Title: Inner Fires
Martin Krane - January 27, 2012 12:56 AM (GMT)
Time: 11:45 A.M.
Date: January 22nd
A day off was something Martin Krane wasn't used too. Not that Utopia over worked him, it was just the simple fact that he still wasn't used to having a job. He'd fallen into routine pretty well, and it was easy enough to get up every morning and head out, but since he had been working for a extended period of time, he really didn't know what to do with his downtime. Most days, he'd sit around in his room, going over tactics or reviewing old mission files he'd been given access too. Martin would catch the occasional Tribble in his room. Never being mean enough to kill one, he'd simply try and catch it and toss it out side. He had to admit, the little things were kind of cute.
Today was just like the rest, and as The Almost X-Man, Martin, relaxed on his bed, reading over a book he'd picked up, he felt something scurry over his legs. The shock caught him first, and he book hit his chest as he peered over it, looking for what ever had did it. "Must be another one of those damned...things."
His bed as situated in the back of the small room where he resided. It was only a couple of inches away from the wall, just enough for something as small as a Tribble to squeeze into. When Martin heard the sound of frantic scratches on the wall, he knew where to find it. Martin crawled up to a position where he could lean over and look into the crevice between the bed and the wall, and of course, he found one of the furry bugger stuck right in the middle.
"Free fall gone wrong, little guy?" Martin reached his hand down, and the Tribble frantically tried to escape, but his gut kept him safely lodged in the crack. Martin scooped it up and brought it up, using his book to block it's escaping. He turned around and saw the remnants of a granola bar he'd just eaten and grabbed at it, bringing a tiny piece that was left over to the Tribble. It gladly snatched it away and gobbled it up, a grin spreading across it's face. "Jeez you Tribbles are weird lookin'" He commented, to which the Tribble slapped his knee.
"Yeah, don't think that's gonna work lil' one. Sucks bein' tiny huh?" He asked it in a bit of a mock. Martin scooped it up again and rose from his bed. "Let's get you outside." Making his way to the door, he heard scratches and scurries to his side and looked to the wall, hearing it again he closed his eyes and sighed, to which the Tribble giggled, confirming that his friends and family were in the wall.
Martin glared at the cocky thing and spoke, "You know, if Logan would have found you, he would have sliced you up and eaten you!" The Tribble trembled in his hands, and Martin smirked.
Martin made his way out of the room and into the hall, heading toward the outside to release the little annoyance he held in his hands. "You kinda stink, you could have the decency to roll around in a puddle or something..." Martin sniffed, "Ugh, wet Tribble smell." The thing grinned and chuckled again.
Rusty Collins - January 27, 2012 12:04 PM (GMT)
By this time the Tribbles were completely out of control. Rusty had found that they started to drive him crazy. They chewed on everything. From what he heard they had to take special measures in the kitchen to protect the food. As he walked down the halls he tried to be careful where he stepped. As much as they irritated the crap out of him he didn't think he could bring himself to hurt one on purpose.
What several of the students had been doing so far was scooping up sackfuls of the cute little rat things and taking them far away into the jungle to release them. It helped. Probably. Still, there were so many of them that it didn't seem to matter. If each one of them reproduced quickly, it was just a numbers game in the end. They couldn't win this thing.
And as far as Rusty knew, Tommy still had not come forward to explain that this had sort of been all his fault. The longer it went on the worse that whole conversation was likely to go, but Tommy seemed to follow his own rules in these things. Rusty wouldn't nark his new friend out. The only thing he would do for now was continue exporting sack loads of the rodents out the door.
Right now his sack was fairly well overflowing. He didn't notice that one of them had started chewing a hole in the fabric at the bottom of the sack, but he did stop at the sound of a familiar voice behind him in the hall and turned around to see Martin talking to a Tribble.
"Hey," he said by way of a greeting. He stepped over a small cluster of Tribbles and over to Martin. "Almost seems like they understand on some level," he said. Then he nodded down to the sack. "I've been hauling them out to the jungle. Wanna help out?"
Martin Krane - January 28, 2012 07:56 AM (GMT)
When Rusty greeted Marty, the young mutant couldn't help but smile back toward the younger man. "Hey Rusty, uhm, yeah, no problem, but ya may wanna get another bag, looks like you're about to have a lot of these things at your feet." He said pointing to the hole in the bag with a Tribble stuck in and a struggling to wriggle out of it. Martin looked around to see anything that could contain the things, and found nothing.
Finally Martin decided to crouch down and force the animal back in and keep his hand cupped over the hole to make sure they didn't get out. "These things don't bite that hard do they?" He asked, then started leading them out toward the jungle.
This was the best a time as any to strike a conversation. Martin had been preoccupied with so many things he hadn't really had time to look for specific people and talk with them. "So rusty.." He started, "How has Utopia been treating you since we last talked? When you arrived here...well, if it was anything like when I first got thrust into this place...must have been pretty hectic." Martin let a light chuckle escape his lips.
Rusty Collins - January 28, 2012 01:33 PM (GMT)
At Martin’s direction, Rusty looked down at the bag he was holding and saw the small rip in the bottom with curious little eyes peeking out. “Great,” he intoned. “This is the third one I’ve gone through this week.” There were more in the kitchen, but eventually they would run out. He needed to come up with some other way to get crate them out. Probably boxes of some kind. Maybe wooden…or maybe even metal. They just wouldn’t be as easy to carry as these sacks were.
Martin cupped his hand over the hole. “I’ve…never heard of one biting someone,” Rusty admitted. “I mean, sure they eat all our food and tear holes in the walls…steal people’s stuff and crap everywhere, but I don’t think they’re violent.”
As if on cue, a Tribble came running down the hall with a pair of shoelaces in its mouth. Tumbling along behind it was some unfortunate student’s shoe. Or maybe faculty? It looked big, and actually for a second Rusty thought that it looked like the kind of footwear he’d seen Scott wearing. It disappeared around the corner as Martin continued talking.
“It’s been…interesting,” Rusty said distantly. “Mainly been just trying to get used to this whole thing. I mean…you know…” He hated admitting this stuff. “Just getting used to the idea of being a…mutant was hard enough.” He took a deep breath. “But I guess I’m settling in,” he said. Of course there was that whole thing with Kevin. But he tried not to think about it.
“Teddy’s been helping a lot,” he said with a shrug. “He’s been spending a lot of time making sure I’m getting used to everything.” The two had become pretty close friends. That was something Rusty honestly had never had before. But he didn’t really go into that.
“What about you, Martin?” Kneeling down he tried cinching off the bottom of the bag with a knot where the hole was, the Tribbles within tumbled around on top of each other with tiny little pips and squeals. “What have you been up to?”
Martin Krane - January 28, 2012 11:16 PM (GMT)
As they came closer and closer to the edge of the edge of the jungle, Martin stopped to help him him tie the knot in Rusty's bag. Supporting it from the bottom, he wrapped his hand around and firmly held his squirming Tribble. It whined and groaned, trying to push itself from the hold on Martin's hand, almost overexerting itself. Finally giving up, the little furry creature flopped it's head onto Martin's wrist and rested, purring slightly in some odd, new found bliss.
Once Rusty had the knot tied and the bag secure, Martin let it down and went back to cradling his Tribble. "Gotta admit, they're kinda cute." He said with a grin.
Rusty spoke about his latest ventures and dealing within Utopia, and it brought a small smile to Martin's face. "Well I'm glad you're settling in, but as for me, things have been...decent. Things were going pretty good, I've run a few Danger Room sessions, really been keeping up on working the farm and such, but then I had a pretty big argument with a friend."
He was of course referring to the incident at the Memorial when he caught Roberto, or Sunspot, stashing his liquor under a boulder next to it. Typical of the irresponsible young mutant. Even though he'd discussed the situation with Jean, his chest still welled with a fire that he wanted to use against Sunspot. Gritting his teeth at the thought of the words said and actions dealt that night, he exhaled and looked back to Rusty, "It's been..interesting."
"Honestly though, I'm really glad you're settling in well, I was kinda worried. It was pretty hard for me when I had too, because....well...you know." His words trailed off a faded toward the end. He didn't need to say anything as he remembered he'd showed Rusty the text when he first met him. That action that Martin had made that day might have very well salvaged the beginning of their friendship, and maybe if he hadn't, Martin wouldn't be having some friendly conversation over Tribble wrangling with Rusty.
Rusty Collins - January 30, 2012 04:09 AM (GMT)
“Yeah,” Rusty said as he watched them scamper around, “cute.” It was true enough. They were cute. But it wore thin after a while. Rusty might have been one of the only ones who seemed to think that they were more than just a cute little nuisance. If they continued to grow and reproduce at the rate that they had been…they were either going to use up all of the natural resources set aside for the students, or completely crowd everyone out within a couple of more weeks.
And diseases? Didn’t little guys no bigger than this cause the plague?
Rusty looked up, forgetting about the Tribbles for a moment while Martin explained some of what he had been going through over the past few weeks. Teddy had explained the whole Danger Room thing to him, though he still had not really gained the right to actually see it yet. Honestly he wasn’t really sure if he was ready to take his fires indoors yet anyway. He wasn’t sure anyplace was quite fireproof enough for him just yet.
He didn’t know what to say to the open and honest confession he was getting from Martin. It made him a little bit uncomfortable to be honest. But he studied the ground while Martin spoke, looking up from beneath his bangs at him and nodding solemnly. But it struck him. Martin was open and honest. He was genuine…if not a little bit on the confessional side.
Maybe he should look at this a different way. Martin obviously trusted him. He thought back to that text he’d been given. He thought about it a number of times. It was a fairly big thing to admit to an almost perfect stranger. Though he wanted to know more about it, he just couldn’t think of a real way to bring it up. “Sorry to hear about your friend,” he said awkwardly instead. “Did you two ever…work it out?”
Martin Krane - January 30, 2012 08:04 AM (GMT)
Martin watched the boy's awkwardness closely, not judging him, but taking it in, examining him. When Rusty finally spoke back up, Martin scoffed and replied, "No, no we didn't, and I don't think we ever will. What's said is said, and what's done is done, you can't change the past." Martin let his head dip in a nod, a reassurance of his statement, more for his own sake then Rusty's.
Their walked continued, and before 5 minutes had rolled over, they reached the high towers that made up the sonic and electric fence. One couldn't really see the electricity and the sonic waves, but one step too close, and someone could feel it right quick. Of course, as with any security fence or system, there was a way to deactivate or get through it without getting hurt, and this particular fence's way manifested in the form of a simple steel door that opened with the scan of a hand.
Once the ladder was done, the door popped open and Martin led the bag that Rusty held onto through the passage. Martin looked from side to side, then back to his friend, "We can't just release them here, too many would try to run by the fencing...How about over there?" He said, taking a free hand and pointing out a couple of yards. "We have to be quick though."
Shuffling over to where he pointed, Martin lowered the bag once they were there, and then waited for Rusty to release the flood of the little critters. While he waited, Martin's hands found his hips and the rested there for the duration. He looked toward the younger mutant and cocked his brow.
"Can I ask you something? You tend too....Well to put in frankly, You're really shy man...is there a reason?"
Martin knew Rusty was afraid of his powers, he'd gathered that during their first meeting, and Martin was the same type of awkward when he'd first shown up, but if it hadn't been for people reaching out to him, he'd still be the boy he was before.
"I don't mean that in a bad way, Rusty, you're a great guy...I'm just wondering why you keep that from the world. It's easy for me to tell, the slouched posture, the hidden eyes, the quietness...been there done that." He stated with a small chuckle.
Rusty Collins - February 1, 2012 12:23 PM (GMT)
You can’t change the past. Rusty knew Martin was speaking truth on that one. He thought back to some of the things in his past that he wished he could change. Words in particular that had been spoken between him and his uncle that had driven such a wide rift between the two over the years. He knew it had made the whole thing worse. He knew it at the time. But you really couldn’t change the past and some of those past events were just destined to haunt you for it.
For a little while they walked in silence, approaching the invisible fence and carrying a bag of Tribbles. He could feel them in there, shifting around and scurrying over one another trying to find a way out of the bag. Martin had security clearance sufficient to create a door for them to get out, and Rusty followed him past the protective barrier and into the ‘wilds’.
There was always something electric about being in the wilds. Maybe it was just the danger…the possibility of something happening. Whatever it was, Rusty felt that familiar heightening of his senses. He took care to be particularly aware and silently followed Martin to a spot where they could release the little trouble-makers. As he upended the bag, he was amazed at how quickly they disappeared and blended into the dense parts of the undergrowth. Looking around at the expansive jungle he wondered how many of them were out there.
"Can I ask you something? You tend too....Well to put in frankly, You're really shy man...is there a reason?"
He looked over at Martin as he rolled up the now empty bag. Shy? He didn’t know if that word fit. Shy seemed embarrassed to him…a fear of social situations that prevented someone from opening up because of anxiety or whatever. That wasn’t Rusty. He looked at him for a minute, unable to figure out what a better defining word was, and then shrugged.
"I don't mean that in a bad way, Rusty, you're a great guy...I'm just wondering why you keep that from the world. It's easy for me to tell, the slouched posture, the hidden eyes, the quietness...been there done that."
Nodding a little as Martin spoke, Rusty tried to think of a good way to put it. “Quiet? Yes,” he said as he looked around at the jungle, seeing something moving in the underbrush that seemed like it might be a little bigger than a Tribble. “I remember something my mom used to say before…” He thought about it. “Listen more, talk less.” He smiled a little. “I used to think she just wanted me to shut up. But I’ve met people that talk all the time and say nothing, and I’ve met people that hardly ever talk but when they do it means something.” He looked back at Martin. “You know how much more you can get from listening and not talking? I’m not sure shy is the right word,” he said. “I’m just…waiting on the right words.”
Martin Krane - February 1, 2012 11:18 PM (GMT)
"That's probably the most intelligent thing I've heard today." Martin stated with a wide smile, content with his answer. "Forgive me for mistaking it then." He said as he walked by, patting him on the shoulder softly and starting back toward the gate.
"Waiting for the right words..." He pondered over the statement after saying it aloud, let it roll around in his mouth, as if tasting a fine wine. "I guess you really do see more when you listen, it makes a lot of sense. When I first came here...I didn't talk much, guess I'm making up for lost time." He joked as they reached the fence and walked through.
He locked the gated door behind them and turned back to Rusty. "Just one thing man, don't let waiting for the right words make you miss moments you should talk, even if you don't have the right words you think you need." Martin grinned, then nodded. "So what're you doin' now? Wanna catch some grub?" He asked.
Martin enjoyed the company of the young man. Not only did he remind him of himself when he first arrived, but the different perspective was refreshing. Martin hoped that somehow, someway he helped the young man. He knew that Rusty was good at heart, it was easy to see, and he figured, if he stayed around, he'd make a good teacher and even a good X-Man.
Rusty Collins - February 3, 2012 12:10 PM (GMT)
“Nothing to forgive,” Rusty said with a slight shrug. Movement caught his eye again, a small area of leaves shaking and a silhouette the size of a large dog moving through them. Rusty squinted his eyes and didn’t even realize that he was slipping his null cuff off. His powers still were far from mastered, but with Amara’s help he had at least gained the ability to turn them on and off with a little concentration. Unfortunately he was starting to realize that it was his emotions that he really needed to get a grip on.
As they neared the protective barrier of their home, Rusty nodded to Martin’s comments about not letting waiting on the right words cause him to miss out on saying something. “Noted,” he said. And as Martin turned to head in, he lightly tapped his arm and then pointed out to the undergrowth. Whatever the thing was that was out there, it was getting closer.
And then he saw a tail, long and pointed. Before he could say anything whatever the creature was jumped, pouncing down very near to where they had released the Tribbles a few moments earlier. Tiny little shrieks filled the air and Rusty got a good look at the reptilian creature that was quickly gobbling up the little Tribbles whole. He winced.
“Well, I guess that makes sense as to why they don’t breed out of control in the wild now,” he said. But he felt very bad for the little guys. He kept the cuff in his palm, but suddenly just wanted to get back in behind the invisible wall.
Once they were in and the barrier put back in place he looked over at Martin. “Can I ask you a question,” he said. Once he felt like it was all right he went ahead and asked it. “What happened? I mean…that stuff you were texting me about. I’m just curious.” He figured if Martin didn’t want to talk about it he’d let him know.
Martin Krane - February 4, 2012 04:02 AM (GMT)
Martin was poked and he turned around to see what was worth getting his attention for, and when he saw it, he wish he hadn't. The dull pounce of the reptilian was enough to know the fate of the Tribbles were sealed, but this was the ecosystem, the food chain, and they weren't moving up anytime soon. "Such is the way of Savage Land." He commented, guiding Rusty back through the gate to lock it.
Once they started their walk back, Rusty finally asked the big question. Martin scoffed a chuckle and grinned at him, "Been eating at you, huh?" He teased.
"Well...if you're feeling dramatic, I guess you could call it my origin story, you know, like in those comics. What happened were the Purifiers. When that crazy reverend guy, Stryker, called the people of New York to arms against the Mutants, Mutant Town was one of the first places to get hit. Giant mobs took the streets, killing innocent mutants throughout the district. They lit fire to houses, lynched people, and beat them to death." Martin wasn't holding the details back, he never believed in beating around the bush.
"My twin brother, Tomas, and I were having dinner in the house our Mother left us. We heard the commotion outside and my brother went to check it out, when he didn't come back, I went outside..." Martin felt his throat form a lump, but he held back the welling tears in his eyes, hoping that not acting on them would hide them from Rusty, "They'd strung up him and three other mutants, tied them at the feet in an X on our lawn, then they started pouring gasoline on them...I walked out as the fire set them ablaze. All I remember are the screams...so loud but so dull, it's like there was blood in my ears, the pounding of my heart louder then anything else. I just...fell to my knees..."
By now, the story had carried them all the way to the Temple, and Martin stopped at the stairs leading to one of the entrances. He sat on one of the steps and refaced Rusty, perching his elbows on his knees.
"Then they came after me. They were just going to take advantage of a Mutant who'd given up, so they threw a noose around my neck and grabbed the gasoline...and I snapped. I remember stabbing the man who grabbed me first, I stabbed, then stabbed again, two rushed me, I shot them, another came at me with a bat, I stabbed him, and then shot exploding quills at the last." This part wasn't Martin choosing not to withhold detail, this was Martin not being able to not relive it when he spoke of it. The young mutant looked down, twiddling his thumbs a bit, then looking back to Rusty.
"I ran, went to X-Corps, and....woke up in a car taking me to the Mansion." Martin looked at Rusty closely, "I'll never understand why I feel guilty for killing those men...they were fathers, sons, brothers...and I took them away." His voice trailed off into a hush as he eyes caught the ground's canvas.
Rusty Collins - February 5, 2012 08:40 PM (GMT)
It probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Everyone had their own story. But as he listened to Martin start to explain some of his own ‘origins’, Rusty’s own youthfully naïve and limited perceptions of the world began to fade away just a little.
Expressionlessly he listened to the absolute horrors that Martin described. In his mind’s eye he pictured the home invasion, saw a child witnessing his parents being dragged away and burned alive. It was far more horrifying than he could ever have imagined. With compassion-filled eyes Rusty looked over at Martin and wondered how he held it together even just talking about it.
At the end he let a long period of silence fall between them. He wasn’t honestly sure what to say. It was a lot to share with someone, and he obviously felt safe enough to share it with him. With wide, blinking eyes, Rusty blew out a sigh and shook his head.
“Wow, that’s…” He didn’t know what to say exactly. “I don’t know what I’d do…”
Which was a lie. He knew what he would have done. The same thing he had done every time he had been faced with a conflict. He would have faced off with it and done what he’d needed to do. “That’s not true,” he said. “I…even just listening to what you just described to me. I can’t tell you how angry it makes me.” For a few seconds he just looked at Martin. “I would have burned them,” he admitted, more than a little chilled at how easy and true that statement was. “They might have been someone’s babies at one point…but that was the work of monsters. And monsters need to be put down.” He looked away, studying the temple. “How many people did you save by killing those men?”
There was no answer.