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Moving On Together

Posted on Mon Mar 13th, 2023 @ 14:27 by Phoebe Hunter & Claire Cavendish & Jonathan Monroe & Reagan D'Angelo & Cameron Johnston & Donald Johnson & Otis Jackson

Chapter: Prologue: Dawn of Avalon
Location: Knight Locker Room
Timeline: Monday evening, September 28th, 1992
3119 words - 6.2 OF Standard Post Measure

So much had happened over the weekend that Phoebe had not had time to catch up with anyone especially with herself having been considering resignation after Claire had not had all the facts at the press conference. It was easy to fall on one’s sword for the defence of the team but Phoebe had not planned the after of it not being accepted. She still had to have the team meeting she had told everyone about but changed it from announcing her leaving to discussing the robot properly all together.

Phoebe had sent Claire on ahead from the loch discussion and rejection but she soon had to face everyone together and was surprised when she got to the locker that no one else was there yet.

“And I thought I was going to be late.” She whispered to herself looking around the space and running her hand over the locker and the words etched into it - Oracle. It was a stark reminder that they were all inexperienced and she needed to forged them into something more quickly. “Evening.” She called as she pulled her hand back hearing noise.

Otis wandered into the locker room a little unsure. This was his first meeting with the Knights, not counting the train station adventure, and he wasn't quite sure what to expect. Seeing Phoebe he smiled brightly. "So is this where I get one of those fancy uniforms that leave nothing to the imagination or am I expected to shield you all in jeans and high tops forever?"

"We don't really have uniforms, as such..." Jonathan replied. "Mostly Claire just lets us pick what we want to wear when we're out there. Though I did wonder if we should start wearing masks if there are giant robots hunting down mutants..."

"Though some of us like Dash and I could really use some R&D in that department, I think." Reagan added, coming in from the washroom area off the lockers, patting at her face with a towel. By the looks of her, she'd been working out, as per usual, but the shirt over a one piece bathing suit said swimming. Anyone on the team who'd known her long knew her own side effects after such an outing tended to lean toward being abnormally hot, like a full body fever that needed time to come down. So, when she needed to workout, a cool swim was easily the best option. When she finally took a seat, it came with a deep exhale and the gentle rolling of her right foot. Swimming was good for sprained ankles too, win-win for her. She settled the towel around her neck to start drying her hair. "Masks aren't a bad idea either if we're being watched so closely now."

"No responsibility taken for holes in fences if you steal my peripheral vision," came a voice from the floor, followed promptly by one of the many cushions currently absent from the couch lobbed in Reagan's direction. Cameron's recovery had been exacerbated by his over-abundant precaution in the midst of combat, something he'd have to review before recruiting several of the others to help enforce moderation next time he thought it was good to take two massive hits of Bridge's energy in such quick succession. She was right, at least, that some development around costuming and other support was becoming increasingly necessary. Stretched out on his back, somewhat out of sight, the speedster was still mitigating the friction burns all over his body, some of them in places that didn't warrant mentioning.

DJ walked in and sat down at the table, "I was expecting an adventure with the kids arriving, but that was a bit more than I expected. Claire, you weren't joking when you said things were lively around your school. Is this kind of thing normal around here?" He asked curiously as he was unsure what to expect moving forward.

Claire had come in only moments after Phoebe and had sat quietly in the corner of the room waiting for everyone to get there and start the conversation. Phoebe had been right in the need for this meeting and it had been long overdue. She had tried her best to avoid most of the faculty, even the ones she held dear, in the wake of the attack, the Bombing, the ranger's declaration, and the press conference. Although after that last one people had come more actively towards her. "Perhaps it would be good to have a look into uniforms, at least to make sure we're well protected." She didn't care if they had a uniform that was representative for the institute or anything, she just wanted her friends to be safe. "I'm sorry I took so long to call this meeting." She seemed a bit out of sorts from the past few days. "I'll get some budget freed up for that purpose." She then looked over to DJ, as she was mentally catching up to everything that had been said while she was a bit zoned out, "This is not status quo. And I'll do what I can to make sure it doesn't become that either. There's already a couple of students that are being pulled out due to the events."

Reagan took a cushion to the head, blindsided with a towel in the way. She was shocked at first, annoyed even, but finding the culprit melted that away into a covert little smirk. Despite the mood in the room, she found herself capable of that, so... silver linings. "Off the floor, you bum. Come sit." That was all the time she had for brevity though, eyes peering at Claire. Her expression melted again, brow lightly furrowing. Whether it was the state of the woman who was their matron in this endeavor, her demeanor and voice, or the news that she delivered about students leaving, she wouldn't tell. She simply turned her eyes to Phoebe then, looking for answers. Mentally, she made a note to talk to Claire later, when such things could be afforded.

Phoebe looked pained at the thought of some students missing due to the events of Friday. It was out of their control but actions had consequences for them and for the greater world. The United Kingdom had not really had any major shift but now it was coming no matter what. The red head moved around the table and passed out pencils and pieces of paper. “Uniforms. I want to know what material, quirks and anything else you need to make it work for you.” Phoebe had a way to get what they needed if she called in major favours as they were not able to do it here but she knew people who could. “I have connections.” It was the first time she had revealed that she might be something more than she looked.

Otis accepted the paper and pencil but kept his attention on Claire who looked, tired, not that he could blame her. He really didn't care what kind of uniforms the team received, his only request would be one that didn't chafe and it wasn't exactly going to take him long to scribble that down. The drama teacher was used to being in costume and rather enjoyed it. One could say, for most of his life he had worn one costume or another, but this time it felt appropriate. "So what's the game plan?" He asked bluntly, never one to beat around the bush. "How do we know those sentinels won't be coming for us in the middle of the night?"

"We don't. Which is why we've been increasing security." Claire glanced over at Reagan who had offered her experience and resources in the matter. "Though, from all the information I can gather at this time it seems like multiple incursions were reported across the globe. In the United States they're connecting it to the private organisation registering mutants." She shook her head a bit, "they don't operate here and the only system considered here was shot down by the government in the 70's. Let's just hope this, and the Rangers, don't open those old wounds." She really didn't want to know what people like her father were planning in the wake of the attack from the Rangers.

Reagan exchanged a brief, knowing glance with Claire as she answered Otis' question, before her eyes turned to Phoebe. "On the matter of the uniforms... jokes aside, we really could use something substantial, both of us. Maybe more as well. Jonathan could use heat resistance, Cameron needs... extreme friction resistance. And I generate a lot of heat myself, though it's more I need cooling... maybe some form of radiating weave. Suppose we can talk details at some point?"

It had taken the entire time for Cameron to comply and haul himself up off the floor to plonk down next to Reagan. "I wouldn't need anything if you'd let me fight naked." It was a typical deflection and those in the room who knew him best understood the mutant's difficulty with asking for help, or even admitting to the need for it. But it was harder to deny now, having spent a very visible recovery period being decidedly not-okay.

Otis unknowingly stared at the speed mutant and couldn't help wondering exactly what that would look like. He remembered how it felt to be carried by Cameron in the battle at the train station and a bout of nausea threatened to overpower him. He swallowed hard and turned his focus back to the meeting. "I like a good costume as much as the next gay guy-" yep work that into the conversation, just in case anyone was curious - "but surely we have more pressing matters? Like why was this bot after that one kid and not all of us?"

“We do why I asked for it all to be wrote down on the piece of paper I handed out.” Phoebe said leaning against a locker behind them all relieved that someone was on the correct wave length. She put the paper and pencils left to the side to fill in her own requirements later and to think on a weapon. “I know people. I can get what we need but that is the least of our concern right now. Otis is correct.” She assured glancing to Claire as the conversation turned to the robot instead of the Sherwood Rangers which was her area of conversation.

"It was after Oliver," Jonathan said. "We all heard the way it spoke. I'm guessing if it was there to cull a bunch of us, we wouldn't be standing here right now."

Claire shook her head, "The truth is we don't know. But it's clear that it bit off a lot more than it could chew. Had we not reached out to Oliver over the summer he would've been home alone, most likely, and his mother probably wouldn't even have missed him for the first week." It was harsh but it was the truth. "Perhaps it was targeting exactly that in Oliver, because other than some flyer campaigns to save the bees the kid hasn't been on anyone's radar." Her biggest fear wasn't why it didn't go after them, or someone in the institute directly, her biggest fear was that this was just a test run. To see how effective these Sentinels would be at apprehending Mutants. Beating it in the fashion that they did perhaps was one of the worst possible outcomes because now they knew what they had already feared for so long. Mutants are dangerous. They will face your military tech and beat it handily. Oh and also, now that you've pissed them off they're starting to bomb your clubhouses.

“What do we know about Oliver? You said his mother might not have known for weeks? Bad home life?” Phoebe wondered softly looking at her own piece of paper and she wrote down what she needed to move with ease, some protection but mostly she needed a weapon.

"Oliver came to us through social services." Claire didn't really like elaborating too much on that because technically it wasn't the proper way to handle these situations. But it was the way that had been most effective. Putting mutants, sometimes dangerous and unstable ones, in foster homes had caused some issues in the past. The press ate those up, and it was putting pressure on social services to address it. In most cases that meant mutant teenagers were placed in secure facilities, normally reserved for juvenile delinquents. Not the best situation for kids like Oliver. "His mother is trying to work on her own recovery."

“So he is in the system and known.” That did not bode well for the theories that were going through her head. “That creates some interesting theories.” Phoebe mused tapping her pencil against her finger thoughtfully.

"You don't think... my program at Guardian was compromised? I'll have to arrange a trip to inspect it myself, when we have some time." Reagan found herself talking toward Claire primarily, at first, before it trailed in to more of a monologue to herself, eyes drifting into the distance while she considered. "If so, I might have to shut it down. GWENN will have to be enough. Right? Do we tighten recruitment entirely? Or is that them winning if we leave those kids out there in a world with these things in it?"

Claire shrugged, then shook her head, "Oliver wasn't part of that, so from this information there's no way to tell. But also no reason to think so." The purple woman that was supposed to be in 'control' of all of this found her frozen in place. She wanted to step up towards Reagan and put an arm around her, slow her down a bit. Focus her back on the conversation at hand. But she also knew that it would've seemed unprofessional. Not proper. And she had been taught from a very young age that one should never do things that would make one seem improper. "Avalon is here for the weak and weary. We stand by that promise and I do not intend to lock ourselves behind our iron gates and stone walls. GWENN will most certainly still be able to help, but our connection to the people on the ground is invaluable." She also knew Reagan hadn't been quite as open as some of them about her mutant status. "What that does mean, unfortunately, is that I can no longer guarantee the discretion that I promised each and every one of you when you joined this Institute." She managed to suppress a cough against the lump forming in her throat, "As such I will not hold it against you if you wish to depart. Avalon will continue to pay your regular wage as you seek out other gainful employment." She looked around the room to make sure that offer settled in. A clean break. No fear of losing income. It was the least she could do for these people that had put their lives on the line for her dreams and vision. "No strings attached. No hard feelings."

Cameron, for his part, was struggling to supress the urge to knock both of their heads together. Too often caught as the meat in their fretful sandwich, he'd long ago determined that the best way to nudge both Claire and Reagan back into an orbit that didn't involve layers upon layers of self-imposed responsibility was to aim directly at the source of the insecurity. "Avalon wasn't the target here, Claire." The voice from the couch was tired and lacking its usual mischief, which was usually a sign that hell had ice forming. "Whoever this is, they took advantage of an easily publicised victim but it wasn't a declaration of war on the Institute; they're after mutants. Staying off the radar is exactly what they're trying to render impossible and I, for one, would hate for anyone here to step away from the support they have to attempt to go this alone." It was a direct appeal to the woman sitting beside him and very few in the room would have mistaken it as anything else, but Cameron's sentiments were genuine and would have applied to any who thought they stood a chance of staying hidden and safe for much longer.

Reagan eyed Cameron briefly, leaning against his arm and dropping her cheek against his shoulder in a quick little gesture of affection before it was back to straight-backed and proper, hand resuming drying some of her hair from her swim. "Not going anywhere. I'd never forgive myself for leaving the children, the team. Not as if I'll have much choice once all the details leak and my little secret identity buffer is gone anyhow. I'll have to choose, and I choose Avalon." More could have been said, but that all felt a tad more personal than she was willing to spill quite then. Cameron knew more, Claire did too. But she hadn't really afflicted many of the others with her personal details, so she'd reserve that for those who might ask later, if it was important for them to know.

"Those kids need our protection," Jonathan agreed. "I can't imagine having to go what Oliver went through, and without us I dread to think what he would be going through right now." He looked over at Claire. "You know where I stand. Beside you, as always."

Phoebe shrugged. She had tried to fall on her sword earlier for another reason so it was unlikely she was going to back down now but it seemed Claire needed her confirmation. “London is still a mad house and why I came here. My reasons for coming here have not changed.” She declared quietly. It was an easy thing for her to think on.

Otis pushed away from the table, the noise echoing loudly off the walls so all eyes turned to him. Without saying a word he headed towards the door but stopped a few feet in front of it, turning back to face the group. "Oh, I'm not jumping ship," his voice was serious as he looked at each of them in turn. "I'm just going back to do my job, the one I came here to do, 'cause those kids," he pointed at the ceiling, "need us and I'm not willing to give up at the first sign of trouble." He turned to look at Phoebe, a dark look on his face. "Make the uniforms badass and durable. I'm in it for the long run."


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