Chapter Two: You Work for Him
You arrived at 4250 Tremont St the next day only a small rolling suitcase in hand. Inside were your preciously whittled down belongings: several changes of clothes, your hygiene essentials, your laptop, and your wallet. You had given notice at work that you wouldn’t be a back for a least a month due to a ‘family emergency’. You had no idea what to expect from the mutant liberation organization. Were you to live with the Brotherhood or commute from home? Would you be traveling? Would Magneto be there to greet you?
The safe house was an old, dilapidated pre-war brownstone, complete with stoop and moldy smelling sitting room. In the sitting room you encountered several other mutants you remember from the church meeting, including the speedy Callisto and porcupine boy. Flame boy…err, Pyro was there giving out instructions.
“There’s bedrooms upstairs for you to get settled in. We ship out tomorrow.” He turned to you. “Oh, the boss wanted to see you. He’s in the back.” Pyro gestured behind him. “Just past the kitchen.”
You gulped. Your nerves rose in your stomach a little. Magneto wanted to see you? Why you?
You took your rolling suitcase and rolled it past Pyro down a narrow hallway with a low ceiling. You passed by a tiny little kitchen with aged, enamel-coated appliances that dated from the 1970s. The room behind the kitchen was a small rectangular one that once must have served as a dining room. Now it was an office of sorts. The windows were covered by thick privacy shades to hide the room’s activities from prying eyes. Lamps illuminated the room even during the day. There were several tables that serve as makeshift desks. They were covered by papers and maps. Several laptops ran at once, each running different programs.
Magneto sat behind one of the desks dressed in a dark green Oxford button down and khaki chinos. His hair appeared white as snow compared to the backdrop of his dark shirt. His demeanor seemed far less militant than the day you met him. He was using a laptop, typing and clicking, completely absorbed in his work.
If we wire funds through Switzerland to the ACLU we can use them to donate to Ned Lamont’s campaign. He is supposedly against mutant profiling. You read Magneto’s thoughts. Then we’ll have control of thirty-four senate seats. It would be thirty-five if Mystique hadn’t been captured.
You cleared your throat. “You wanted to see me?”
Magneto looked up from his work. For a second he appeared startled, as if he wasn’t expecting interruption. He recovered quickly and offered you a small smile.
“I was beginning to worry you’d changed your mind.” The words were meant kindly but they contained a subtle, veiled threat. You could read his mind and you knew just how eager Magneto was to secure your allegiance. He would have gone to great lengths to possess the services of a telepath.
“Have a seat.” A metal chair scraps across the floor and you sit down in it across the desk from him.
“Let me be frank, my dear. Your talents are quite exceptional and we are in dire need of a telepath here at the Brotherhood.”
You nod your head in understanding.
“The nature of your gift offers you many opportunities to learn rather sensitive information about our organization. I must inform you the consequences would be dire for you if you were to misuse that information.” Magneto said. In his mind you saw the image of various methods a powerful metal-wielding mutant might have to punish you.
“I want to help other mutants in any way I can. I would never do anything to hurt the Brotherhood.” You told him. You felt sure he would see the sincerity in your eyes.
“You say that now. But I must warn you mutant liberation is not an easy task. At times you may have to perform,” he paused, “difficult or questionable uses of your power for the greater good. I want you to be clear that we are not the National Mutant Coalition or some other paper-pushing lobbyist group. We are a military organization. Our methods are, at times, crude but effective. Do you understand?”
“I think so.”
“And would you still like to join?” You tried to read him, curious why he was offering you this choice again. His mind was somewhat blocked, but you were powerful enough to read the impression of dark, dangerous activities to come. Your heart fluttered in anticipation and nervousness. Yet you trusted him instinctively. Here was a leader who was not afraid to do what was necessary to help mutants. You would be proud to serve him.
“Good. We leave tomorrow for Washington. You will be traveling with me.” He waved his hand toward the door which opened in response to his magnetism. “You are dismissed.”
You didn’t know exactly what to expect when you joined the Brotherhood, but you hadn’t expected this.
Two days later, you found yourself in a Red Roof Inn hotel room with Callisto outside of Washington, DC. Pyro and Magneto each had separate rooms next door. You learned that Magneto refused to share a hotel room with Pyro after an incident in March. The young flame-throwing mutant had set off smoke alarms and caused the sprinkler system to shower Magneto and all his belongings. Ever since then Magneto shared his room with no one.
Magneto had chosen a low budget hotel like the Red Roof Inn because they accepted cash payments without ID and disregarded their occupants’ activities. Callisto’s efforts to locate a certain mutant for Magneto had not gone well. She couldn’t very well run around the entire country until she felt the mutant’s signature. So Magneto had asked you to be awake by 7AM for what he called “Plan B”.
By the time 7AM had arrived you were very ready to leave the room you shared with Callisto. The tattooed, speedy mutant was from the other side of the tracks than you, so to speak, and she hadn’t taken a liking to you.
“Look girl. You try to read my mind and I’ll run your precious little suitcase into the Potomac River. Understand?”
You had nodded and done your best not to bother the woman. That was until she had accused you of stealing all the free bathroom soaps last night.
“I saw them here when we came in. Don’t tell me you’re frontin’ me.” She had sped around you a few times to intimidate you and you began to wonder what she would do in response. “This is no way to treat a Brother mutant.”
There never were any bathroom soaps. I should go down to the front desk and ask for more. You put the thought in her head. It was easier than trying to argue the truth with her. Obviously she had some trust issues that were not your problem to deal with.
You had tried to get to know Pyro the night before so that you might make a friend amongst the Brotherhood. You watched Fear Factor in his hotel room with him. The mutant was friendly but had an annoying habit of flicking his Zippo lighter opened and closed constantly. It had taken you all of about 30 seconds to read his mind and find out he was gay. No surprise there. However, his deep admiration for Magneto made a lot more sense then. Pyro also thought the Brotherhood’s leader was rather handsome.
When 7AM had arrived you had woken up and used your telepathy to keep Callisto from hearing the sounds of your morning routine. Best not to disturb her anymore than you had to. Magneto had been waiting for you in his room, dressed in a grey suit and fedora with a black wool coat for warmth. He and you had caught a taxicab to the train station then and taken a train into the city.
“Where are we going?” You had asked him.
Once at the Pentagon, Magneto and you had joined a tour group to gain access inside the building.
“If any one asks you are my daughter and we are sight-seeing for a few days.” You would have preferred pretending to be his girlfriend, but the daughter idea made more sense.
“I can’t call you,” You lowered your voice, “Magneto in public. What should I call you?”
“My real name is Erik Lensherr. You may call me Erik.” Magneto smirked beneath his fedora. There was something about the man that made the lower half of your body feel warm and tickly from your stomach to your toes. Perhaps it was standing so close to his magnetic fields.
When passing through security, you had had to convince the guards that Magneto set off the metal detector because of a pacemaker. His magnetic fields never negated completely and he always set off detectors. After you manipulated their minds, they had let him pass.
In the middle of the tour, Magneto turned to you.
“Make sure no one notices us leave.” He had taken your arm then and led you away through doors marked ‘No Visitors Beyond This Point’. You had had to manipulate several peoples’ perceptions to keep from being caught. Making your way through the Pentagon until you had reached the Department of Defense offices was easy since you made everyone believe that the two of you were high ranking army officials.
When Magneto and you reached the DOD, he told you to read the receptionist’s mind in order to learn where the Secretary of Defense was currently. It turned out he was in a high level meeting with the President and the Secretary of Mutant Affairs.
“We are going to attend that meeting.” He said to you.
“Erik, I can’t get us in there. I would have to control over twenty minds at once. I’ve never done anything close to that.”
“You can and you will. I have confidence in you.” Erik’s eyes were surprisingly warm. He took great pleasure in watching you use your powers. You are like my old friend Charles, only unhampered by all his moral misgivings. You are a magnificent young woman.
“There will be security cameras too. I can’t fool them.”
“You can keep the security guards distracted.” He was right. You could do that. “Always remember you are a god among insects.”
“I’ll try.” It was impossible to refuse Erik when he spoke in such flattering terms. It felt very good to know someone had confidence in your abilities and respected you for your mutation rather than hating you for it.
It had been hard work to affect so many, but Magneto and you wandered in to the meeting as four-star army generals and took seats around the conference table. A blue mutant named Hank McCoy showed up late. He was the Secretary of Mutant Affairs. His mind was harder to manipulate but once he got distracted by the meeting’s topic you had no trouble controlling his perceptions and reading his thoughts.
“Mr. President.” Hank McCoy said. For a moment you are floored by the surrealness of being only feet away from the President of the United States. There’s an incredibly exciting feeling of danger that came with manipulating the minds of so many people at once in such a do or die situation. Your heart beat wildly in your chest and Erik rubbed your arm soothing away your nervousness.
“Have a seat, Hank. Homeland security was tracking Magneto.” The President said and handed Secretary McCoy a document.
Next to you, the real Magneto turned his head and smiled at you. You giggled quietly. It was extra work to block these actions from the minds of the other meeting attendees, but it was thoroughly worth it.
“We’ve had hits in Lisbon, Geneva, Montreal… NAVSAT lost him crossing the border but we did get a cancellation prize.” Another official said and motioned towards a monitor where video of an azure blue, lithe female mutant appeared. “We picked her up breaking into the FDA of all places.”
You read a range of emotions from love to disappointment to anger pass through Magneto.
“You know who she’s been imitating? Secretary Trask here.” The President said.
Good job Mystique. Erik thought beside you.
“Yes, sir. She can do that.” Secretary McCoy said.
“Not any more she can’t. We got her.” Secretary Trask smugly said.
“You think your prisons can hold her?” McCoy questioned him.
Not if we have anything to do about it. Magneto thought. You could tell he meant for you to hear to that.
“We have some new prisons, Hank. We’ll keep them mobile. Be a step ahead this time.” Trask continued.
Find out where she is being kept. You read Magneto’s mind and do as you are told. Secretary Trask is completely unguarded and easy to read. You learn Mystique’s mobile prison is currently in route to Eastern Oregon.
Trask turned towards the monitor and we see Mystique’s interrogation.
“Where is Magneto?” The interrogator asked. She did not answer.
I’m right in front of them and they haven’t a clue. Humans are an inferior species indeed. Magneto thought.
“Raven. Raven, I asked you a question.” The interrogator asked Mystique.
“I don’t answer to my slave name.”
“Raven Darkholme, that’s your real name, isn’t it? Or has he convinced you, you don’t have a family anymore?”
“My family tried to kill me you pathetic meat sack!”
“Ok, then Mystique Where is he?” The interrogator asked again as Mystique morphed into Magneto.
“In here with us.”
That’s a very cool mutation. You put the thought in Magneto’s brain so he could tell your reaction.
Yes, but not as useful as yours. You consider his opinion for a moment and agree with him. Mystique is my most valued Lieutenant. She is also endearingly kind to me. When she impersonates me she never makes me as wrinkled as I am.
“I don’t want to play games with you. I want answers.” The interrogator continued.
“You don’t want to play games with me?” Mystique, now as the interrogator, taunted.
“You are going to stop this. Tell me where is Magneto?” He demanded.
“You want to know where he is?” Mystique replied and the interrogator moved closer to hear her. With a swift movement she head butted him across the room. Deftly she kicked the away the chair and the guard behind her and jumped through her cuffed wrists to land on the table. She leaped down and used her thick hand cuffs to strangle the interrogator.
“Homo Sapien!” Mystique hissed out as though it was a curse. Trask shut off the monitor then.
“You know her capture will only provoke Magneto.” Secretary McCoy said, very astutely. “But having her does give us some diplomatic leverage.”
Very good McCoy. I underestimated you. Erik thought.
“On principle I can’t negotiate with these people.” The President said.
‘These people’? Magneto thought. How politically incorrect of you? Not that it matters. We have no interest in negotiating with you Mister President.
“I thought that is why you appointed me sir.” McCoy said.
It is a pity Mr. McCoy is so deluded, Magneto thought intending for you to read his mind.
“Yes it is.” The President said.
“But that’s not why you called me here.” McCoy said.
“No.” The President handed McCoy a thick manila file. “This is. It’s what she stole from the FDA.”
Now we are getting somewhere. Magneto thought. We need the information contained in that file. Make sure you read his thoughts. You do so and learn the source of the Cure and its current location in the research labs on Alcatraz Island.
“Dear Lord! Is it viable?” McCoy said.
“We believe it is.”
“You realize the level of impact this will have on the mutant community.”
“Yes, I do.” The President said. “That’s precisely why we need some of your diplomacy now.”
We are past the point of diplomacy. Mark my words the Cure is the first step towards waging war on mutantkind.
After that the meeting concluded and you and Magneto left non-conspicuously. Rejoining the tour group you exited the Pentagon. On your way back to the hotel, Erik turned to you, his blue grey eyes affectionate and sincere. He looked remarkably distinguished and urbane in his black wool coat.
“Very good work, my dear.” And he stroked your cheek tenderly with his long fingers.
That night the four Brotherhood members on this mission, including you, went out to Red Lobster. Magneto was in a generous vein considering the success of the mission to find out Mystique’s location, thanks in no small part to your telepathic abilities. Erik, as you have begun to call him, praised you highly, much to Pyro’s chagrin. Pyro and Callisto got into a heated debate about the various merits of several hip hop groups including Outkast and Callisto’s favorite Lil’ Kim. This left you and Erik to converse together.
You learned his favorite food was split Maine lobster tail. He convinced you to order the same and you were pleasantly surprised by the succulent tail meat. You ate in silence for a few minutes while Pyro and Callisto continued to debate (read: argue).
“You seem down, my dear. Is everything alright?” Erik asked a few minutes. You hadn’t realized you were frowning. You had been thinking.
“It’s nothing. I was just thinking is all.”
“Umm…” You are unsure what he is referring to. You read his mind to find out. “No. I’ve never really used my powers like this before but I can see why it’s necessary. Those government officials consider mutants a ‘problem’.”
“It’s unfortunate that homo sapiens are so inferior.” Erik took another bite of lobster and finished chewing it before he continued. “You should not let the opinions of the others affect you. You are a goddess among mortals. Mutants are the future. The world is evolving and soon humans will be the minority.” He continued to try and cheer you up.
“Yes, I know that. But being a telepath is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a mixed blessing. You know how you sometimes think unkind thoughts about others that you would never say aloud. Well a telepath hears all those. You can’t avoid it. People can be quite cruel when they think no one is listening.” Erik listened sympathetically and you continued.
“It’s hard to keep friends when you know what people really think about you. No one can ever keep a secret from you. I stopped dating because of it. Relationships are far too intense for a telepath.” You feel a bit of guilt to unload all your problems on Erik, but he seems to understand you.
“Yes. My friend Charles and I had some issues about that.” You read his mind to learn he had a love relationship with Charles. But even without telepathy it’s pretty obvious by the ways his eyes glaze over with nostalgia.
“A lot of people distrust you when you’re a telepath. They feel that you are always going to invade their privacy.” Erik notices you look at Callisto as you speak.
“Yes, it is an unfortunate reaction. However you do read my mind quite often. Without asking.” Erik pointed out.
I’m sorry. It’s just that… I find you intriguing. I’ll stop if you want. If it is possible for a thought voice to sound shy, yours does.
“No, no. It brings back some pleasant memories.” He said. You remind me of Charles and there are times when that is very welcome. For that I thank you.
Notes: Sadly, while trying to save money on a hotel room during my college search, my parents and I stayed at a run down Red Roof Inn in Fredicksburg, MD. A month later we learned the serial sniper had stayed at that same hotel only a week after us. Very sketchy. I recommend avoiding Red Roof Inns.
Magneto loses Mystique to the cure. An interesting conversation between You and Magneto occurs. Go to Chapter 3