1964-01-15 - Forging a New Identity
Summary: Forge gets another unexpected visitor and learns some things about himself.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
xavier forge 


Eagle Plaza; a three-story Manhattan affair. Very high end, obviously, with glass walls on the bottom floor. Fine plants outside, and a simple plaque that reads 'Technological Inovations'. Yet within, the entire first floor is decorated with empty couches and chairs, glass tables, tall pillars, with a central receptionist area housing a bored looking secretary seemingly named Margaret. She's reading some sort of novel, and does not immediately notice anyone else. Glass stairs circle upwards, vanishing out of sight presumably to the rest of the facility.

*

Luckly, the newest entrant to Eagle Plaza's Technological Innovations knows just where he's going, and ambles cheerfully past without bothering the engrossed secretary— she's at a good part of the book in any case; it would be rude to disturb her.

Charles Xavier makes his way up the stairs, making his way towards the man he's here to see today.

*

The secretary does notice Charles enter. For a moment. She must have been mistaken, given she goes right back to reading with a shrug. The stairs lead upwards to an imposing metal door. There's a thumbpad reader, a strange red light, and a camera blinking above. There's no handle of any sort; security seems awful tight. Although the strong will of a fervantly working man can be felt deeper inside; an exhausted one, at that…

*

Impressively secured.. if Charles truly wanted to infiltrate, he has an old friend who is very handy for interfering with camera signals, but he's not here to make a stir. So, finding his path forward impeded he shrugs lightly, turns about and heads back down to wait in the reception area, pulling a book out of his coat and joining the secretary in her past-time.

*

That is… unexpected. A motion sensor alerted Forge to someone at his door. Expecting his secretary, he still checks the feed out of habit. "…" He leans forward, and then puts in a call from his front office. Ring-ring-ring. It's answered, and then Margaret blinks her eyes. "An appointment for right now…? Umm…" She flips open her appointment book, running a finger down the blank page.

*

"I'd be happy to fill it, if there was a cancellation or some-such?" the man with the wool pea coat and the British accent and the polite smile who apparently is in fact sitting near the door says cheerfully.

*

The secretary jumps slightly, now that she sees Xavier. "Oh…! Yes. We, ah, have a walk-in?" she states, confusedly. "Umm… why did he go up to your door?" That seems to make her look mightly confused! Was she really THAT ignorant? No response just yet, though…

*

"I'd be happy to answer any questions your employer might have if he has the time to see me?" Charles supplies calmly, folding his book closed around it's bookmark and then simply waiting patiently for a reply. His mind however has reached out to Forge's, curious if he's to be confronting upset and alarm, or if he will simply find a matching curiosity there.

*

"I didn't see anyone go up…" she offers. Forge's mind is filled with… paranoia, mostly. He wracks his brain to see if he has ever seen Xavier, read about him in highly classified documents, anything of the sort. "Mhmm…" The secretary hangs up, then. "He'll come down and speak with you." After a few moments, a loud hiss as the door upstairs slips open. And down the stairs comes a somewhat disheveled looking man in a business suit, black gloves on either hand, expression both tired and wary. A full Cheyenne, certainly. Surface thoughts are going over all the ways this could be dangerous. Eyes scanning through glass doors for signs of anything else. "Hello? I don't normally take walk-ins… but security is tight here. You shouldn't be sneaking up the stairs without notifying my secretary…"

*

All in all, Charles very much hopes that Forge has not come across him in any such documents; he'd taken great pains to prevent any such records when he parted ways with the CIA a handful of years back.

"That would be perfectly fine." Charles answers agreeably when Margaret speaks. He tucks his book back in his pocket and waits patiently, rising to his feet and nodding a greeting when Forge appears on the stairs.

Charles steps across the floor, offering his hand. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind in the future," he assures. "Charles Xavier, thank you for seeing me."

*

Luckily, Forge has top level access to Military R&D. But the CIA is another beast entirely, and he's not privy to that documentation. Probably a relief that there's absolutely no recognition. The hand is taken firmly, but hesitantly. "Charles Xavier, huh? Well. I'd like to assume you are just a very direct man. But honestly, my schedule for meetings is very open. …why DID you try to approach my door directly?" Definitely hanged up about that particular part. "…is it something—" He glances to Margaret. "You would rather have off the record?"

*

Considering the CIA should no longer have any documentation either, it is something of a relief. "Something of that nature, yes." Xavier replies with a somewhat rueful smile. "I've learnt some things about you recently, and felt we might have aligning goals."

*

"…learnt some things?" A quick rush through Forge's mind only shows hints of his desire to get further away from the government. Apparently some long-standing deals got ruined by certain Tony Stark's in the last year. But that's something he's always been allowed to do… is Xavier some handler trying to put him back the way they want? "Alright. Follow me." Forge returns to the stairs, and marches his way up. Assuming he's followed, a thumbpad would be used on the door. Then a retinal scanner flits over his eye, before it clicks and opens. …rather impressive technology. Within is a disheveled office full of filing cabinets and whiteboards, the lone desk covered in manilla folders. Two chairs are opposite the main one. When the door closes, Forge pulls out a somewhat boxy device and hits a button. The camera in the corner stops blinking red. "Well, private now." He's not lying. Settling into a chair, brows lift. "So… what sort of goals might you have?"

*

Also of note, at the back is another metal door, no less secure. Must lead further into the building. This room seems mostly for his physical note collection. The whiteboards are literally covered head to toe in ridiculously long mathematical equations… all of which seem to have been successfully solved.

*

The handshake is brief and firm, Xavier smiling with friendly assurance. "I realize that came across rather vague, but I'm not with the government." he clarifies.

Heading back up the stairs and through the door Xavier follows, impressed anew as the device he didn't recognize the purpose of earlier scans Forge's eye. He follows Forge through the open door, and takes a seat comfortably, glancing around with interest at the white boards while the recorders are disabled.

He seems to take Forge at his word, for he doesn't hesitate to nod and say, "Thank you, I appreciate that." and apparently he also meant it about speaking more forthrightly once that was taken care of, for he gets right to the point; "I understand you've been seeking avenues to apply your work where it can be used for good rather than for militarization?"

*

"Uh huh." There's no reason for an agent to lie about things, but that just raises more questions than answers. Although his immediate response to the question is thoughtfulness. "I've been trying to work on humanitarian projects my whole life. But money has always been my main issue. The iteration, the components, trying to work methods for mass production… it's never enough. I end up with something that serves too few that is too expensive." An annoyed scratch of his chin follows. "But yes, generally. Although my contracts are not restricted to that…" After a moment, "Why do you think they HAVE to be good?" He suddenly realizes that, publicly at least, he's never advertised beyond 'technological solutions'…

*

"Because you and I have some things in common besides humanitarian ideals." Xavier says with a little smile. "Though that is a very large part of why I came to speak with you today. I was hoping we could help each other in our respective work to help the people of this world, all the people of this world. But returning to your original question, I think that aspect of your work is important to you because you think it is, very strongly I might add. I'm a mutant you see, as you are."

*

"I'm not sure what you think we have in common…" Forge mumbles, beginning to thumb through his papers. Each one he looks at causes a strange crackle in his mind. Like static; it's not really able to be parsed, beyond a frenzy of almost random impulses, insights, cues for physical motion. His power. "All the people of this world?" That causes him to return his attention directly to Xavier. But then, that bomb drops. For long, long moments nothing is said. "Excuse me?" he repeats, believing he heard it wrong. "Mutant? Me? No… no. Mutants are—they have strange physical defects. Or, or do supernatural things, like… that insect woman. I'm just an inventor, like Dr. Reed, Mr. Stark… Are THEY mutants, too?" After a moment, "And you? What can you do, then?"

*

"Some mutations simply allow a person to do more effectively what others already can do— one might have Olympic strength without training, one's mind might have a preternatural affinity for languages." Xavier says.

Turning his eyes to meet Forge's directly Xavier adds with a knowing look, "Or, they might take mankind's moniker as the 'tool-building' species to the next level, and find that their mind sometimes comprehends the workings of mechanical devices even before they've gone though all the steps that would simply be required for most people to understand them. As for me," he says with a self effacing shrug, "I'm rather like that with people, I suppose. I read minds." he says it honestly and unapologetically, sitting there in Forge's office with his academic cardigan and his friendly smile.

*

"So what, some mutancy is… fairly meaningless? Does that mean another person might just grow fingernails really fast, too?" Forge is not a scientist so much as an engineer, and hasn't much touched on the Mutant phenomenon at all beyond what is publicly known. "So my mutant power is… inventing. Right. That sounds a little too vague to me." But in the back of his head, all the strangeness surfaces. How fast he works. The weird impulses, the strange innovations, the peculiar intuitions. How — unable to write it down he is. He has to work immediately! "Mind reading, huh? What number am I thinking…" 382,178,291. He's not leaving anything up to chance.

*

"Yes, actually." Charles says, always happy to take time out from other things to increase knowledge about what mutants and mutation actually entails. "For example, I know a man who has an incredibly honed sense of smell. Another young man is simply faster than everyone else. His sister, for lack of a better word, is lucky. Quite a few mutations are largely of the mind, as yours and mine are."

A pause is given while Forge considers his own experiences. When the challenge is offered, Xavier tilts his head, but then chuckles when he's asked to give a number. "The old standby— very well, then." he raises two fingers to the side of his head thoughtfully, and starts, "Three, five, nine— " and then laughs. "You can even calculate the odds of my guessing it so quickly? You do have a remarkable mind— but pardon me, I got the two numbers confused for a moment. The one you'd asked for was 382,178,291."

*

"Luck? How can you be lucky? That's not—probability isn't muteable like that. I mean…" He suddenly realizes he's wrong, as a bloom of creative energy surges once more. "I guess… there's a chaos factor in the world… and with enough permutations, cycled near infinitely until a POSSIBLE result happens…" He shakes his head, dismissing it. "How do I know that…?!" More frustrated than anything. Although how many times Xavier has been asked this question might be hard to answer, Forge is very thorough about it. "…" He leans back, rubbing his face. "…So you're a mutant, then." A cloud in his mind. But it's not of distrust, or racism, or fear of inferiority. It's random power in minds who are not prepared for it. The difficulties in society. And also the great good they could do. "I believe you are a Mutant. But I'm still skeptical I am. You are saying… everything I've done, all my learning, my education, was for nothing?" It was. He's always known it was.

*

Perhaps Forge has always known it, but Xavier replies, "Education, experience is never meaningless, Forge." he uses the name Forge is comfortable with, as he tends to with most people.

"We all have to come to understand our gifts to make the most of them, and you've done that far more thoroughly than most."

The fingers fall from Xavier's head, his elbows resting on the arms of his chair. Though he must have picked up another thought on the way past, for he says, "You're right though that those who don't have that experience can be overwhelmed when their powers manifest. When I said before that I had my own work, what I meant was that I am a schoolteacher. A school for mutants, and those with similar challenges."

*

There is another name. But it is buried deep. Beneath dangerous emotions. It would take a more violating probe than surface thoughts. Forge is, for all effective purposes, his real name in everyday use mentally. "Understand… I don't understand it at all. I never did!" Forge hisses out, leaning farther back and looking at his whiteboards. The equations run through his head like hyperspeed, instantly solved, something that might take a scientist a few hours. Is that not him? Was that all just something he was born with? "I made a lot of decisions…" Forge suddenly states. "Decisions based on who I thought I was. And all of it was just a lie?" Apparently, he doesn't believe having a mutant gift is 'him'. Not any more than his magical ability is.

*

Xavier doesn't chase after that other name, respecting those tangled emotions, and Forge's wishes regarding how he is addressed. He does however sit back in his chair and reply, "Is your ability to see a lie? Your ability to read, or laugh, or dream?" Xavier is silent a beat, before he continues, "I imagine all of those things would sound entirely fantastical, possibly even incomprehensible to someone who had never encountered them before. But the nature of each individual's gifts, or where the come from isn't really the crux of the matter, is it? What matters, truly, is what we choose do with them. Don't you think?"

*

"It's not natural." Forge counters, clenching and relaxing his fingers. "Something random, and, and unpredictable…" But somewhere inside himself, he knows that's not entirely the case. It's still quite a lot to take in, which involves mostly rubbing at his face. So he ran from his legacy of being a shaman because he felt he understood machines… but even then, he didn't. It's just something else he was born with. Then what IS him? Does it even exist? "This is a lot to process." he finally offers. "…what did you want from me? To turn my world upside down?"

*

A sympathetic chuckle sounds from Xavier. "No. I had hoped to give you my information in the case we could help one another.. and to let you know the truth of your ability. I'm convinced your education has been helpful in letting you apply it, but understanding just what you're doing without turning away from the realization should help too, in time. There are a lot of lies about mutation in the world," Xavier says, his tone still largely conversational. "And you've helpfully hit on one of them just now." He knows, after all, that Forge is only voicing his own fears, and Xavier would far rather see Forge raise and examine those assumptions than let them fester under the surface.

"But I assure you, evolution is one of the most natural processes on the planet. You are, as we all are, a person deciding what they want from their future given the facilities they possess in the present and the experiences of their past. If you're searching for your identity Forge, I think the question that matters more is what do you want from yourself?"

*

Forge is obviously not in a good place right now. It's not surprising, though. He is not young like many mutants, and has lived with his own interpretation of his gifts for many long decades. Fingers grasp the side of his head, bowed forward, just lost in his own private thoughts. "I don't know." he finally states at the question about what he wants. "I turned my back on my people for this… this mutancy. Because I thought it was the true me. But it's not. It's no different, is it? Something I was born with, like my…" He doesn't bring up his shamanism, though, although the thoughts are not concealed. "So I made the wrong choice, after all. Or was there no right one…?"

*

Xavier folds his fingers on the far side of Forge's desk, taking the questions simply for what they are, a search for truth. Sometimes though when the truth is something inside, there's a limit to how many answers can simply be given. "I suppose that depends, Forge. It sounds as if you'd been hoping to chart your life separate from any sort of naturally inborn aptitude?"

*

Forge does go silent at that. Before slowly shaking his head, still grappling it within his fingers. "I wanted to find a path that fate did not set out for me. I went away from the one I knew about, and right into the one I didn't. Maybe destiny is a cruel mistress. Or maybe this is always how she worked." He just shakes his head then, with a long sigh. "Sorry. This will take some… absorbing. …You said help you? What sort of help do you need?" He pinches his eyes, face pulling into a grimace.

*

"Ah..fate." Xavier echoes. "It's funny, I met another young lady recently who seemed afraid to deviate from whatever fate might have set in store for her, pursuing it even against her own wants and needs. And now I meet you who's doing the same thing for the opposite reason." There's a rueful sort of smile on the telepath's face. "..Both of you are letting your perception of it dictate your choices." the question of what help he might need he leaves for the moment…his own sort of priorities.

*

There's something of a face made by Forge at that. "Fate exists. Whether you accept it or not is the question. I believe if you are willing to sacrifice enough and suffer enough, you can forge your own path. But sometimes it can be conniving, it appears. Mayhaps I was never intended to be the shaman my people wished all along." He still lets out a slow sigh, looking across the formulas on his whiteboards.

*

"I don't argue there is no such thing as fate." Xavier says, weather this may be surprising from such an academic-seeming fellow or not. He just spreads his hands in a shrug and continues, "Only that if your reaction to it is causing you to do something other than what seems right to you, then I wonder if it is worthwhile, at either extreme? If you've chosen the path -you- want, that you think best for yourself and the world, then isn't that a victory, weather you've aligned with fate or broken from it?"

*

Well, Forge is certainly academic at heart too. Although his method of utilizing it is another matter entirely. "…true." Forge mutters lightly, fiddling with a small object from his desk. "I picked the path to try and help the world as best I can. Although I have failed, until now. I think I had been missing something. A connection, perhaps. I simply sat alone and worked in a vaccuum. Perhaps if I'm to help this planet, it will not be alone…"

*

"I've often found that our greatest strengths shine brightest when we are interconnected." Xavier agrees. "And if your perception of what is best changes..well. It's never too late to take a new turn on one's path, after all." That nearly perpetual smile takes on an amused sort of turn. "I think I'm glad that I came to speak with you, in any case. Perhaps you'd like to come and visit our school at some point?" he doesn't say it outright, but he's starting to get the impression that a teaching stint might do Forge quite a bit of good, and they are rather sparse on teachers.

*

"A school? You own a school? I'm not sure how useful I could be, but I don't mind. I've needed some time to clear my head recently." He leans back slightly in his chair, balanced precariously on two legs. He's troubled, and does not have the strongest willpower in many ways, but there's no danger signs that it will end poorly. It might be painful, but he should endure.

*

"I do indeed," Xavier replies. "It's my own way of helping…to see those who are different can have a place to grow and learn in acceptance, and to bring that back with them out into the world. So often, the tragedies that occur in the world seem to take hold through simple ignorance."

A card is produced, and offered to Forge. "You're welcome to stop by any time."

*

The card is taken and eyeballed before being set aside. It might seem dismissive, but he memorized all of the information in a heartbeat. "Sure. Yeah. I'll come check it out." he mumbles. "Is it… full of mutants? Like you?" He leaves out the 'and me' part of that.

*

There's a chuckle, and a nod. "Yes, a good part of them, at least. Some others with circumstances of their own." Xavier replies.

*

A slow sigh from Forge follows, once more balancing himself on his seat. "Mmm." he offers, already beginning to lose himself to his personal thoughts. "Well. Thank you for upending my life. Although I was already suspicious, after meeting another individual… so it could have been worse, I suppose…"

*

The comment is taken with good humor, and Xavier replies, "You're very much welcome, Forge. And now I suspect I've taken quite enough of your time for one day, it's been a pleasure to meet you."

*

Another murmur leaves the man. "Yes. Right. Well, talk anytime…" he allows, beginning to ruffle through papers pointlessly to busy his hands, although his thoughts are on anything but his work.

*

"I'll keep that in mind." Xavier agrees, getting to his feet. "And if I can be of help, do let me know. You're a man who's been searching all your life for your purpose. I suspect when you truly find it, you're going to change a good many lives for the better." and with a tip of his head and a sparkle in his eye, he heads out the way he came in.

*

A hand raises towards Xavier, dismissively. The door slides closed and locks once more, leaving Forge in the sterile world he's created for himself. He thinks he needs a good, hard drink for the first time in a long while…

*

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