5287/My teacher is an Alien

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My teacher is an Alien
Date of Scene: 20 February 2021
Location: Faculty Lounge
Synopsis: Scott is relaxing (aledgly), Jean is working (alegedly) and the two have a conversation about stuff other people are doing.
Cast of Characters: Scott Summers, Jean Grey

Scott Summers has posed:
Scott is at the end of a long week, having picked up several extra classes. Seated in one of the overstuffed chairs in the Staff Lounge, there's a small cup of cafe from the espresso machine on the table. The tiny little cup turns with the revolution of his fingers around the rim. Music plays in the background, mostly 80s classics. Right now it's Land of Confusion by Gensis.

With each turn of his cup, his index finger taps to the beat, but his attention is on the windowed glass leading out onto the balcony. Staring at the red hued snow spreading out across the acreage, white to most, his glasses have tainted it a bloody color right up to the edge of the frozen lake.

He's wearing brown slacks, dress socks, and an untucked button up shirt with a t-shirt visible beneath. A little shadowy stubble on his face, tossled hair, about as dressed down as Scott ever gets.

Jean Grey has posed:
If there's anything predictable about Jean's schedule around the school, it's that it's consistently inconsistent. Administrating a school means a process of putting out small fires, whether logistic or budgetary issues, parental interference, or the biggest category, student issues: which themselves might break down into behavioral, academic or mutant-related troubles. And the young woman is ultimately still pretty new to all of it, having only taken over day-to-day business from Charles in the last year.

So there's nothing to read into when she comes sweeping into the room, checks a couple tables to find a (presumably misplaced) folder, and then starts back toward the exit without seeming to notice that anyone else is there.

Well, almost.

She makes it about half-way, looping around the table and starting back toward the door before her senses catch up with her. It could be almost any of them, from a spotting a visual cue like Scott's unusually casual attire, to catching the music or (literally) smelling the coffee. Or maybe something a little more esoteric, like a stray thought. But either way, she catches on before leaving him to feel TOO horribly overlooked, stopping short and turning back. Her look is typically librarian-ish with a long dark skirt and olive turtleneck. "Oh! I almost didn't see you there." There's a beat's worth of pause, and she wonders: "Long week, too?" If Scott's trying to relax, he must really need it! "I like the shirt."

Scott Summers has posed:
Relaxing is a misnomer. It is a well documented fact that Scott doesn't ever relax, even when he's relaxing. His brain is always working, not unlike the cogs of a clock, or the cellphone hooked up to the speaker systems playing the music he's now listening to. The affairs which he's taken on himself, while not nearly as heavy as Jean's given her newly minted position as Head Mistress, are still heavy enough.

And he weathers that with the usual stoicism for which he is known.

As if nothing at all could ever weigh him down. A lucid reality which only a decided small number of individuals are the wiser. IS he a robot? No, he's not, but try telling that to the students.

Suffice to say he does take notice of Jean's near whirlwind departure, but doesn't raise his voice to stop her because he know she's a busy woman. Instead he sips his cafe. One of few comforts, and taps his finger against the rim to the beat of the music, one of the other few comforts.

At her greeting, he smiles tightly. Not an extension of how genuine the expression is, so much as... he's Scott. "It has been, yes." Confirmation spoken quietly. "Thank you..." A glance down at his shirt, tugging the t-shirt out to see which band it's from, Joan Jett and the Black Hearts. "How're you doing?" Tapping his finger against the screen to turn the music down to a background volumn.

Jean Grey has posed:
Whatever Jean is on her way to do, it seems it's not so time-critical that she can't spare a moment. In fact, now that she's found some company in the lounge, it seems she's happy to use the social opportunity as an excuse to take a brief 'pause' in the middle of whatever errand she was on. "Oh, alright," she answers initially, if vaguely, but more significantly she walks back the short way toward the table and flops herself onto the couch on the other side of it. Her impact is definitely of someone taking a little weight off. Nevermind that she can fly.

For a moment, she sits there, looking like she's not sure where to start, or if there's any point to getting into it- so much of it is trouble of the 'death by a thousand cuts' variety: little problems that don't amount to much themselves, but can definitely add up as they stack up on her desk. But after a momentary pause, she does focus in on a more obvious situation: "I'm still worried about all the fall out from the Capitol riots, the students that were involved with it, all of that. It's a lot, for some of them to deal with."

Having gotten that major worry of her chest, she leans back into the cushions behind her, leaving the folder on the table. "It's hard. You want to be hands on, but it's impossible to handle every situation, with every student, the way you know they need."

Scott Summers has posed:
Scott weathers the vague reply with a nod and a sip of his cafe, content just to have the company, if he is content at all. Obviously, Jean could probe, but she's one of few who wouldn't really have to. She knows him as well as anyone at the school possibly could. His tongue runs along the back of his teeth, leaning forward with a quiet complaint of his chair to set the empty cup down on the coffee table in front of them. Letting her lead the way as she sees fit.

He knows there's more, of course.

And then she opens up the can to reveal the sardines.

Salty and disgusting as those problems become when packed in there so tight.

Again he nods, settling back in his chair with a half turn to face Jean fully, "I read about it... Jubilee and Noriko, right?" They all know about the riots, what that could mean for them as mutants, and how this new batch of students might respond. "Even the Professor didn't try to handle everything alone. It's impractical from a strategic stand point to think any one of us has enough answers to ace the test of life without a study session." Smirking at his own analogy, hand pulling across his stubbled jaw. Definitely need to shave. It's added to his check list for the evening.

"Anything I can do to help?"

Jean Grey has posed:
"And Paige, but you were there to listen to her report on the whole thing," Jean adds. There were a few other mutants, including some hitherto unknown to the school, but her focus is clearly on the student body. "But she seems like she's handling it better. It's, right, Noriko and Jubilation that I'm worried about," she admits. "I've scheduled them all for some counseling sessions but I don't know that it's really getting through." Whether that means them missing the sessions or just not getting anything out of them isn't clear, but it's ultimately not really the main problem.

"I know, I know," she adds, given the lecture about going it alone. "It's just that, I'm not sure what would help, at this point. We've talked about doing more combat training for them and some of the older students, the ones who are close to graduating or who have enough real-life experience that there's no sense keeping them back." And yet saying it, she doesn't seem convinced. "But I don't know if that's really helping, or if it's not making this worse, pushing them into things they're not ready for, and maybe never will be. That's what makes us different, right? We're not here to train soldiers, we're here to educate."

There's an implicit contrast there, although she doesn't give it -- him, perhaps -- a name.

Instead, she just spreads her hands. "So I don't know what's the best way to handle it. And that's just item number on on the list of problems."

Scott Summers has posed:
As Jean explains the situation, Scott nods at specific parts. He'd given his briefing, not terribly long ago, on Paige. Again rubbing his fingers along the curve of his jaw as she concludes that this is just the tip of her responsibility iceburg. For a moment, he's just quiet. Which isn't unusual, since he's almost always a man of few words... at least until he's got something worth saying. Thinking through how to vocalize his thoughts to a woman who could just read them..

When he removes his glasses, his eyes are closed beneath, gently rubbing the end of his shirt around either side of the ruby quartz lense to clear off a smudge before replacing them on his face. "It's a balancing act. We're not training soldier, no, but we do have to teach them that their abilities can be used as weapons." A fact, "Jubilee is a prime example. Had she known the full extent of what her powers /might/ be capable of, would she have reacted differently in a situation where those powers might manifest to dangerous levels? And what now?" He wonders, abstract thinking, "Now that she is aware... not just of what she can do, but that we didn't teach her she could do it."

He raises a brow and cants his head, "... I'm not accusing. I'm using her situation as an example. Jubilee is a smart girl, if impulsive, she'll know we didn't hold information back from her, but she's a good example of what I mean. Because not every student we have here is level headed and plucky. Some of them come from dangerous situations and up bringings."

This leads to her point, if indirectly, "So... you're right. We're not training soldiers. We're in the position of teaching kids, who by their meer existance could become weapons through no overt intention, how to react with level head and forethought. If you think we should suspend combat training, I'll support you, but.."

He motions forward, towards the window, "The world out there isn't black and white anymore."

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean knows Scott well enough to give him time to think through the whole thing, and certainly not to jump to any offense at the thoroughness of his analysis. Breaking down a situation, a problem, and examining it from every side is no doubt one of his greater strengths, and perhaps his hallmark as 'team planner.' So she only nods to concede his points on the situation. "She feels a lot of guilt about it, I think, even if she was just defending her friend. It was instinctive, more than conscious, although anger and fear, we know those can be... Well, I suppose if I was going to put it 'professionally,' in less pseudo science-y terms, I'd say that psychological stressors and the natural fight-or-flight instincts that come with them can help activate new neural pathways."

She cocks her head and smile, amused by her own loquaciousness, and then relents to the basic version: "We're all changed by what we experience, and adapability means the ability to push back harder when pushed."

"Which is why- I'm not sure if a lack of training ahead of time is a fault, since we can't always predict and anticipate the development of abilities, or put power-growth on a class schedule or time-table. She'd have been out of her depth before, and sometimes it takes something like this." Here, Jean can only give a bit of a troubled sigh, before shaking her head. "No, of course I don't want to stop it. She really seems to ned it. And I would like to see her and some others get some more opportunities in the Danger Room and see how they handle it. Evaluate."

Finally, the real worry: "I'm more concerned about the psychological impact of all of this, and the things training -won't- fix."

Scott Summers has posed:
On that, Scott cannot disagree. Not that he would have anyways, but in this case he nods along with Jean's own observations of the situation. Two sides of a single observation make clearer the picture. The phantom of a grin at her psychological diagnosis coming to bare, though.

That's really where their strengths lie. Scott the pragmatist viewing the world from a strategic stoicism and Jean looking after the hearts and minds. He inclines his head and nods, "There are a number of scenarios we could have run for her that may have unlocked whatever potential remained latent, but you're right that it was a perfect storm that forced their development in this situation. For most of these kids, it's the first time they've ever faced anything like real adversity." Not ALL Of them, of course.

Again nodding when she suggests running them through more danger room scenarios, "I had Paige and Roberto run through the Broken Heart scenario we wrote." A rather simple scenario dealing with the Sentinels they had to deal with just before Loki's attack on New York. "And I had them evaluate each other. I think that putting more agency in their hands, at least in regards to their development, might prove beneficial for some of the more independent students."

As she said, though. There are always those situations that cannot be simulated. Feelings and emotions are hard to duplicate outside of live engagements, no matter how real the Hard light projections. "They're going to get a crash course in reality if these riots continue." That, too, is a fact.

Jean Grey has posed:
At last, there's a point of disagreement, or of Jean putting her foot down: "I'm all for training. 'Randomly traumatizing the student body in the hopes it will trigger powerful stres-responses,' is probably where I draw the line," She's firm, if not accusing, given that very theoretical 'may have' scenario. "But it's all academic anyway. Every student is going to be different, develop and react differently. There's no textbook to work from, no basic cirriculum. The body of research is just so frustratingly small, still- and quite a bit of that has come from Charles or Moira, or now Hank." Which is to say, much of it is first-hand and often even about /them/ personally, implying certain biases and a lack of scholarly distance, or generalizability.

Still, as the basic sort of training goes, they still seem in agreement. "You've always been better with those things, so by all means, run them through whatever sorts of scenarios you think will help. A good variety is probably the best, I guess? We're not training them for specific missions, not at this age anyway. Not training them to do one particular thing, so much as to be ready, come what may." Which no doubt echoes the difficulties in the world he mentions, and whatever else might come up.

And after all of that, she heaves a very put-upon sigh. "So apart from dumping all of that on you, how was -your- week?"

Scott Summers has posed:
"In my defense." Scott says without a shread of defensiveness to his tone, which makes it sound almost condescending, though it is unlikley he meant for it to, "I wouldn't ever put students through stress scenarios specifically to trigger stress responses. I'm a lot of things, but I think we both know I'm not sadistic." Behind his glasses, his eyes are dark hued and hard to define, but still quite clear that he's looking over at her at the end of the couch. ".. but then that's all those scenarios really are. I was speaking hypothetically of some program that may or may not exist." Training is, a form of stress response, no matter what form it takes.

She's right though. That would be sadistic, no matter the reasoning, and Scott doesn't walk that party line.

He does nod at the bit about continuing his exercises with groups of students. "Mostly I run them through scenarios we have, ourselves, already run through. The ones written about our previous missions. A couple of no win scenarios to test their reaction to inevitable loss." Never to the point of, or with the intentions to, degrade them for failure. So much as gauge their response to it. It's a very important lesson that's hard to teach without application.

The quesiton, that makes him chuckle dryly. "Paige came to me with information regarding a masacre at an old mortuary up state. She, Illyana, and I went up there where Cable and Quentin, apparently, went on a killing spree." No denying the frown, eyes cast down upon his legs, with his brow curling upwards. "There was a great deal of exerimental data inside. Apparently someone is extracting mutant abilities for the purpose of giving them to others. Paige is still going through all the research data we were able to collect from a hard drive, but she mentioned a need to do DNA testing for exact match for the genetic manipulation."

Which explains why Cable would go happy killing, but speaks ... of darker things. Things Scott rarely talks about. A /person/ Scott rarely talks about. Glancing up at Jean with his shoulders rolled back, "Sounds a great deal like Sinister."

Jean Grey has posed:
"I know you're looking out for their best." She says this first not to defuse any sense of condemnation, but rather, because she believes it's true. If there's anyone Jean can trust to help her share the workload of the school, it's those of them who went through it together when the whole thing was new, that first student class that also just happens to make up a group of some of her closest friends. And, because it's just them, she can even admit: "I know the harsher stuff sometimes has it's place. I've run-" She pauses, apparently considering getting into more detail on a particular situation, but veers off. "But the kids are going to get a lot of harshness in the real world. We can be offer something other than more chaos. Teach smart, you know?" Cuz they're smart people!

As for terror scenarios? The degree that they spend their free time discussing teaching philosophy is probably a scary reminder of them becoming boring adults! (Or boring-er?!)

But, other things.

"It's hardly like it's first time we've seen something like that, recently." Although one would not expect Jean to be shocked -- she's presumably read some very basic reports -- the degree to which she reacts to the whole thing as if it's almost 'more of the same,' something to be expected, might be worrisome on its own. "If you remember the lab where we pulled Emma out, there was a lot there that didn't add up. Hellfire Club money, probably, but the place had a whole mad science vibe to it that seemed a bit much even for them. Have you seen the data on the one subject we pulled out of there? It was horrific, what they'd done, like a patchwork of mutant DNA." For once, she's not full of more animated expressions, whether excitement or big dramatic sighs, but rather sits quite still as they go through the details. "I had Emma, Lorna, and Ororo doing some intelligence follow-up, but it dead-ended a bit. We've never found any direct evidence of Sinister's involvement, but the tech know-how would line up."

Scott Summers has posed:
"I read some of the action reports on that investigation." Scott confirms, leaning forward onto his palms resting either side of his legs on the cushion of the chair. "It's precisely the kind of experiments and tech I'd expect to find in his lab, but... I don't want to jump to conclusions either." Frowning just so, a softer line across his stubbled face, "Might need to take a second look at what they /did/ find and compare it to what Paige, Illyana, and I saw. Could be related.. could just be more of the same-" As she said. He's always pretty cavalier about things. An excited Scott is a generally bad thing.

Nobody likes it when the emotionless robot starts acting out emotionally.

"There is also the case of the mutant, Emma, Hank, and I found. Not sure who the group is, but they were keeping her drugged up using her abilities to give the illusion of a party and drugs. I brought her to the medical facilities for you or Hank to talk to. Didn't want to spring something else on your plate, but she went through some pretty traumatic situation."

Jean Grey has posed:
"Maybe have Hank take a look," Jean suggests, predictably enough. While she's not exactly technically dumb, that stuff does tend to be a bit out of her league. "Although-" And she seems to realize she's almost 'goofed' a bit here. "He has some bad personal history with Sinister, so probably better to let him stick to the science and draw his own conclusions about where it leads, than lay some dark shadow of a boogey man over the whole thing for starters. I'd love to get him a win there, though, it's been bothering him, I think."

Compared to all of that, the idea of a new mutant washed up at their doorstep (to inappropriately mix metaphors) is comparably a less worrisome one. "That would be, erm, Kassandra something?" Again, she's no doubt seen the name among the variety of items in these recent reports. Jean reaches up, briefly grasping the bridge of her nose. "We're a bit overloaded on trauma cases, it feels like. Hmm. What's the basic situation here? She have a family, legal status? Some things we can't substitute for - if she was kidnapped, we should take that to the authorities first."

Scott Summers has posed:
"He was there, so I was going to let him take lead on talking to her if he wanted to." Scott left that ultimatley up to Hank, "He did not do well... under the circumstances." One might argue that Scott hadn't either. Hank was a lot more vocal and obvious regarding the treatment at the hands of Sinister, but Scott had seen his share of those labs as well. It left a black stain on him that he never talks about, which isn't surprising. "Neither did I. I almost killed the doctor who was drugging her." There are, perhaps, two people whom he'd admit that to. One of them is Charles, the other...

Well, that's fairly obvious now.

The almost is an important distinction. "We're still looking into some of her background information." Said with a nod and a glance back over his shoulder, "Given the nature of the kidnapping, I agree with you. I don't think it's going to be the last one. We have a lead on a safehouse where this group might be housing other captives." Rubbing at his jaw, "Once we have more information, however, we can go to the authorities. Let them take the lead on any investigation that leads to legal punishment."

Jean Grey has posed:
The fact that it's unlikely anyone at the school will /ever/ have a bigger body count to shoulder does make Jean something of an ideal confessor when it comes to such darker impulses, even if her own actions may lack somewhat in the intimacy of more personal, small-scale violence. But the concern she shows Scott reflects precisely the expression she had a moment earlier, when she worried about Hank's reaction to things. "It's made it hard for him- with me- for the two of us to talk, like we used to," she admits, somewhat ruefully. "Its hard, knowing how that stuff still hurts him, and that I can make it worse, not better."

Finally, with that sad little worry lingering, she reaches for the folder she'd set down, a preface to her standing up a moment later.

"Hopefully, we can find her some family. It isn't like we haven't taken those in with nowhere else to go in the past, but I always like to hope there's a happier ending for them, that that." As she rises, Jean takes another long breath, as if reorienting her mental state after the long talk in preparation for wherever and whatever she's off to next. "And the paperwork for being a school is a lot less trouble than being an orphanage. But we'll figure it out, I'm sure. Sorry, I've gotta take this-" She gesticulates with the folder. "Let me know how it all goes, alright?"

Scott Summers has posed:
Scott doesn't disagree. Hank's had it rough and was never as... strategically emotional distant... as Scott always has been. His emotions were always on his sleave, which makes dealing with them all the harder when everyone can see exactly where his head is. He nods solumnly of his old friend, brushing a thumb across his jaw thoughtfully with the gentle scrap of nail to stubble.

It's obviously starting to bug him that it's there.

Little ticks.

"I'll keep you informed." He assures her, glancing up from the distant stare he'd temporarily adopted. Thoughtful to the problems they're facing, he still puts on an attempt at a smile for Jean as she stands to depart for her Mistress duties. "It's good to see you, Jean. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help." As if he's got plate space for even the smallest morsel of food added. He'd try, though.