The Dis-Orient Express
Roleplaying Log: The Dis-Orient Express
IC Details

Lois Lane is "invited" by the leaders of the Brotherhood to an interview with very specific goals.

Other Characters Referenced: Superman, Carol Danvers
IC Date: February 07, 2019
IC Location: ????
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 Feb 2019 23:15
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

In some ways, Lois Lane is really a creature of habit. Oh, she absolutely spends many hours of her week out of the office tracking down stories, but far more of her time is spent in research and writing. For all that the Daily Planet has been allowing a lot of remote work, she prefers to do her work the old fashioned way: in the newsroom. Her focus at work is also intense, and when she takes an actual lunch break (instead of just scarfing pot noodle at her desk), it's almost always on the roof of the Daily Planet building.

It's a relatively warm day today, or at least it's above freezing. Jimmy, bless him, brought two extra-extra-large pizzas for the office on his way back from taking pictures of some new building going up, and Lois snaffled two still-steaming pieces of pepperoni-and-extra-cheese up to the roof to chow down in peace. A few minutes of peace at last — and, if she's incredibly lucky, maybe even a visit from some nice fellow who uses rooftops as his own private helipad.

The days are lengthening, but night still comes on early in the winter months, no matter how warm it might be compared to the usual temperatures for early February. Sunset is a beautiful thing to see from the roof of the Daily Planet, at least, as it washes the rooftops of Metropolis in resplendent reds and golds.

It might be why the flicker of scarlet light at Lois's periphery, half-seen from the corner of the eye, may go initially unnoticed. What comes after is harder to ignore. The world seems to invert for a nanosecond, colors flashing into a photo-negative before returning to normal. A brief sensation of wrongness saturates the atmosphere, like a too-sharp tug in the warp and weft of reality itself.

Which, in all frankness, it is.

"Ms. Lane." The voice, emanating from the empty table from somewhere to her left, is quite polite at the least. It is a clear male voice, precise in its diction, heavy with an accent far from America — something that rings Eastern European. It's a familiar voice. It's been heard shouting terrorist rhetoric for the past thirteen years. "A few minutes of your time."

A glance left reveals a distinctive pair, doing nothing to disguise their appearances. Side by side, the Maximoff twins sit, their well-known features quite on display.

"Carol Danvers had her say," says Quicksilver. "We want ours."

Reality shifts. Lois finds herself somewhere very much else, and any pigeons braving the cold breezes will find an unexpected bounty in a plate of fresh pizza just left out there for anyone to have.

She did, when she saw that very faint flicker of red, turn her head with a growing smile in the hope that — well, there's someone who wears red, among his favorite primary colors, who shows up on this rooftop often. It's not him. It's not anyone. And very shortly, it's not here.

Cold as it was on the roof in Metropolis, the chill that runs through Lois is a lot sharper. Turning swiftly to face the voices, Lois can't help it: she catches her breath, eyes going wide at the sight of the too-famous pair. Her blood runs cold. They are not, as far as she's heard, averse to spilling blood when they think it's a good idea. Particularly when they think it'll get attention.

Startlement changes to fear, then astonishment, and then…

"I guess this saves me the time of trying to find you," Lois begins. She clears her throat. "…I don't suppose you'd like to tell me where we are?"

There truly is no indication where they might be. There's no indication it's even on Earth. The world drowns in darkness with only the small area about them visible, almost like a spotlight, one table between the Twins and Lois Lane. Who knows what is in the darkness? It could still be the roof, simply shrouded by whatever magic the Witch boasts; or it could be the screaming outer darkness of whatever chaotic realms she is able to tread, and walking out into the black might lose one to the infinite cosmos.

Lois, of course, asks the question. "No, I wouldn't," replies the son of Magneto. His expression momentarily flickers with humor, though it's humor with an edge, sharp and malicious. "But rest assured you will be put back quite in one piece, when we are finished."

If there's something that does give him pause, however, it's Lois's declaration. "Trying to find us?" he asks, exchanging a glance with his sister. His hard blue eyes return to Lois a moment later. "Not a lot of people look for us, who don't want to kill or catch us. Though I suppose I'm not surprised. I've studied your track record. It is, in fact, why we are here. Why we have picked you. Anything for a story. Anything for the truth."

His head lifts, but the arrogant cant of it somehow makes him look less like his father, for a few moments. What Magneto showed the world was not arrogance, but complete and total conviction and confidence of purpose. His son is still young yet.

"Is that what you wanted to find us for? The truth? We have more than enough of that. We know such truths as would put the lie to all this false piety about equal treatment for equal species. And we want a voice for what we have to say."

Reality shifts, and the Scarlet Witch sits daintily at its vacant epicenter. The same creeping scarlet, threading leylines that hold together the joints of a half-woven world, rhyme with the colour of her eyes.

At her twin brother's side, dressed in conservative layers with her dark hair veiled, she meets the occasion with a startling silence, and a mannequin-like glassiness to her staring. Gaze on Lois Lane, the witch does not even blink.

And she remains this way, wordless, deferring, as Quicksilver speaks for the both of them. However disparate they look, him pale and her dark, Magneto's twin children seem to run in an unnatural synchronicity — moving together, tilting their heads together, even sharing that silent glance in perfect attunement.

In the end, however, the Scarlet Witch seems to break from their unison, just long enough to harbour an independent thought of her own.

"Hum," she muses, at the tail of her brother's imperious declarations. "Perhaps, my darling, we are being a little too bleak. How can we build a friendship without any offering of hearth?"

The witch snaps her fingers with a flare of scarlet.

The world around them shifts.

Where it was silent before, bare, and sterile — it opens up to the warm, cherrywood dining car of some travelling train, as the distant, white-capped vista of the Swiss Alps frame the view out the windows.

That empty table is now full, flush with an elaborate meal: lemon-roast quail on a fine bed of wild mushrooms. Glasses steep with a dark wine that breathes with exquisite finery.

Wanda pinches her thumb to her ring finger, and deftly snuffs out a last smoking trace of scarlet. "Please. Partake."

"For what it's worth," Lois says slowly, "I think Carol Danvers believed what she said. But yes," she continues, looking between the two with a moment of surprise and curiosity. "I did want to find you. I wanted to hear your point of view, and I think the world ought to hear it, too. This story has nothing to do with me and everything to do with mutants, with metahumans. My job is to tell your story."

She takes a deep breath. "You. You really didn't need to carry me away for this. Because while I'm pretty sure I won't agree with everything you have to say, I believe in your having the right to say it. More to the point. Uh. If we're… still on Earth?" Lois glances around. It's hard to tell. "Then someone might get a little cranky that you took me. But. Okay. Ah. …Do you have, say, cameras? Or a pen and paper?"

She steps toward the empty table apparently designated for her. She doesn't try moving out further. If rumors are correct, the Scarlet Witch — that's the mild-looking red-haired woman with the distant eyes and the delicate demeanor — can open gates to all manner of distant and dangerous realms. She could be floating on the event horizon of a black hole, for all she knows, or she could be in a warehouse basement in Des Moines.

Right up until it's… not. Lois is suddenly standing on the gently rumbling floor of what looks like a train in Switzerland in about 1925. Beautiful and unsettling all at once. Lois seeks to meet Wanda's eyes, and the… strangeness within them is as unsettling as their sudden change of scenery. That's not going to stop Lois from sliding into her seat and, because she feels like she's earned it at this point, taking a sip of what at least looks like very fine wine.

Quicksilver does not blink to his twin's decision to adjust the setting. For him, sitting at the center of a changing reality is as natural as breathing. A moment of crossness flickers in his mind at the idea of providing a flatscan any sort of comfort, but greater than his vindictive nature is his tendency to indulge his sister in whatever she might decide.

And — he supposes this is somewhat of a friendly call. By their standards. There's been no murder. In fact, the Scarlet Witch spreads the most hospitable of locales.

The Witch invites Lois to partake of her enchanted spread. The Witch's brother stares at Lois until she accepts his twin's very generous offer. His stare only relents when Lois sits and accepts a sip of wine.

"We prefer the comfort and safety of our own familiar settings when doing business, Ms. Lane," he says dryly. He leaves it to his twin whether to indulge the request for materiel. "The world is a dangerous place for my sister and I. All of you have so many Someones these days — " A sneer crosses his features, " — ready to rush in with so little inclination to listen before pulling the trigger."

His expression freezes at mention of Carol Danvers. "That she does believe what she says is the problem," Quicksilver says coldly. "I held beliefs as naive as Danvers' when I was sixteen and a fresh arrival to America. I left behind a decade of persecution in Europe, and I came to this country for freedom and for safety from being burned for our basic natures. I promised my twin America would not hate us for what we were. Now? I find it fitting another yoke for our necks — and worse than a yoke.

“SHIELD has fed you a pack of lies about safety, equality, and justice, while developing a means to execute a targeted genocide on all mutants behind closed doors," Quicksilver says, his voice as hard and final as the fall of a guillotine. "How exactly do you think that registration database will be used, Ms. Lane?"

"No need for anyone to be put out," assures the Scarlet Witch, her distant-accented voice like anaesthetic. "Let us treat you to a well-deserved meal. Some lively conversation. You shall be returned home in due time."

For now, there is only the banquet. And, as she considers Lois' additional request, the witch half-hoods her red eyes. She turns one hand, letting little flash-flares of scarlet spark through her fingertips.

A notebook and an elaborate fountain pen wait next to Miss Lane's setting. No camera, however.

Gentle-eyed, the witch does not invite herself into her twin brother's conversation, a whimsical, between-worlds absence to her face as his cutting words strike like blades.

His twin merely indulges every last bit of it, endlessly doting, and sees to pouring him his own glass of wine.

Notebook. Fountain pen. That'll have to do. Lois startles just a bit at their sudden appearance, but she's really going to have to get used to that sort of thing just happening without much warning.

She picks up the latter and flips to a blank page of the former, scribbling down a few words including the date and some other shorthand. The wine glass is in the other hand, and she takes another sip. Hospitality. Trust. Two-way street, trust. They aren't going to kill her; if they wanted her dead, it would have happened, and she is much more valuable alive.

"That depends," she begins, and though she's not in fear of her life just at present, she's still observing Quicksilver with some well-worn wariness. "My personal opinions aren't part of my stories. Personally, I've seen enough of what all governments do, whether through mostly-benign incompetence, outright stupidity, or actual malice to be confident registration data will be used responsibly and guarded appropriately. Beyond that, my personal feelings are unimportant. It's your point of view I want to understand. What has happened to you here in America? Before the Registration Act, I mean, which must have salted the wounds. It sounds like you've met with your own share of intolerance."

Quicksilver takes the poured wine without thought, but not without gratitude: he slides his glass over in front of him only after resting his hand atop his sister's, a brief touch that is just one of many frequent caresses that pass between the inseparable twins.

It's time that Lois gets to compose herself, to take up the weapons of her trade, and to get her mind in order. She clearly isn't going to be killed; so what is it the twins want?

Impatience flints visibly in his eyes as Lois asks her questions. "'Met — with — intolerance,'" he repeats, rage strung in every syllable. "A pat phrase to cover being beaten in the streets, tied to stakes, soaked in oil, and burned. Do you know how many times I have pulled my sister off a pyre and washed the gasoline out of her hair? They hunted us with Sentinels. They shot us where we stood. They stole us from our beds and cut us apart on tables to make pills out of our powers. Fisk murdered hundreds of us for money, and he and his co-conspirators sit warmly in prison with the promise of an eventual RELEASE. These are all matters on public record, going back decades, which continue on because of human indifference and human hatred. They have not listened to our words. What other recourse do we have but to speak in violence?"

His jaw grits at the suggestion registration data will be guarded. "Perhaps your personal opinion is of no importance," he says. "What about your conscience? If we were to tell you that at this moment, SHIELD has in its possession a genetic weapon designed, upon release, to kill anyone in possession of an X-Gene, what would you do?"

His blue eyes narrow. "We know for a fact that they do. We have our own spies. We have seen the data. They are not far from being able to deploy it. I imagine," he says, with a slicing sarcasm, "they are waiting for the complete list of whom to use it on."

Disbelief. Horror, even. All of these make their way across Lois's face, but she schools her expression and takes a deep breath. Don't act rashly on the words of very angry terrorists. They teach you that in journalism school.

"I believe you," she says darkly, "and if these are a matter of public record, then tell me where I can find those records and I will make them public. I'm… very aware of what happened to Fisk. And what happens to men like him who commit the vilest crimes and never meet with true justice. You'll notice I'm not a police officer or a SHIELD agent or a judge. I'm a journalist; I'm interested in truth."

But the idea of this genetic weapon actually takes her off guard, and again, it takes all her poise and training to ensure she doesn't get carried along with Quicksilver's… enthusiasm. She turns her eyes to her notepad long enough to make sure the notes she takes are accurate. This is why, the little voice in the back of her head says, we don't give terrorists their own TV channel. What if they're right? Would the panic that this knowledge would create justify not revealing this and allowing such a weapon to be used? Surely no. Surely.

But if anyone had that, it would be SHIELD.

"If I report something as truth," Lois replies, "I need incontrovertible proof of it. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. But I'll tell you this."

She takes a deep breath. No, she thinks. They're not the sort to secretly record her having a personal opinion and then broadcast it across the world. Still, she chooses her words with care. "Off the record, person to person, I find registering metahumans and mutants abhorrent. My job is to tell the truth, and as a journalist, I hope that's what I do. But forcing everyone with genetic differences into genetic testing and possible forced medical procedures, not to mention having to re-up more often than a sex offender, not to mention all your personal and medical data being kept by people who are at best incompetent to handle it and at worst ready, willing, and able to use that information for their own ends? It's wrong, it's abhorrent, it's not what this country should stand for. So please, understand. That far, we agree."

She sets the pen down carefully. "So if you want me to tell the American people your story, I will. I will sit on this train with you, and I will go to the towns where you were attacked, and I will review the records myself and interview the people who were there. I… don't know what Sentinels are, so you will help me understand that, and I will confirm the facts and report on them. I don't let knowledge die in darkness. But if I have a reputation for anything, it's that I do my research and all my due diligence before I make a statement as fact."

"I am sure," Quicksilver says, his voice punishingly dry, "a reporter of your mettle will have no difficulty in stripping Trask Industries for their records on the development of the Sentinels to manage mutant populations, and on the plans for their newest models in light of registration. They are coming out with newer, more lethal models. I assure you of that. Neither will you have difficulty digging up anything on the Reverend Stryker, or what his Purifiers did." His blue eyes soak with contempt. "I hear he is nearing the end of his prison sentence. A small price to pay for attempted mass murder, isn't it?"

But his expression, hard with anger, momentarily restrains back to a more tense neutral as Lois speaks 'off the record.' "I do not question your personal opposition to the legislation," he says, the curtness of his voice entirely removing any potential warmth that kind of statement might have had. "Nor your interest in our story."

He is silent a moment, which for Quicksilver is quite a long time. "If you go to Timișoara," he says eventually, the names of past home cities spoken with easy fluency for each of their languages, "or to Vienna, or Stuttgart, or Aubervilliers, you will find little record of us. If you wish to nonetheless, then it is your time and your prerogative on how to waste it. More importantly — our story is not mine alone to freely tell." His hand closes on his sister's, and he leans against her briefly in reassurance. He will say no more of her private suffering than he already has. "Speak to our people who live and suffer here, now, and tell their stories, if you profess to care so deeply about what will become of them in March."

But what really interests them right now, what the Twins truly brought Lois here to discuss, soon lands on the table. A genetic weapon. Of course, Lois balks to publish anything without incontrovertible proof.

Quicksilver places a file folder on the table between them. Within are pages of mostly-redacted documents, but with enough information visible to discern complex formulae. Chemical compounds.

"The choice is yours," he says, with a certain finality. "Do your due diligence on it, and then choose whether or not to believe us and make this heard." His hand squeezes his sister's, in a wordless cue. We are done here.

Pietro hesitates a moment, before he continues, "I am not my father. I know that what you say will have a credibility we do not have… So I will give you a chance to say it. To expose this and see it either disproved or destroyed."

Quicksilver rises from the table. "Perhaps then we will not have to act."

As the brother relays insult after insult mankind ever paid them, the sister is quiet.

The Scarlet Witch looks off into somewhere not here, her features like glass and her expression a mirror — reflecting the world away without so much as a glimpse within.

"We have no story," she finally declares, voice low and wan. "The ending, if I must spoil, is that We became beasts to fight worse monsters. There is nothing more to tell. What matters is we all sit on the eve of a generation of new stories, untold, and fated to be quilled in blood."

Quicksilver takes her hand, and the Witch consents to the contact, deferring visibly to him. His impatience and desire to be done with this already is well-noted.

"I could have created that," the Witch first speaks of the evidence, certain a mind like Miss Lane has cause to doubt. "As I made everything else you see, touch, taste. But some things are even too ghoulish for my hands to make. When you seek further truths, you will know I am not lying to you."

Through the shadow of her veil, and the dark locks of her hair, shines the glint of her watchful red eyes. "If you truly feel as you say, then act on it. Help our people."

Quicksilver signals a cessation, and scarlet winds through the Witch's free hand. In an instant, it's all over — and Lois Lane is delivered back to the very spot they took her.

The twins are gone, crackling away with that jarring shift of reality, left with the Scarlet Witch's last words: "Please, keep the pen."

Lois’s hand is writing swiftly, noting down the names of the places even though Quicksilver says they’re unlikely to bear any fruit. He’s right, though: her job isn’t to take the monsters of the day and make them beautiful. What they’ve done, what they plan to do, none of those things are excusable. Innocent people have died, will die for their cause.

Still. If she’d had to wash gasoline out of the hair of a fragile sister, she might not flinch from violence either. And it’s that empathy and compassion, that ability to put herself in another person’s shoes, look through their eyes, that makes her the journalist she is.

Stryker? Purifiers? Sentinels? Lois doesn’t know what to make of any of it, but if half of what Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch say is true, she’s just started opening Pandora’s box. For once, she’s actually afraid of what the truth might bring. If it’s as monstrous as they suggest, would it be worse for people to know?

No. That’s not her choice to make for others.

Then again, she’s making it if she investigates the facts and writes the story.

The question will surely keep her up nights, but that fierce steel core of her belief in shining a light on the truth will, hopefully, keep her moving through it.

“I will find the truth,” she says. “You’ve given me a starting point, and I’m grateful. If — “

But she trails off, her eyes resting on the Witch’s face. One hand grips the folder, slides the notebook onto it, but these are reflexive movements. It’s impossible to look at that face and not feel her heart breaking, and for a moment she has that insight into a gentle heart and a sensitive soul battered by an unfeeling world. Her usually poised and focused expression shows, just for a moment, the warmth she feels toward this lost soul and the… if not warmth, the understanding of her protective twin.

“I’ll strive to be worthy of your faith and trust,” she says simply.

And in an instant, they’re gone, leaving her only evidence and the taste of magical wine in her mouth. And a beautiful pen, which she tucks into the breast pocket of her coat.

The pigeons have made their meal from her lunch, but Lois has long forgotten it. She’s already heading for the door to the newsroom, the chill of the wintry afternoon nothing compared to the fire of righteous anger already kindled in her chest.

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