, Prof? If that was an interview I sure hope I didn't blow it."

It could have gone worse.

"Not very reassuring there."

But truthful. …now weren't you supposed to pick something up for your mot—

"CRAP! I forgot to buy the milk!!"

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