2743/No Strings On Me.

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No Strings On Me.
Date of Scene: 02 August 2020
Location: The Danger Room
Synopsis: Doug is working out in the Danger Room, Hope shows up, they have a conversation about current events.
Cast of Characters: Douglas Ramsey, Hope Summers

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    Danger Room in use: Cypher.
    The current landscape is a dystopic urban cityscape - rotting buildings, red twilight sky, cyberpunk skyscrapers glittering in the distance. Doug is currently dressed in his uniform, sans jacket, standing in the middle of a deserted road. "Okay, begin level five." He says, as a group of twisted, part-cybernetic sprawl gangers materialize out of thin air in front of him. They're armed with clubs, pipes, and knives.

Hope Summers has posed:
A whole new world...A whole new universe, really. And in true Summers fashion, on day Hope just...disappeared. She left a note to say she had things to figure out, but she didn't really leave any forwarding information. And on the up side, she's pretty self-sufficient.

So of course, once she made it back to the school the first place she checked was the Danger Room. It's where all the interesting things happen, after all.

Dropping her duffel bag on the floor in the control room, she leans forward to get a glimpse of what's going on in the program. "Wow, looks homey," she offers over the speakers. "You mind sharing?"

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    Doug murmurs, "Environment's everything. I don't know if I'm at your level, since this is one of my personal training modules, but sure, I'm game."

He takes a step backward, and then says, "I'll just wait for you to join in, then-- should I add more Sprawl Gangers?" He asks, his eyebrows going up. "They don't start packing guns until next level."
    He puts his arms over his head and laces his fingers together, before he stands up on his tip-toes and stretches. "I haven't really done combat sim training with a group in awhile - uwahhhhhh. Past a certain point I get tired of being reminded of my own fragility-"

Hope Summers has posed:
"You can add just a couple," Hope replies. "I don't mind helping you out if you're up for it." It only takes a minute before she's down in the room itself, cargo pants and an oversized t-shirt making her look more like one of the holograms than someone who's come to train.

"In your defense, you're not any more fragile than I am," she points out, stretching one arm across the front of her body, then the other. "Or Scott. Or Jean. Or...I mean, who're all pretty squishy. Maybe not Piotr, but most of us. There's a whole lot more to a fight than having metal skin."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I'm acutely aware that if I wind up on the front line of a fight something's gone wrong," Doug says, before he bounces on the balls of his feet, his boots crunching along the pavement. "Begin simulation."

The gangers come to life, and one comes at Doug with a pipe over his head - Doug drops low and sweeps the leg, knocking the hologram on its back, before he reaches out to grab the pipe from him. "But I've always gotten a disproportionate amount of 'Oh no, Dougie, you might get HURT!" He buries the pipe in the gut of another hologram. "You might get a PAPERCUT!" He slams it into the hologram's back.

Hope Summers has posed:
Hope quirks a brow, stepping forward to distract just one of the holograms as it rushes toward Doug. One hand snaps out to grab the man's shoulder and yank him back, the other twisting his arm back and one side. "I get it," she says, voice still conversational. "I mean." She pulls on the captured wrist, forcing the man to bend, then wraps an arm around his neck, holding tight.

"They //literally// sent me into the future where I spent almost my entire life with just Nathan whose entire purpose was to keep me alive, so. Yeah. I get the overprotected thing." Which is when she twists her grip and snaps the hologram's neck. Clearly Cable has different ways of dealing with those fears.

"But I mean, it's a team, right? How many of them can do what //you// do?"

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug grunts, and lashes out to kick the hologram Hope has pinned in the stomach with a snap-kick, burying it in his solar plexus and doubling him over.

"You know, there's an interesting paradox, everyone we encounter is a refugee from a bad future?" He says, "And it gets a little overwhelming, until you realize there are no refugees from the good futures because nobody has to leave. On your six." Doug says, pointing out another hologram coming for Hope, this one with a knife.

"Do you know what happened to me - in that future?" He asks, his eyebrows going up, as he turns in anticipation of the next attacker.

Hope Summers has posed:
"Why does everyone always ask that?" Hope steps to one side as the hologram rushes her, reaching out at the last moment to grab the hand with the knife and twist. She disarms him, but that's where she leaves it for now, letting Doug deal with disabling him.

"We didn't spend a lot of time together. You helped me find out about my mom. You seemed to have things together. You were a part of your team and they didn't seem to be trying to keep you out of anything," she offers. "So if that helps, there's a universe where they realize you can handle yourself."

She pauses, a faint smile quirking. "Also, you had all of your limbs, so that puts you ahead of some people."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
The disabling comes from an elbow shot from Doug's techno-organic arm, which is, apparently, loaded - he goes down and doesn't get up again.

Doug flexes his techno-organic arm, curling black and gold fingers. "Well it sounds like the me where you came from had it more together than I do!" He says, before he steps back, and then his hand slowly flows like liquid, twisting itself into something that looks like an elaborate flashlight.

He fires a bright flash at a group of the holographic gangers, and they stagger backward, blinded. "I admit I'm in a bit of a *mood*. But you seem like you're doing well!"

Hope Summers has posed:
"Yeah, sure, Totally together. We're all super normal and together." Hope tilts her head at the flash of light, quirking a brow. "That's new though. To me, at least."

While the attackers are blinded, she steps in to pick one off from the crowd, striking up at his chin with the heel of her hand then following up with an elbow strike to his throat.

"I'm all right. I just needed to...get my own feet under me, you know? Do some reconnaissance. Figure this place out outside of //this// place and the people I sort of know."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I lost my arm in Genosha." Doug says, "This grew back in its place. I'm still figuring out how to master it. So far, it hasn't eaten the rest of me, so I'm dealing with it."

He watches Hope pull a Major Kira on the hologram, and then says, "Six o-clock and nine o'clock," As two more begin to rush her. He doesn't step in yet.

"I can understand that - they're like the people you know but with little differences? Subtle distinctions that make everybody feel off? I imagine it's unsettling."

Hope Summers has posed:
"That's part of it," Hope nods, ducking down and kicking out at one attacker's knee as he moves past, sending him stumbling toward Doug. The other catches up to her, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind to lift her up.

"It's also-" Grimacing, she reaches back with both arms to rake her nails over his face. When his grip loosens, she twists enough to slam a knee into his gut and break free. "I've just never //not// had a mission before. My whole life was heading up to what happened before I ended up here."

Once she's free, she leans down to scoop up a pipe, knocking it across the man's head. "Now here I am without a target."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug puts his hands on his hips. "That's part of my problem, too. We like to pretend we weren't picked to become child soldiers - it's sort of a white elephant in the room. But *I* picked this. I'm aware of the stakes. But now I'm sort of casting about for - the ways in which I can be most useful."

He looks around, realizing all of the attackers are down. "Level complete. Hunh, that went fast." He wipes sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm.

"And you don't want to step outside of the chain of command, because Cable taught you to be a good soldier, and a good soldier works with her team." He says, exhaling. "I feel the same way. We all hang together, or we all hang separately. It's why I wish Magneto really had been dead. Between you and I."

Hope Summers has posed:
"There was no way that man was ever dead," Hope snorts softly. "He was one of the first people I really...//met// once the first crisis was over. In a medbay. And honestly, out of the people who were around at the time? I was probably more inclined to trust him than anyone else. He's a survivor."

She brushes her hands off on her hands, then gives herself a once-over to check for any missed injuries. "I can work alone. I've worked alone. I just...there are a lot of things I need to know here if I'm going to be useful to //these// teams. About the world. About me," she adds, grimacing. "My powers...aren't working like they used to."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"He needs to *cut the crap*." Doug says, "Because I can already feel it in the air, I can pick up on the whispers. He's going to try to start the Brotherhood again, pit us - meaning Mutants - against ourselves, and then proceed to seize on a bad situation and make it worse in order to capitalize on it and install himself as Imperator or whatever title he oh so graciously accepts from his followers. And then act confused and angry when it all falls apart around him."

Doug shakes his head, and says, "I have a lot of things I'm angry about and no good way to be angry." He glances over at Hope, and says, "Everybody's useful. If my job was carrying and stacking boxes, I'd be the best damn box-stacker there ever was. I appreciate and respect your commitment. They gave me plenty of outs... but I chose to be here. So why do I feel so damn lost?"

Hope Summers has posed:
Hope stuffs her hands into her pockets, watching him quietly. "Yeah," she sighs after a moment, weary. "I lived that one too."

Stepping forward, she reaches a hand for his shoulder. "We all feel lost, Doug. All the time. Some people are better at hiding it than others, but there's none of us that know exactly where we are and where we're going."

"Even the ones of us from the future are just confused about it," she adds, smirking slightly.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I can see the patterns unfolding, I can pull the strings. I know the right words - but controlling other people is wrong." Doug glances back at Hope. "Er. I'm sorry. Navel-gazing. How exactly are your powers malfunctioning? I'm not the expert Doctor McCoy is, but I tested pretty well in the hard sciences, and I'm good at interpreting information, so..." He shrugs his shoulders.

Hope Summers has posed:
Hope makes a face, letting her hand fall. "It's probably for the best. Maybe it's how it was meant to be." Shrugging, she ruffles a hand through her hair. "The thing is, I used to be able to do pretty much anything. If I was within...I don't know, a couple hundred yards of a mutant, I could pick up that power. And I could pick up all of them at once if I wanted to. Not just pick them up, but pick them up full strength, maximum potential."

She's quiet for a moment, taking a deep breath. "Of course, the way I understand it, that's where things went bad in Bishop's future, so. Maybe it's for the best."

Taking a step back, she raises both hands to her side with a shrug. "Now I get one. If I try to pick up another one it's like trying to hold water."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Well here."

Doug says, putting his hands on his hips. "Pick up mine. Sit and think about it for a bit, see if maybe it doesn't help you sort out the information a little bit better. But uh - before you do..." He looks around, "End program." The cityscape fades away. "Making sure you're not picking up on excess information would probably be a good idea. I have it on good authority that looking at the world through my eyes is a little overwhelming. I'm used to it."

Hope Summers has posed:
Hope snorts softly, though there's a note of humor in the sound. "One time, I managed to pick up on a power with X-ray vision. That was not a lot of fun."

There's no feeling when she picks up the power, nothing to indicate that anything has changed. But after a moment, her brow furrows and her head tilt as she turns a slow circle around the danger room.

"Huh. That's...different."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Oh, you mean like Trevor, the kid with all the eyes?" Doug says. "Nice kid, but I always feel like he's staring at me."

He crosses his arms, and then says, "I guess I can't really understand what it's like, because my powers manifested around when I was fifteen or so, and grew gradually as my brain developed and you're - kind of diving in there. But I imagine it's like feeling like a whole bunch of things kind of - click into place, right?"

Hope Summers has posed:
"Sort of?" Hope goes a little distant for a moment, sifting through the new information. "Honestly? It's...kind of like being in a fight. Like taking in way more information than you usually would at once, but also having all of it be crystal clear. Except without all of the training, and experience, and...life behind it."

She turns a look at Doug, arching a brow. "And you think this //isn't// dangerous?"

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug quirks his mouth, and practically radiates embarassment. "Shucks."

He puts his hand on his chin, and then says, "No, I know it is. But at the same time it's just... me. And I guess I always have felt like I got the booby prize because of how things started out. Anyway, enough about that. Use what I've got to help yourself. If you need advice, I'm not going anywhere. If I feel like I'm getting overwhelmed I start thinking about repeating data patterns. Colors, symbols, numbers, sounds."

Hope Summers has posed:
"Well, if you need someone to back you up on it..." Hope trails off, shrugging. "I'm happy to give an opinion on it. They're lucky you haven't seriously damaged something with this. You could, if you wanted to." She trails off again for a moment then shakes her head as if clearing it. "It's cool. I can turn it off. It won't last forever if I use it while I'm not around you, but luckily you're pretty easy to find," she says, smile flashing. "Thanks."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"...Yeah, well." Doug puts his hand over his eyes. "That's not me. It isn't what I believe in, or how I operate." Then he finger-guns at Hope. "No problem. I hope you can figure out what's going on with your powers. If you want to keep going, just turn on level six. In the meantime, I'm going to go ice my bruises, make a protein shake and do a little thinking myself."

Hope Summers has posed:
"I'll figure it out, live with it, or die with it," Hope shrugs. "Those are pretty much the only choices. Rest well," she says, raising a hand in salute. "And don't think about it too hard, Doug. You've got everything you need to be a part of the team on the ground if that's what you want."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"What I want-" Doug says, "Is to be as useful as I can be... while still doing the right thing." He stops at the doorway. "I'll, uh - mix you a shake, and leave it in the fridge. Don't push yourself too hard." He steps out, and the door hisses shut behind him. The cityscape comes back.