1964-01-10 - Peering Into Tomorrow
Summary: After a brush with curiously hostile aliens, Cable seeks the aid of ACT-F's enigmatic intuitive engineer to fix his orbital base.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
forge cable 


Suddenly, the station shudders as its innards explode with red light and klaxons. Inside, a meditating Cable's eyes snap open and a hand goes back to catch himself from toppling over.

"Nathan, my starboard hull is currently under fire," the station's AI chimes in. "My sensors indicate two hostile craft of extra-terrestrial origin…"

"No shit," Cable grunts while racing towards the armory.

"Ahem. Two hostile craft of— "

The station rumbles again, causing Cable to grimace and catch himself against a wall.

"— extra-terrestrial origin, likely recon-oriented," Prof continues, "judging from their size and weapons capabilities— but, given the technological differences between this era and our native timeline, as well as my widespread database corruption, I cannot be entirely certain that— "

"Prof." The mutant pauses long enough to peer towards the nearest display as his voice takes on a hard, reassuring tone, "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. Anything else. Soon as I find a working EVA suit— "

More rumbling rocks Graymalkin, and somewhere far away - but not far enough - from Cable, something explodes.

Slowly, the mutant's feet leave the floor— and so does anything else not secured to it.


Somewhere in the building known to the world as Eagle Plaza, the signature of an exotic, space-distorting energy form may or may not have been picked up on the sidewalk outside, bursting into being then fading into nothing over the span of just a few short seconds. Similarly, the man it leaves in its wake - broad, towering, clad in a sleek, lightly scorched blue and gold suit with a visored helmet, and clutching an enormous thing not entirely unlike a rifle in one hand - may or may not be visible somewhere within, whether via windows or monitors.

Either way, his first move is towards the nearest pay phone, where he rests his left palm over the number pad after securing the weapon to his back. Machinery whirrs; dial-tones sing. Somewhere in Eagle Plaza, a phone rings.

"I'd like an appointment with Forge," a gruff, older man says to whoever answers the phone. "Now; it's about his new government job."


After a few long moments, a somewhat blase female answers the phone. A few citizens scatter at the sudden appearance of a decidedly hostile looking individual, but Cable is otherwise left to his own devices as the muffled sound of some calendar being sorted through is scarcely audible on the other line. "Umm… Mr. Forge is busy right now, I'm afraid. He's having one of his 'crunch times'. I can get you in… oh… in two weeks? At 4:00AM? That's when he's predicted he'll be awake and free…" A decided lack of enthusiasm for the supposedly time sensitive crisis at hand!


"I just killed two extra-terrestrial recon vehicles with a rifle that'd make the most advanced gun that you or boss have ever seen look like a paleolithic sling and stones," Cable matter-of-factly rattles off, staring at one particularly curious citizen through his visor in the hopes of nudging them along while he talks about alien-fighting over the phone. "I think that Forge may want to put 'crunch time' on hold and have a chat with me right now. I'm out front; tell him I'll be headed up once we're done speaking." After a momentary pause, he tacks a roughly sincere, "I appreciate it," to the end.

He'll give the woman on the other end long enough to respond, and - whether it's favorable or not - he'll proceed to hang up and head for the door, helmet retracting to reveal his white hair and scarred features.


"Uh huh, I understand you may have been doing stuff, but I'm afraid…" she gets through, before the phone is hung up. The front of Eagle Plaza is a grandiose affair, three stories with the first constructed of glass. Through the automatic door is a large open area, filled with fine couches and seats, rather too many for the throughput, which is none. A large oasis desk is in the middle, with a glass spiraling set of stairs going straight up and out of side. The secretary looks alarmed at Cable's… rough looks and obvious weaponry, holding up her hands. "Sir. Sir! I said he's busy right now… Sir!!" Her voice a bit shrill and panicked. Presumably Forge's office is up the only way upwards…


Forge has partially disconnected.


Cable's eyes - one scarred, one aflame with amber light - snap towards the receptionist's, capturing her gaze in his. He slows, every muscle in his body tensing, veins rippling beneath the surface—

— and a single thought invades her consciousness, crowding out all others:


The mutant then surges forward to catch the woman before she hits the ground, setting her down gently. He then braces a hand against the ground and gives himself a few more trembling, luxurious seconds to catch his breath, after which he swipes his fingers across his nose and lets out a quietly pleased grunt when they're dry.

After standing, he approaches the stairs and gingerly sets a boot on the first of them. His hands cup around his mouth and his head tilts back. "Forge?!" he calls up. "My name is Cable! I mean you no harm, but I must see you, immediately! I'm coming up— slowly!" He takes another step after a couple of seconds, climbing slowly as he waits for a response.


At the moment falling to sleep is only second on the girl's to-do list, but her willpower is about as potent as wet tissue. Eyes roll back before her eyes even close, beginning to fall sideways from where she stood beside her chair. She's caught easily enough and settled into a stable position, audibly snoring. The calendar shows that Forge has no appointments for the next few weeks either, which might be a kick in the teeth. The stairs seem mundane, although up above the circle of them vanishes out of sight. No response to the call, but the slow ascent shows a small enclosed area, with a single camera. The door is… imposing. Reinforced steel of some sort, with a few electronics beside rather out of place in the current era by a couple decades. It seems to be a finger reader and retinal scanner. There's no manner of buzzer or other item to get inside; using Cable's brute force, he'd probably have to spend half an hour pounding it to even begin denting sufficiently to get anywhere… Within, however, there's no particular block to psionic powers. A brief scan would show someone on the third floor. …Immobile. …Asleep.


Both devices - as well as the camera - get long, hard looks from Cable. This is partly because his cybernetic eye is getting pictures, but mainly because the scanners stand out starkly to the man from the future.

"Forge?!" he tries once more - inches from the door - which he then pounds upon. "Who the hell did they hire…" he then mutters to himself, still pounding as he takes another glance at the electronics.

After a few seconds, the rapping ceases and metal fingers splay across the door for support as he casts his consciousness outwards in search of the man in charge.

His features screw upon his brush with the sleeping engineer, and then his hand shifts from door to scanner.

Normally, Cable's techno-organic mesh would be capable of co-opting whatever technology it comes in contact with— handy for when one needs to make free phone calls or break into a secured building. But the defenses built into Eagle Plaza are not quite like anything that Cable's seen - in this time or any other - because there is no mind on Earth quite like the man called Forge's— nor will there ever be. Thus, while miniature tools wind their way through bare seams in his fingers to slip into the finger print reader by any available means, he can't quite be sure what'll come of it— whether he'll find a way to override it(or the retinal scanner, which he leans his cybernetic eye towards) or find himself smacking face-first into Forge's unique brilliance.


Surprisingly to Cable, there's some rather sophisticated circuitous logic behind the devices. They were created to counter electronic hacking that very likely does not exist yet. The fact that Forge was, quite literally, installing methods to defeat HIMSELF means that it's… pretty effective. Paranoia is a strong thing, after all. The fingerprint scanner turns out to be a bit of a false positive. It's circumvented in a manner that ultimately makes sense through techno-speak, once Cable manages to figure out the methodology behind how it works. It's still a sensitive number of twists and turns, but somewhere the logic makes sense.

Things take a turn for the worst with the retinal scanner. It's as if a completely DIFFERENT genius invented it. As if everything was thrown out the door, and it was created from the ground up just to be spitefully opposite. Even the 30th century didn't have a handbook for communicating in such a fashion. More unfortunately, there was a well-hidden alarm within the whole thing. When the retinal scanner isn't bypassed in 12 seconds — and that's probably how long it takes just to start getting acquainted with how it works different — a siren goes off, and the lights turn red. A metal shutter drops down from the ceiling to encompass the entire stairs, as a rather monotone voice starts to repeart,



The treacherous scanner gets a brief glower, but it's pride more than anything; since no security guards, or robots, or automated turrets have appeared(yet), the alarm is serendipitous in its way— it just means that any chance of approaching this whole thing with a measure of politeness(inasmuch as an appointment acheived through psychic assault and hacking could ever be polite, anyway) is slipping away quickly.

Still frowning, Cable turns towards the camera to hold his hands up, calls, "I come in peace," at it, and reaches out psychically once more to see whether or not the alarm actually did its job.


Oh, yes. The alarm did the trick. Actually Forge is already on the second floor, apparently not one to mess around when it comes to things threatening the sanctity of his Aerie. There's a whirr, before a potent-looking turret of sorts drops from the ceiling to twist and point at Cable. A cursory appraisal probably is sufficient to decide it's best not to test how well it would work on telekinetically-reinforced bio-organic flesh. "Who are you?!" hisses a voice over the intercom. "You're that terrorist from the news, aren't you? From Harlem?! You move, and I'll open fire! And you better be careful. It will automatically engage if anything happens to me…!"


Oh, there's the turret.

After quick check over a shoulder to study the menacing thing, there are a couple beats of confusion followed by another grimace.

"Those were— I was engaging in vigilante justice," Cable says into the camera, "if you're talking about the arson— that store was part of a front for a mafia drug operation. Burned it down to send a message."

Another beat.

"This is probably not all that reassuring," he murmurs, half to himself. His voice then comes back up to a conversational level: "Look, I don't mean you any harm— I promise. I'm here because I need your help, and I think that it'd be worth your while to give me a chance and comply. Story starts with a couple of dead, green men in space and runs up to me standing here, in front of your camera; if you wanna know more, I can tell you. But it'd be a whole lot easier if the turret went down, first."


"Uh huh." Forge can be heard saying, far from moved into relief. The gun is still trained on Cable, with a dead man's switch of sort. This makes the Cheyenne pretty nervous, actually. If he lets go on accident, that will be bad. It's programmed to spray every inch of the locked down corridor with ammunition until it runs dry in that case. Does he have a way to stop it? No… he forgot that part. Don't kill him unless you need to, don't kill him unless you need to, why is he having to focus so much on not letting go now?! "What kind of technology is that gun?" Forge asks instead. It's… fairly menacing, but also nothing like what Forge has seen outside information on Alien weaponry. "What kind of technology are YOU? What on earth do I have to gain from trusting you? I should call SHIELD to apprehend you and sort this out afterwards!" From his voice, he might be beginning this process right now!


"What gun— this?"

Hands still raised, Cable turns so that his back - and the oversized rifle crossing it - take up the camera.

"I could tell you more about it, but now we're talking about SHIELD getting involved, which doesn't really work for me. OpSec, and all." he says, trying to counter Forge's nerves with non-threatening calm. After facing towards the camera again - and turning so that the gleaming expanse of his left arm is prominently featured in-frame - he concludes, "So, actually, I guess there's something you'd have to gain from trusting me— isn't there?"


"I'm sure they'd let me analyze your technology in custody." Forge offers, but his voice betrays a sort of hungry interest. Would they? He doesn't work for them at all, although anything the U.S. Government gets would probably be funneled his way… eventually… maybe. He's stopped just shy of hitting the 'Your irreplaceable super-genius is in danger' button, but only just. Fingers grip and relax slightly on the dead man's switch for the gun turret. Finally he taps the keyboard, and the turret retracts, although Cable remains stuck in his little box. Of course the steel grill around the stairs are rather weaker. A full-force slug or two of his faux arm would probably get through, if escaping was mandatory. "Okay. You have sixty seconds to convince me why a suspicious metal-clad man with alien weaponry and questionable media coverage should be allowed into my inner sanctum."


"I came from a parallel timeline roughly two thousand years ahead of this one to prevent a series of events that could lead to your future being dominated by an all-powerful, megalomaniacal mutant with delusions of godhood. My orbital headquarters - cloaked from all forms of modern surveillance technology, though today makes me sure you'd give it a run for its money - was attacked by alien recon vehicles who thought they'd stumbled across a deserted space hulk; I was able to exterminate them, but not before they damaged the station's artificial gravity generator. I need someone to look at it, and there are four, maybe five minds on Earth besides mine even capable of understanding how it works, much less repairing it."

Every word of this is delivered with utter conviction, sped up only slightly by the tension of being under the gun as he is. By the end, organic and metal arms fold across a barrel chest, and with a canting head, he takes a beat to check his internal clock.

"I'm not the bad guy, here," he continues. Twenty seconds and counting. "Exotic tech and all the other crap aside. Fifteen to spare; we good, or am I gonna have to try the Baxter Building?"


"Jesus." Forge responds after trying to process all of that. "That is by far the most absurdly insane thing I have ever heard. So you want to take me to your spacestation that was attacked by aliens? To fix it? …the fact the 'alien' part of this is the most logical just completely astounds me." The last fifteen seconds are spent with Forge weighing the pros and cons. There's two possibilities, here. Cable is telling the truth, or he's delusional and thinks he's telling the truth.

Ultimately, neither is immediately dangerous. Yet on the other hand, he did try to break into his building. But wouldn't he come up with a better lie than that? Time is spent going over the phone feed from his receptionist, then the video of him entering the lobby. Plus the strange… teleportation? Did he just teleport outside? There's no defense against that in the Aerie! Presuming that such is a voluntary thing, Cable can just blip himself past the door. And he'd be /angry./ With a physique and machinery like that, he'll play the devil's advocate here on the 'he's not inside right now because he's polite' assumption.

"Fine. I'll see you. In my office." The shutters slowly roll back up, and the alarm lights turn off. His assistant can still be heard snoring down below. A couple minutes later, and the door hisses as pneumatics inside draw aside, before it opens lightly. A very disheveled man in a wifebeater and pajama bottoms, huge bags under his eyes, peers through the crack. "Come in, I guess…"

Within is a small square room with a desk and few chairs in the middle. Many filing cabinets bulge with papers, and every wall has whiteboards with complex computations on them. All of them seem solved, apparently, which Cable could verify if he goes through them. Much of the science seems based on nuclear power, and at a very advanced theoretical level. Forge settles himself into his chair, gesturing to one opposite. It barely would fit Cable's bulk, and not hold up his supernatural weight very reliably, but. "…let's start by handing me that rifle. As a show of good faith."


Cable doesn't even have a chance to test the chair because he's still squinting at the equations when Forge speaks up. His hands are at his sides by now, but he waited until Forge stepped out to slowly lower them while the fire in his right eye dimmed to a bare ember, and hasn't made any sudden moves since following him inside.

Perhaps predictably for a giant, gun-toting man with a prosthetic arm and scars, he tenses at the request and has to suppress a glower as he tears himself from the whiteboards. After a slow breath through his nostrils, he approaches the engineer while slowly reaching back with his left arm to detach the weapon. It's handed over - barrel up - but he doesn't relinquish his freakishly strong grip before saying, "Whatever you see or hear stays between us. The fewer people know there's a man from the future running around with future-weapons, the better off we all are," in a low, firm voice. After a beat, he adds, "Except for the aliens," a little softer before letting go. "Don't really give a shit about them, you're an alien-fighter."



— he takes his seat, immediately squints down at it, then snaps his wary gaze right back up at Forge.


Both hands reach out to grasp the large rifle, but no move is done to pull it away until it's released. Causing it to dip sharply with a grunt. Forge has to struggle to get it under control and thump it across his desk, sending random papers flying. Which seem covered in random schematics and plans, from electronic circuits to… is that some nuclear powered toaster? Yes, it is. He tried some concepts on miniaturizing technology, don't judge him. Hands run along the gun, and he seems utterly fascinated.

"You've got an energy about you I've only ever encountered once before." Forge offers towards Cable. "Truthfully, you are the SECOND trans-time person I've met who is technologically advanced, which is the main reason I am giving you a chance… you're rather less advanced, though. Believe it or not. In your case, it's like you are… polluted with technology? You're wrong though." He leans close, peering at Cable with his lips pursed tightly together. "The core of you was modified by human or mutant hands, perhaps… but it's not from Earth…" Still, figuring out more about Cable probably involves some intimacy he's not interested in right now.

"Honestly, I don't even know how I understand machines so well, so I can't really talk much about how things work. Let's see here…" He widens his eyes in surprise, before pulling out a small kit from his pocket. He doesn't have exactly what's needed, but two tools combined manage to work well enough to… start disassembling it. Disturbingly quickly. His hands seem to be a blur to the untrained eye, but work with impossible finesse and grace. Nothing about him seems mundane intelligence the more he's observed, like Reed or Stark. Something else is DEFINITELY going on. "This is… a modular design… incredible. This level of miniaturization blows away my fantasies of what I could achieve in a decade…!" He pulls out the little fusion core for the energy generation and begins mulling over it. "Oh. Like this… mhmm… I see, so you can create a stable energy reaction, and then by stressing it, the fission reaction is offset to power the machine. Remarkable! And it's so stable…!!"

He might have completely forgotten the point of Cable visiting at this point.


Hearing that he's less advanced than Forge's first transtemporal encounter actually serves to keep Cable from growing too tense at the news. Still, though, he snapps off a terse, "Who? When, where? I need to know everything about them— I wasn't aware that— wait— hey— !"

Forge is wrist deep in the rifle before Cable knows it, but the future commando doesn't do more than protest. Ultimately, if he couldn't strip and rebuild the thing in the comfort of an advanced lab, he wouldn't deserve to carry it.

But it would be nice to not have to, that's for sure.

"That's right," he grunts, having left his chair to loom over the Cheyenne. "About the gun— the— other technology. Well." He pauses. "Maybe, about the other technology," he quietly amends. "But it'd fit a pattern."

After a brisk headshake, he wonders, "How can you tell?" in a more audible - if paranoid, what with Forge gleefully pulling his gun apart - voice. "How can you work on this weapon so confidently, when you've never— " He stops himself and lets out a little rumble.

And then he's silent for a while.

Gradually, his arms fold over his chest as his lips purse.

"I'm gonna need it back in one piece before we move on to the aliens, you realize," he eventually notes.


"I'm afraid my interaction with them is confidential. You said you wanted that, right? Doesn't work very well if I don't keep it with others. Maybe I already said too much." Cable can probably locate another temporal oddity if he knew a location and that they existed, after all… whoops. Still, he continues pouring over the components for a few moments, before sighing. "I don't know. I've always just… understood things. I call it 'mechanical energy'. Intuition. All geniuses have it, I assume." Not nearly the way he's doing things. Getting information from nothing is the opposite of science, if you have to explain how it works after the fact! "Sorry, sorry. Your issue sounded time sensitive." Shortly after, the rifle is reassembled and pushed across the desk. Most of his own wariness seems to be lost in the thrill of technology. Rather simple to tempt him, ultimately. And, if Cable pours over the gun, it's put together perfectly. Perhaps more securely and meticulously than he usually does himself, especially for the speed. "So aliens shot up your space station, huh? I don't recall seeing anything about one of those, but to be fair satellites are pretty basic overall, let alone orbital scans. Consider me skeptical, but probably not as much as most in my station…"


Cable does indeed run his hands and eyes over the gun when it's returned to him, only to reattach it to his back after he's satisfied. "None of the geniuses I've ever met work like that," he says with a slight headshake, "not the way you're talking about. But there are plenty I haven't, obviously, so who knows? Anyway: the station's got a few layers of stealth tech. The aliens must've had a way around the visual cloak, but like I said: they'd have thought they were seeing something abandoned. Suppressed life signs and energy signatures, distress messages from one of several randomly selected disaster scenarios— nobody's supposed to know I'm there, or want to investigate further.

A flesh and blood hand extends.

"I'm pretty sure that I can clear your skepticism up in a hurry, if you're willing to trust me a little more."


"Genius works in mysterious ways. Or something." Forge mutters dismissively. When he's had these sensations and feelings since he was a teenager, it's pretty hard to detach himself from how abnormal they are. "Trust is a strong word. I don't trust you, so much as I understand that you are being polite. You didn't have to come in the front door, for instance. You could have appeared in my bedroom and shaken me awake, correct?" Still, he eyeballs the offered hand, and with a sigh extends his own. The mechanical one, to be safe. That way if he loses it, it's not so big a deal. "I'll take a gamble. Seeing a mechanical space station, or being abducted and killed. Worthy risk."


"Reasonable instinct," Cable says. The question goes unanswered, because the next thing out of his mouth is: "Bodyslide by two."

A golden pearl flickers into being between the two men. In a matter of seconds, it tears itself increasingly wide— a coin, a discus, a dish, a wheel. A golden maw, scintillating and endlessly hungry as it spreads over the two men's flesh, prickling it with warm pin-and-needle sensations.

Within the golden void that has grown to encompass the both of them, Forge feels himself being pulled - bodily, implacably, atomically - through existence without moving an inch— and then the glare begins to recede.

As it shrinks back down to a pearl and vanishes again, Forge finds himself surrounded by gleaming chrome and windows offering views of the starlit expanse beyond. A few pieces of wreckage, as well as a pilot in a flightsuit unlike anything on Earth can be seen drifting by one of them. The space below is expansive, sporting a table formed from the ship itself and a monitor attached to the wall. Nearby, a scavenged couch lazily orbits the room along with jars of peanut butter, cheeses, empty cellophane, half a loaf of bread, and a small knife.

At least he wasn't lying about the gravity generator.

"Watch your head," Cable says while extending a hand to catch the ceiling as he drifts upwards. "This is Graymalkin: autonomous headquarters locked into geosynchronous orbit with Earth. It's from the future— and from space, really."


Forge has partially disconnected.


Curiosity killed the cat, as it were. Of course, Forge is smart enough to think in the back of his mind that this is some attempt to get him alone and somehow execute him. Maybe remove him from the timeline since he causes some apocalypse? Yet he mostly can't imagine how that would require his consent. And, if the goal was to stack incredible opportunity with the mild chance of saboutage, they played their cards right. He took it. That doesn't mean what happens next is any less surprising, of course. Eyes widen, he leans back, but there's no escape. Although he almost gets a headache to find himself where he is. It's one thing to see Frankie or Cable; singularities of advanced mechanical energy. Yet to be within the womb of something like Graymalkin is another beast entirely. He's dizzy. Overwhelmed. His piddling inventions have not been sufficient to get used to this sensation. "What… is…" he begins, stumbling sideways and curling up slightly as he begins to spiral through the air. His eyes fall on this and that, explosions of intuitions streaming through his mind like an uncontrollable slideshow in fast forward. "Is—this a side effect of… the bodyslide…? The gravity?!" No. It's his mutant power overwhelming him, a thousand things whispering to him at once, and he's no experience in filtering it out.


"That'd be the busted artificial gravity generator," Cable replies before pushing off of the ceiling and 'swimming' towards a corridor. For the most part, the station is lit from above('above') by bright strips running along the edges of the ceiling. "The aliens managed to punch a hole in the hull before I could get to them, caused some explosions. The generator was caught in the chain reaction; it's not scrapped, but the regulation system's shot, so it shut itself down as a safety precaution, before everything inside could be crushed by uncontrollably magnified gravity.

He pauses a short ways in to look over his shoulder and check for Forge, braced against a wall— and then he turns more fully to narrow his eyes upon the inventor. The corridor he's in is lined with sliding doors - all of which are closed - and the occasional monitor, all of which is currently displaying diagnostic information, as well as overlays of the ship and the damage to its starboard side. There's a definite downward sloping curvature to the corridor - if a gradual one - and given enough time following it down, the doors would thin out until there's just one at the end, striped with caution markings.

But that's at the end. Right now, Cable is focused on studying the other mutant, right eye pulsing as his consciousness extends in search of evidence to support the only theory he's got on Forge.

"Were you always like this?" he wonders in a low, taut voice. "Inventive, I mean. With your intuition— senses?"

Detecting the tell-tale psychic resonance of a mutant consciousness would generally be a stretch for what's left of his telepathy— unless, perhaps, he happened to be near a mutant whose powers were liable to be firing on all cylinders, given the talk of 'mechanical energy' and technopollution gleaned from nothing more than a few seconds of interaction.

Given a situation like that, it might be a different story.

"What do you see right now— feel? Hear?"


"Wh… y,yes. Since… the first time I handled a piece of electronics…" Forge murmurs, sounding somewhat annoyed. "I see… I don't know. It's—like…" Cable could check, but it might be somewhat disorienting even for him at first. As if there was a giant beehive, and each bee had a separate idea. But all of them buzzing together were forming the honeycombs, assembling the end product, a hive that might be senseless to everyone but Forge himself… and only as the herald, the end result, as opposed to the product of it all. "What does that have to do with anything?!" Frustrated impotence, but he begins trying to pull himself along the wall, if feebly, towards where Cable is heading. "Nnngh…. first time in space, and I can't even think straight…"


"Hh— just wondering," Cable murmurs as his mind begins to swell with the echo of countless warring ideas and the radiance of mutanity.

"Like I said— I've never met— anyone— who could do what you did— with something like my gun— aah!"

Contact breaks and Cable twists bodily away with a shudder. His fingers catch a slight trickle from his nostrils, then return to the wall for support.

"Good on the government for letting a mutant handle their tech, though," he adds - quite sincerely. He's been in this era long enough to have an idea of the prejudices in the air and how unusual it might be for someone like Forge to be in a position like his. "I've had some concerns about where the Kennedy assassination that you people apparently have a hand in investigating might lead people, given the attitudes of the day; knowing that there's at least one gene-positive type involved is a relief, if a small one."


"…excuse me?" Forge states, slowly growing accustomed to the flow. He's… calling it control is wrong, but he can phase out that buzzing in his head when he knows it's happening. He's so rarely had to bother, though. This place really caught him off-guard. "As far as I know, there's no mutants handling the technology." Apparently it completely flew over his head that Cable was talking about /him./ "The U.S. Government has always been particularly wary about the Mutant issue, but I know of a few. If controlled…"


"Ri— "





"— right," Cable murmurs, turning away to draw himself farther down the corridor. "So what if one were involved? Because plenty of 'em don't show outward signs of what they are; they just exist, doing things that should be impossible. One could slip right in, if they really wanted to— so what would happen if one did? Alien-hunting's gotta take priority, right?"


A cursory telepathic glance shows that Forge is mostly just ignorant of what he might be, as opposed to anything else. Maybe it just genuinely never crossed his mind as a possibility. "What, you mean like a Skrull? Most Mutants seem to be like that insect woman. Or afflicted with inconvenient powers. I'd say that the ones which look mundane are the exception to the rule. …are you asking what I personally think of mutants? Why are we even talking about this?" He seems to have gotten over the vertigo from the technology, at least. "I pity them. I know what it's like to be hunted and discriminated based on how you were born. Do I think they are dangerous? Depends on the individual. And we seem to be fostering an environment where those who get these sort of powers will not admit it, and could easily foster dangerous resentment… hardly concerns me, though…"


Cable has an answer for that 'why', but he floats down the corridor silently for a while regardless, weighing the options that Forge is unconsciously presenting him with.

He knows what he felt, what he's seen from Forge— he could be wrong, but the evidence at hand doesn't seem to support it. So the question becomes what ought to be done with that knowledge, given a man who seems content enough to just be brilliant with no further baggage— and the lingering, secondary question of what his employers might do if they found out. Especially if they were to somehow figure it out before he did.

Months of news archived in Graymalkin's databases prod his subconscious and filter onto his his mental scales, drawing them inexorably out of balance.

"… you," he finally murmurs as the corridor's twists bring the last door into view. "It's you— I think you may be a mutant, with the way your mind seems to work. One of the exceptions."

Following a beat spent looking anywhere but back at Forge, he adds, "You may want to see if you can't build something to test yourself. And then destroy it, because there's no way that a national government could be trusted with that kind of technology."


"What? That's… what?" Forge double-takes at the assertion, before doing a sort of nervous laugh. "That's ridiculous. I'm in my early forties. Mutancy is a recent phenomenon, for one. The oldest and most powerful are what… barely twenty?" Obviously he knows there are exceptions from his time in R&D, but they were exceptional figures of great power. Not… what would you even call what Forge did? Intuitive machine understanding? "Don't… don't get off-subject, here. It's… anyway… what—what do you need me to fix?" He reorients himself in the sans-gravity area, although the troubled shadow in his mind hangs heavy.


"Artificial gravity generator," Cable repeats while approaching, then pressing his left hand against the door. A shimmer ripples down its surface before it slides up into the entryway, allowing Cable to float over the threshold and leave talk of mutancy behind.

On the other side lies a catwalk stretched across a veritable sea of exotic power generation systems, many of which are actually off-line. Double doors on the other end of the catwalk slide apart as Cable 'swims' along; behind them lies a circular machine that dominates much of its otherwise open space. Yet more doors can be made out past it, but they remain sealed.

Vast cylinders stretch from several points of the machine, disappearing into the chamber's walls and ceiling. One, however, is visibly warped and scorched, and the guts of the machine can be spotted through ugly wounds in the area surrounding that cylinder's connection point.


Cable arrives from RP Nexus.


Cable has arrived.


Forge leaves, heading towards RP Nexus [O].


Forge has left.


Forge arrives from RP Nexus.


Forge has arrived.


"Mutant detecting machine… I don't know a thing about genetics. How could I make one?" Forge begins murmuring to himself as he floats distractedly after Cable. "I suppose a drop of blood would work… yes… I could do that… but how would—hmm…" Currently a long series of possibilities is running through his mind. The science is sound, despite him technically not knowing the particulars. It's working BACKWARDS, starting from a working machine, then iterating towards all the components and advancements required to get there. Forge finally stops the whirlwind of thoughts as he approaches the machine, running his good hand along it. "Oh…? Interesting. This is pretty advanced. When I thought artificial gravity, I was imagining duplicating the effects of a planet's stable field. …wait, no. This does, but…" After a few moments, Forge floats backwards a meter. "I'll need tools and replacement parts to work with it. I'm afraid I don't really have anything on me that'd work." He tries to describe what he needs, very poorly, but if Cable uses his telepathy, a fairly reliable image can be plucked out from each instance. In fact, Cable would be little more than an assistant as Forge begins to take it apart meticulously, finding what's broken and trying to request replacements. At a certain point, it'll probably seem impossible to reassemble. There's no rhyme or reason to how he's sorting things, allowing them to float around a bit in self-orbitting clumps, by the dozens and dozens and dozens…


Forge's mutant tracking musings go largely unheard, though he does squint back over his shoulder when '… drop of blood…' manages to reach his ears and fix a long, questioning look upon the Cheyenne.

Forge's instincts upon entering the gravity chamber are ultimately correct: the generator interacts with the station's computer systems to produce and regulate an artificial gravity field throughout the structure. Rather than rely on the rotation of the entire vessel, however, the generator seems to be capable of literally producing a stable field due to the incorporation of elements that just plain don't exist in modern science.

There is a clearly discernible logic, but seeing past the superficially alien nonsense to following it will require that the engineer build his own conceptual links between what 'should' be possible and what he's actually looking at.

"I've got no idea how this thing actually works," Cable quietly notes while Forge does his initial examination. "Nobody who's ever seen it has— but, tell me what you need, and— "

The cyborg falls silent, listening to the attempts at description with a furrowing brow. After a couple abortive attempts at prying clearer information from Forge, he does indeed draw in a deep breath and steady himself against the stress of slipping into his thoughts for a more direct line on what the engineer needs.

Maybe ten seconds of silent eye-flaring later, he floats from the room only to return after a few minutes, pushing a crate full of tools, weapons, and assorted devices, much of which would stand out as blatantly anachronistic— and, minus the tools, broken. "We all knew just enough to service the parts that integrated with the more comprehensible systems of the station and pray that the core never failed," he notes after grunting through a shove that sends the crate spinning heavily into the work area. "Luckily - as far as I know - the intrastructural regulation system is one of them. But I never had to do much more than basic maintenence, myself."


Forge seems to be systematically figuring out how the machine goes. He's saying things bit by bit, understanding each part's purpose after he removes it. A seemingly inocuous orb is then pried out, causing Forge to stare at it for long moments. It has a small crack in it. "This is the problem." he finally offers, lifting it up to Cable. "Your gravitational lens stabilizer is cracked. That's disrupting the energy field forming it into a circle. So it's not really doing anything as a result." A strange wrench is tapped against his chin for long moments afterwards. "It's a very particular quantuum matrix. I don't think the means of reproducing one exists here. But I can patch it up well enough." Which takes a lot more time than Cable probably wanted.

…A few hours, actually. Most of it seems to involve turning the orb around slowly for ten to twenty minutes at a time, before dabbing in a specialized solvent that seems to do *something.* Cable might not know what it was for initially, but Forge explains it is a special mixture that mimics surrounding crystals, although it's very hard to get 'flowing' right, whatever that means. Ultimately he finishes, although there's an angry scar on the orb. "There… There'll be a few side effects. Gravity will cut off a couple meters less far from Graymalkin. And things will be about nine percent lighter. But it should work…"

He then starts reassembling the machine, which requires some components to be 3D printed for replacement, that involves most of the outer cosmetic damage. Once finished, he drops the floating tool towards the container and wipes sweat from his brow. "It's interfaced with your brain-thingy-machine now. It should be able to reactivate it when you ask."


Cable is a soldier and sometimes general by trade - by necessity - but he's fostered a healthy interest in science from an early age thanks to having a very active mind and a vested interest in knowing how to operate and improve upon the technologies of his day. Studying Forge - as he does, over the next few hours - is fascinating and frustrating in equal parts, his intuitive understanding of a system that Cable's contemporaries spent months trying to learn proving truly impossible to follow in any meaningful way. So much of the process happens invisibly that - short of trying to follow along psychically to get the whole story - the mutant cyborg could just as easily be watching an act of magic as science.

At least this all distracts him from concentrating too deeply on the generator's disassembly.

When the working is finally finished, he tenses a at the mention of side-effects, but relaxes - a little - at the descriptions; gears begin turning as he considers how to compensate. "Thanks," he murmurs with a thoughtful nod. "Prof: wake up and bring the gravity generator back online."

"Oh— really?" an incredulous synthetic voice transmits throughout the chamber. "What? Nathan, you know as well as I do that the maintenance procedures are… corrupted… oh, what's— … … well. Isn't this a pleasant surprise? But how— oh. … oh. Interesting…"

Sections of the machine begin to slowly rotate, filling the chamber with a low, energized hum. A camera unfurls from the nest of wires and machinery running alongside the catwalk, twists 'round the room, then settles on Forge, shifting just so every now and again to get a good look at him. The two men remain hovering, until—

"Uh, Prof? We're still…"

"Oh! Yes!" The camera pauses and (false) gravity finally begins to assert itself, drawing the mutants downwards. Cable shifts so that his feet will hit the catwalk rather than the machinery bordering it. "Service mode is disengaged! Well, then! It would seem that Nathan's made a new friend— who might you be, sir?"


It seems Forge is used to these marathon sessions. Ultimately everything he's answered probably ended up in more questions than insights for Cable, but the results speak for themselves. When it comes to a simple jury-rigged fix of a critical problem as fast as possible, there might not have been a better mind on the planet to ask. Wiping sweat away from his forehead with the back of his hand, a blink is done towards the camera. "Forge." he offers, simply. That can't be his real name, obviously, but Cable might be shocked if he is nosy to find that he genuinely DOES refer to and associate himself with that term, for /decades/, to the point trying to pry out his real birth name would be an invasive affair to say the least. "Uh. A pleasure. You are a… robot, kinda? An aware robot? Huh. Where is HIS stuff housed…?" A thumb jerks to the Professor's current eye.


"Actually," says the Professor with pride, "I'm a self-aware machine intelligence currently colonizing the systems of this station after a prolonged stint spent living within Nathan's— "


"Oh, yes, of course, my apologies— but he did ask. Mr. Forge: it's a pleasure to meet you, and an honor to have been serviced by you. Do forgive me for saying it, but I would never have dreamed that there'd be a pair of hands in this era capable of doing what you did; goes to show that we all have our prejudices, I suppose!"

Looking up from gingerly pinching the bridge of his nose, Cable supplies, "Prof 'lives' in the ship's databanks; the whole thing is his body," then extends a hand towards Forge. "I'll be keeping an eye on things, but he would've already balked if something was catastrophically wrong, so— good job. You want what's left of the ships what did this, it's yours; the bodies, too. Should be able to run the salvage arm for a little while."


"Self-aware machine intelligence…" So he's a SAMI! That's what Forge will coin for the phrase of artificial intelligences! So relatable. So marketable! "It's a patch-job. I don't know if it'll hold up forever. But wow. Crystal matrix energy manipulation! On a QUANTUUM level! That's ingenius. I… can do nothing with this information! Not a thing. In my lifetime I'd probably not get close to replicating one atom of it. Amazing!" Forge does reach out to take the hand, before pausing and looking over the shiny mutant. "What about you? These cybernetics… They don't seem…" His eyes run the gamut of those artificial prosthetics and spread metal. "…benevolent…"


"They aren't, remotely," Cable grunts in reply, keeping his grip relatively light. Even if Forge grips with his prosthetic hand, it's tough to gauge on the spot just what it might be able to take. "But we've… reached an understanding. An equilibrium. Of sorts. They make me more than what most people could be; less than what I be. So it goes." He follows this with a heavy roll of his shoulders and a glance aside from the imagineer, clearly not enthused to discuss his 'upgrades'.

"If you're interested," he says after a quiet moment, bending to grab a few tools and carry them to the crate, "I could bring you back up here sometime. Provided that you keep what I said about confidentiality in mind, obviously." There are plenty of things that, thanks to far-future sabotage, could stand to be looked at or repaired aboard Graymalkin. All it'd take is a little nudge to get the Cheyenne's imagination running…

"I'll leave you something to get in touch with."

"Quite alright, Mr. Forge," Prof brightly chimes in, "it's one of my core systems and progressive data corruption means that I couldn't possibly figure out how to replicate it either!"


"Uh huh. Well, if you want, I can take a look at that stuff next time, too. I mean, this place is a wonderland. I wish I could live in the future. Really let my, uh, imagination run wild without bounds." Forge doesn't really stress the taken hand at all. He can manage about peak human, not multiple tons. Oh, the things he could do to help the world with access to this facility. His decades of frustration… was it all due to the limits of the era? An interesting thought. "I'll take your offer on the machines and whatnot. Send it to Sue at ACT-F. We can see if it's related to other interstellar dangers. A pleasure meeting you, uh, both. I'm sure our relationship can be mutually beneficial."


"Future's just got a different set of boundaries," Cable quickly points out amidst the clattering of tools tumbling into the crate. "Different problems to solve." Rather than gather another armload of tools, he just heads farther down the catwalk, towards the corridor they came from, nodding along at the mention of ACT-F along the way. Hands glide across the waist of his EVA suit, causing a segment of it to pop open, revealing a metal disc that'd fit comfortably in the palm of a hand. A black Phoenix(yes, that one) spreads its wings across the red field of its middle expanse, recessed an inch or two into the circle.

"When you do, tell her Cable sent them. I've been intending to track her down regarding Prince Loki and the Kennedy assassination for weeks, now; gift might help smooth the way when we do meet. I tend to have a polarizing effect on people." The last bit is delivered with a hint of levity and a glance over the shoulder; it is followed by him pitching the disc in Forge's direction.

"Don't be a stranger, Mr. Forge!" Prof adds.


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