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Slippery Slope

Posted on Tue May 14th, 2024 @ 14:49 by Claire Cavendish & Kaylee Ashton BSc

Chapter: Winter's Crest Festival
Location: The Loch outside Avalon Institute
Timeline: Wednesday, 16th of December, 1992
1801 words - 3.6 OF Standard Post Measure

"Are you sure this is safe?" Kristopher Read, the BBC Scotland journalist, clutching his microphone, didn't seem very thrilled by the idea that the producer wanted him to stand at least some ways onto the ice as they filmed this segment. He kept looking around and down, making sure there were no cracks forming. He then looked over at the woman that he had been told was responsible for creating the sheet of ice, "How thick is this?"

“I’ve made sure that the ice is at least 60cm thick. Though I will be nearby whenever there are children using the rink just to make sure” Kaylee explained as she pushed off from the perimeter fence of the ice rink and scatted around a little to show it was indeed safe. While she would’ve like to show off a little by making her own skates out of ice on her own feet, she figure it would make the filming crew feel a little more safe around her if she used a pair of metal skates instead. “I can assure you, this rink is as safe as any other out there. The barrier I have place around the edge of the rink is also at lease 20cm thick. That way if someone were to run into it, it shouldn’t brake easily”

"We should've brought you skates." The producer behind the camera smiled a bit as the journalist stood awkwardly on the ice trying to keep his balance. "A bit over there. So we can get the castle on the background." She pointed him a bit to the side, and the cameraman was coaxed to the other side. "When we start filming, you skate around him twice as he delivers his line, then he'll ask you a couple of questions, is that okay with you Miss Ashton?"

Kaylee nodded in response, “do you want me to circle him or just skate around behind him in and out of the shot?” She asked for a bit of clarification. Either option was easy enough for her to do.

"Good point, behind him please, figure eights or something?" The producer didn't really know what the skills were for the teacher that controlled the ice. He then looked at the cameraman and the sound guy before giving a nod, "Everybody ready?"

Giving the producer a nod, Kaylee pushed off onto the ice and began skating around the ice rink. After a few wide circles, she did her best to place herself behind the presenter and in line with the camera.

Starting with a few figure eights, Kaylee would occasionally transition into a few gentle circles before returning to the figure eights, throwing in the occasional flourish.

"We're standing on the Loch that surrounds the Avalon Institute and it's clear that they don't take half measures to their festival. Not leaving it up to the elements one of the teachers has focused her abilities towards creating an ice rink of the most perfectly smooth surface you've ever seen." He turned to indicate to Kaylee she could finish the routine and come to a stand still next to him in order for him to ask her a couple of questions.

Seeing the producer give his signal, Kaylee skated over towards them, stopping gracefully just under a meter swat from them. “Hello” she said in the most polite voice she could muster.

"Miss Ashton, as I understand it you used your abilities to create the very ice we're standing on. That's an amazing feat. When did you realise you could so fundamentally change the environment with only your force of will?" The journalist asked before moving the microphone in her direction to allow for an answer.

Pausing to think for a moment, Kaylee wanted to make as good a first impression as she could, especially as this broadcast would probably be used by their enemies for one reason or another, "My abilities started to assert themselves in my mid to late teen years. At first it was quite difficult to learn to control them instead of freezing everything I touched, but with the encouragement of my parents and people like the teachers here at the institute, I slowly but surely found my way."

"Your family name and fortune must've helped tremendously in finding ones way. Do you feel an institute like Avalon isn't inherently aristocratic? Cutting off impressionable mutant youngsters from every day life? Alienating them in a way from your Fred Bloggs in the streets?"

Giving it a moment of thought, Kaylee shook her head, “no I don’t think so. We’re not to dissimilar to any other boarding school out there and we have a fairly good relationship with the nearby town which our students are free to travel to of a weekend or during their holiday periods.”

"Boarding schools have been accused of reinforcing the aristocracy and aggravating class divides. Why don't your students attend regular public schools, like their age peers?" The fact that she called it a boarding school was something that the journalist more than happily latched on to.

“I believe that the regular public schools aren’t equipped to properly teach our students the way the Avalon Institute is. While we still teach the standard subjects from maths and English to chemistry and physics, it is the job of our teachers to help educate out students in the appropriate use of their gifts so they can grow up to be productive members of society. And besides, if they did attend public school, with the rise of some anti-mutant organisations out there, not only would the student in question be in danger but others at the school including teachers and children would be put in danger from these extremist groups.” She said before thinking she should try to rephrase a few things.

“Of course, while I’m sure these extremist groups are the minority among the general public, we have already seen in America what this kind of harm this sort of ‘us and them’ ideology can do to not only Mutants but also your Fred Bloggs of the world as well. Here at the institute we try our best to instill a sense of compassion and understanding into our students.”

"You're a physics teacher, how does that play into it?" He was obviously trying to bait something, some sort of soundbite that would do well on the promos.

Kaylee gave a slight grin before answering. This question played into her wheelhouse a little more then the interviewer might have indented, "My training and understanding of the field of physics allow myself as well as the other teachers here at the Institute to understand the possible effects of our students abilities of our students. This helps us develop methods to help our students learn to control their abilities."

"So it's all about understanding then?" The journalist pushed a bit.

“Not entirely, but understanding is a big step in any search for answers” Kaylee replied, looking to the microphone in the reporters hand, “for example, you understand how that microphone works correct?”

Kris took a look at the boom mic that the physics teacher pointed out, "I mean, Bill knows much better, but yes, sure."

“Well in a nutshell, our voices are recorded by that microphone using a series of electrical impulses. We discovered how to do this through several scientific fields, and it is through a similar process that we try to understand both our own abilities as well as those of the Students”

"A big part of the concern that us normals have is all of the abilities that seem to infringe on our personal liberties and free will. How do you ensure the ethical boundaries of such experimentation, especially when it comes to kids that read the minds of their friends, family, neighbours or even the Prime Minister?" The angle of getting something out of her regarding experimentation was too good to pass up.

“Here we enforce the idea that a person’s mind and body are like their own personal room with the door closed, simply barging in is not only impolite but also completely against the rules of the institute” Kaylee explained, hoping that her keeping the explanation in basic terms would help get her point across, “in that sense, those students are told that to read someone’s mind is as much an invasion of privacy as braking into someone’s house or dorm room and as such is treated just as seriously and punished as severely”

"Even then, they'd have had training of those skills, wha-..."

Claire gave a small cough as an indication that this line of questioning was no longer appreciated. For one this particular teacher had very little to do with that part of the curriculum, outside of House duties, and secondly this was supposedly a report on the festival, the institute, and their outreach to the community.

"My apologies." Kris seemed to take a moment to reassert himself and picked up right where the conversation was left off. "Let's hope no punishments are required during the upcoming festival, what is it about opening the institute up like this that has you most excited?"

Pausing for a moment, Kaylee glanced over at Claire before returning to the presenter. Was this news crew anti-mutant? Were they only here to grab negative sound bites and ruin the Institutes reputation? Clearing her throat, Kaylee tried to put a friendly smile back onto her face, "I am hoping that opening the Institute can help dispel some of the more negative rumours about those of us with gifts and open up pathways for all of us to learn to accept one another as brothers and sisters again"

The journalist turned to face the camera, "and isn't that just what the spirit of Christmas is all about?" He took a moment to keep eye contact with the camera before his posture visible shifted to a more relaxed one. "Thank you miss Ashton." With that he was slowly shuffling towards the edge of the ice rink.

Claire smiled at Kaylee and gave her a wink, "great work." she complimented her in a stage whisper.

Giving a sigh, Kaylee gave Claire an exhausted look, “can you do the talking from now on? Last thing I need is for my awkwardness to be broadcast to the world”

"For some things the awkwardness is much more valuable than my rehearsed answers." Claire she turned to rejoin the camera crew as they were headed back towards the institute. "There's hot cocoa inside!" She called back over her shoulder before they got out of earshot.

Giving a sigh of relief, Kaylee turned around and headed back onto the ice rink. She wanted to clear her head and some skating felt like the right idea.


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