1964-05-06 - Lady in a Daze
Summary: Maximus the King has a few revelations for his potential subject.
Related: Who You Gonna Call?
Theme Song: N/A
vesper maximus 


The home of Maximus the Mad is amazing. It is an entire half a building, at the top. Big windows put everything on display, but only if you happen to be another rich person. It is completely decorated…and stunning. Hardwood floors, and a grand piano make the first impression, and from there, its all open spaces, light colors, and white leather furniture. There's a Degas hanging in the living room he drags Vesper into, and from there she can see that the bedroom is in an asian style, with a low bed and branches from a cherry tree sculpted out of gold-plated metal. Yeah. Its like that.

*

An enormous building is not the place where Vesper expects to end up. Neither did she expect a man with golden skin to resurrect a zombie or announce her lifelong medical disabilities originate from 'junk DNA' and something that otherwise would sound terribly nonsensical. Except it does not. She is nearly as competent in her field as he is, and may have a thing or two to say. The Frenchwoman travels in silence with Maximus. Only once will she ask to slow down to catch her breath. Not entirely necessary. But the coughing for once is productive, even if it nearly doubles her over at the force.

She has been to Maximus' grandiose palais — won't convince her to think otherwise — the once. Coming back again empty-handed is rather unnerving. Dragged is a good word, too, since she hardly has the computing capacity to make sense of anything. Except, "You have good taste in art."

*

"Shut up." Maximus says rudely. "Listen…everything that happened out there, you need to know something. /If/ you are like me, then you are my subject. And if you aren't like me…trying to activate that DNA will kill you." He wets his lips.

*

That, atop already being treated rudely by the brown-haired mutant woman, brings Vesper round. Her gaze is averted, and her jaw tightens. Doors effectively slam in one's face and she retreats back into the familiar. Gallic etiquette gives plenty of indications about how to be in this. "What are you?"

*

"I am an Inhuman. We are humans that have alien DNA in us from a time long past…that can be activated to give us incredible abilities." Maximus gives her the one-sentence version, because more would be giving up more than he wants to, to someone NOT Inhuman.

*

"You think I am too. Based on the gold doctor you want as a naked fountain." Vesper is very much to the point when the circumstances require it. She holds her hands in front of her, still trying to fathom why on earth it doesn't hurt to breathe. Something the mutant did, clearly. Both of them might be purged of their toxins, but the difference is probably weeks to a decade of deliberate poisoning. "My body has been killing me for years. How… activating?"

*

"Your body is simply more sensitive to pollution. We all are. That is why this modern world is…well, do not worry about that. Josh healed you of it, that is all. Not every Inhuman is affected as you have been though." Maximus paces, thoughtful. "Perhaps you are not, after all. You may simply be part Kree."

*

Vesper holds her hands in a firm clasp. Her fingers fold onto her palms and maybe catch a bit of her skirt to boot. The scratches formerly across her knees are gone. Bruises won't ever form. Every breath poisons her, still, but not in a way that hurts quite so badly as it might have an hour ago.

"Josh is the doctor." Facts. Let's focus on facts. "I do not know what this 'Kree' is. Or how… aliens… could? My parents are not aliens. They are French. Normal people."

*

"Ohhh…one is Inhuman too, if you are. Though…they /are/ the descendants of traitors, defectors, those who fled the protective homeland and have faded from their true heritage, lost the connection, lost the memory of what they really are. You would be too. But…I am afraid the only way to find out would be exposure to the terrigen which would kill you if we're wrong." Maximus frowns some, considering. "That, and perhaps you are not worthy or prepared for terrigenisis anyway."

*

Eyes narrow fractionally, the facts absorbed through the lens of a scientist's thought. "Another of these words I do not know. Think me a student to a new field, one not taught anywhere. Monsieur, a little more context, please." Vesper reflexively clenches her hands tighter around her skirt. The need for modesty is built in, even though her feelings trend in another direction. Meek, reasonable, polite. The command words of women in academia. "The Inhumans are… a people sensitive to pollution. They get sick. It is because their DNA is different. Their DNA has trash or unnecessary pieces. These pieces are activated to have incredible things or abilities. Like Monsieur Captain America? Or the golden Doctor? He was certain it was not a mutation, no X-Gene, but it comes from aliens. These 'Kree?'" Her brow is creased in thought, mouth pressed down. "You cannot know what I am. Is this why Monsieur Le Cousin told me to examine my DNA? Before all this?"

*

Never mind Gorgon is probably going to punt someone now.

*

Maximus listens, patiently, as she puts together all the puzzle pieces. "See? You did not need my help after all. You figured it out. Yes, to everything. And if Gorgon told you to examine your DNA, then he probably sniffed the Kree on you. It would be worth asking him what he senses, before doing anything that might kill you." He makes his first and second fingers into legs, and 'walks' them along the edge of the grand piano.

*

"Au contraire, Monsieur, I have…" Her head dips, and Vesper presses her lips together. Not enough to sting, but the pressure of her teeth hurts. At least that is familiar, a little. "This is my life. If this is true then it changes everything. I don't even know what is real." Her eyes narrow, blurring the piano and the man in front of it. "Who are you?"

*

"I am Maximus, King of the Inhumans." He gestures to himself and then swings the hand out wide. "If it is true, then you are more amazing than you ever dreamed. And…you probably belong on the genetic council." He wets his lips, slowly, like a predator that has just come up with a way to devour an entire genetic council.

*

A king. "The French are not very good with their kings," Vesper says. A spot of rue, a dash of regret, she can probably be forgiven for remembering how they got the Tricolour in the first place. Liberte, Egalite, Guillotines for all is not a great slogan. "Like Queen Elizabeth, then? I have not heard of an Inhuman nation. And how anything is true — why wouldn't my parents have told me? How could they not know?" A shiver runs through her before she even sees the obvious, and her hand goes to her mouth. The rose smudges at her cheeks return. Oh he might just swallow her whole.

*

"Perhaps they do know. You should ask them…see their reaction. Regardless, I am /hesitant/ to murder you. I like you just enough to feel like that would cause me some regret. If you were not Inhuman, that is. We should find out for certain what you are. Do your parents yet live?" Maximus asks curiously, before answering, finally, "The Inhumans are secretive."

*

ROLL: Vesper +rolls 1d20 for a result of: 19

*

"Mais oui. Shall we go out to LaGuardia and fly to Paris? I am certain Maman and Papa's welcome would impress even a king, even if one incognito." Vesper might not be serious, but she feels around for the familiar shape of her keys in her coat pocket. "Possibly ideal before you put my head in a basket. To have a king's regret is a little like a king's healing touch. Unless that golden man could not do what he did without you."

*

Maximus lifts a hand. "Miss…I am not going to France. You can call them from my phone though, if you want." He grins crookedly. "Have you seen my friend? No, not friend. Guard? He would have to come with me and…he is an unconventional size. It would be very inconvenient. And I believe the GOlden man can heal with or without my presence. He claimed to be very good at it."

*

Vesper plays for a little time, thinking. A moment longer, a minute lived. "I do not know they would be awake this hour. We are not close." Their schedules are probably affected by a five hour timezone difference, too. Worth being mindful of. How much information is too much information, she has yet to suss out. The reeling state can be explained away in the morning with a hangover, maybe, not that she has wine or liquor to make the state of the shock vanish. "Are those your cousins? The ones we met in the cafe. Why did you throw pastries at me?"

*

"They are. Also royalty, by virtue of their relation to me. And I did not throw pastries at you. I threw pastries at the window. That is completely different." Maximus smiles, friendly as a tweeting bird.

*

Vesper nods slowly. "They are good croissants. Proper ones from a real patisserie — a French bakery." Her thoughts skim as light as a bird through the air, though the exact nature of that bird varies. Her mind isn't so much a tern as a peregrine or a herrier, suddenly stooping to pounce on a choice subject. "Where are these Inhuman peoples? Do they have their own country? How is it no paper speaks about you the way they do the King of Wakanda?"

*

As an afterthought, she adds softly, "Other than the fact of certain death."

*

"They have their own city." Maximus insists. "It is a large city, and a hidden one. All Inhumans are supposed to live there. But…now and then, some escape, go out into the rest of the world. And from that, we get, people like you. No paper speaks of me because I did not announce myself to the world. I simply came here…to learn about humans and in particular, mutants. Humans are constantly threatening us with their increase of pollution. I do this…for the good of my people." Maximus just lies his damn ass off, but there is so much truth woven in between that he may currently believe it himself.

*

"A city-state. As Venice, then, or the Vatican. Surely larger than the Vatican." And let's face it, Maximus is no Pope, lacking the ceremonial additions to go with it, though he might be another sixty years younger than the current holder of the Papal tiara. Nor is he quite so responsible for shepherding many hundreds of millions on ethical, religious, and spiritual issues. Her fingers skate up her cheekbone, feeling the bony uplift approaching her cavernous eyesocket. They skim over her hairline and away from her temples. Nothing feels any different than it did a few hours ago. Nothing really shapes her differently.

Her mouth tightens. "I die if I am not one of you. The other choice, then everything in my life isn't really mine either. What happens then?"

*

"What do you mean? If you are not Inhuman, then none of this matters and you carry on with your life, as always, perhaps making friends with that doctor that can heal you when you need it." Maximus answers, leaning more heavily on the grand piano. "If you are Inhuman…then you will have…choices to make, sides to be on, and questions for your traitorous line."

*

One word forces her to zero in and she registers the statement with a startled jump to her posture, like an accidental shock taken from a line. "Traitor? How are anyone traitors? Two hours ago I did not know you existed. Now some law has been broken?" Vesper loses the little colour she had to start with, eyes dangerously bright. Her teeth grate, not making much sound.

*

"I thought I explained it. For you to be outside of Attilan, then /someone/ in your family line was a traitor. I am not calling you a traitor. I am saying that someone, maybe your parents, or maybe someone in your like 200 years ago, left the city." Maximus arches a brow.

*

"I suppose this sounds confusing. Because you are out in the world, and your family. It contends maybe others have gone for reasons. Now, before? How…" It doesn't bear asking how they track things or do not. Tracking is a modern convenience. She steps back and turns, putting her hand to her brow. For Vesper, the need to move is profound, the desire to constantly stand still as a necessity for her health ignored for a moment. "Two hundred years ago, they emigrate? Maman and Papa are French. The family is all French, I think? Our name is. I'm sorry. We do not talk very much like a family. It is not the same as… here. Because I was sick, I stayed away from them a very long time."

*

"I understand. Its simple, now, what we must do. As I said, none of this matters unless you are Inhuman. I am out in the world because the situation of pollution is already becoming dire, as it did in the Industrial age, when we had to move our city." Maximus just keeps on lie-truth-telling. "I am here for my people. I know that I may seem cruel, sometimes, but…it is because I always put them first."

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