1964-05-26 - For King and Country
Summary: Gorgon dashes Maximus' hopes to be #1 King of Attilan.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
gorgon vesper 

Chelsea Market is a buzzing hive of activity, partly indoor and partly spilling out into the street where anyone with a van or truck pulls up with their goods. The informal, busy nature of the place holds a certain chaotic appeal. Flowers in buckets or fresh bread are hawked right alongside household items, secondhand books and clothes, and a colourful assortment of vendors whose actual purpose isn't easy to discern. An actual spicemonger here, someone raising cacti over there, all mean to entice the unsuspecting to part with their hard earned money.

Vesper walks through the scene of normalcy, soaking it in. After living in her lab for the better part of a week, this is exactly the sort of relief she needs. People in proximity. Normal behaviour.

She pauses in front of a display of multiple flowers, considering between calla lilies and daisies, carnations and hydrangea balls.


"It's good to see you out and about," says a deep, masculine voice behind her. Gorgon Petragon stands there — long coat and very baggy pants — with a newspaper tucked under one arm. His mane of hair keeps falling down over his face, not that he minds. It hides the vestigial horns on his brow.

"The… markets here are a bit different to Attilan. I don't understand most of this… merchandise. The flowers make sense at least. Ours are tended by florakine — men and women who can 'talk' to plants. I… usually just step on them."


How does a man so tall sneak up out of nowhere? This fact will register after Vesper jumps a good few inches to the left, startled out of her wits from admiring a globe of pretty purple and blue flowers clustered together. Her sunglasses slip down her nose, revealing a brief glimpse of doe-brown eyes. Her chest rises and falls in rapid oscillations in surprise, her arm lifted to angle over her chest.

It takes her a few more seconds to swallow and catch her breath. Her gaze fixes up somewhere above the general range of other people in the market.

"Did he send you?" The question is a bit blunt, even for her, but she looks over her shoulder in case a very likely mad king is bearing down on her to drag her back. "I stepped out for only an hour. He can't be upset by that." Her eyes show bruised shadows underneath. She's not sleeping well, or has started down the path to sickness again. "It's safe to shop here, oui? Food and the things someone needs."


"He," replies Gorgon, emphasising the word a bit. "Did not. My orders to watch over you come from the Genetics Council." The big Inhuman smiles. "You're special, Vesper. Don't forget that."

At her question about the safety of shopping in such a place, Gorgon frowns, then casts his eyes about the area — taking stock of potential threats, exits, potential weapons and the like — and looks back at her with a shrug.

"Safe as any other place. What are you worried about?"


Her averted gaze eyes the hydrangea, and she fishes out her coin purse. A few quarters shaken free add to a dollar bill, and she hands it over. Apparently the whole francs to dollars conversion is lacking, because all the quarters come back and three bunches of the round flowers with them. Together, she looks like a French girl with floral balloons. If only hydrangeas floated.

Nothing in the market presents a threat, other than the truth. Vesper says, "Information has big teeth. I feel rather sharply bitten, that is all." Before the curious florist can look too closely at either of them, she turns and starts to walk alongside Gorgon whichever way he points. "I had a foolish thought in the middle of the night." No need to tell him that it was asleep on a centrifuge case. "Attilan. It sounds to me very… Aztec, almost, or something else." Her French accent grows slightly more pronounced, making it more like 'At-lan' than Ah-til-lan. "Maybe it has a common stem with other words? So I think, Atlantique, atlas. This is common to another word, too, Atlantis, the place Plato tells us of. An island of Atlas, very advanced, off in the sea. A place of a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power."


Gorgon strokes his bearded chin.

"It… certainly sounds similar," says he, considering Vesper's description of his homeland… and the people who exiled him. "Someday… you'll see it for yourself."

He rolls his shoulders, first the left, then the right.

"What else has Maximus told you?" he asks rather bluntly.


Vesper frowns slightly, her nose wrinkling under the bridge of the sunglasses. "And will I be allowed to leave? I think my parents will be in trouble. He suggested that much." Her tone is fairly neutral and guarded, proof of a few lessons learned.

She holds the flowers in front of her, not quite a bride going down the aisle, but very close. "There are kings. There must be those not King's, some kind of structure. Is there a caste system I am to expect? Given I am… from outside. And not like anyone else, not fortunate enough to be of a line of kings or a house of some kind."

It's ironic, being from a country that very famously beheaded its monarchs, overthrew the restoration, and calls itself La Republique. They're only in the fifth, of course, in a century of freedom from monarchs.

"He has told me what, I think, he believes is safe. Nothing to say I will not go running off screaming."


"I won't lie to you," Gorgon replies while examining some other wares in a window nearby. "Ours is a… strict system. A system of Order… or it was until Maximus staged the coup that made him king temporarily."

The big man takes a breath and lifts his chin. "Ours is a caste system, yes. Your position within it is determined by the Genetics Council — even before you go through the Mists. Once you have emerged, however, a new role — a new life — will be chosen for you, depending upon your gifts. One of the highest honours in our society is to be selected for the Royal Guard — whom I lead. With your… particular heritage, I'd expect something amazing in you, once your are transfigured."

He says that with serious gravity.


Her step falters. It's actually fairer to say Vesper trips. Her foot comes down wrong and she turns, making the awkward worse by jostling a few people who shoot her dirty looks. But she doesn't go down to her knees, catching herself with her elbow on a metal pole.

It will hurt. Has to, her funny bone radiating a sudden nervelessness up that limb.

"What?" A low, furtive whisper is the sort to sink ships. "Wh-what do you mean? A coup?"

The rest goes in one ear, maybe out the other.


Gorgon turns to look straight at Vesper, but waits for some other shoppers to walk on by before actually replying.

"A little over ten years ago, Maximus mind-controlled a group of… sub-inhumans, Alpha-Primitives, to overthrow the Family-Royal. King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa were dethroned, and the entire Family-Royal exiled. I…"

And he falters here a bit.

"Was forced to stay and serve the Usurper… until the Genetics Council moved against him, and then exiled Maximus. They sent me here… with a mission. There is no king or queen of Attilan now — the Genetics Council rule the city. It is… an improvement on what was, under the Usurper's rule."

A pause.

"Are you alright?" he asks with a frown. "Does that… happen often?" Referring to the tripping over.


The student in her knows how to keep her mouth shut. Vesper hasn't learned to navigate the patriarchal environment of upper academia without shutting her mouth, biting her tongue, and being a good young lady. Seen, not heard.

She chews the inside of her cheek, the information learned. But the upward creep of her thin, arched brows is just about permanent. Please let those be nicknames, really.

"What happened to them? The dethroned monarchs. They lived? A nice retirement in Great Britain, or were they removed as dangers to the throne? I know Mademoiselle Crystal — she was not. And you, she, and Maximus all seemed to get along cordially." Or cordially enough. He's the mad king. She has the memory scars to prove it.

The flowers are checked, not crushed so much as rustled and shaken. Smoothing over the curling leaves, she forces a polite smile to her mouth. "I've been sick all my life. Sometimes too much to leave my bed, Monsieur Gorgon. By rights I am lucky to be standing. Now add that… everything… is not the same. And your names are Greek, like a philosopher twenty centuries ago predicted. Now tell me there is a mountain you live on and I will get the fainting spell over with."


"That will no longer be the case, once you go through the Mists…" Gorgon remarks, although it is not entirely true. All Inhumans are susceptible to human diseases, but usually Terrigenesis makes the Inhuman stronger. Usually.

"As for the Royals, they were commissioned to learn about the non-inhuman populace on the planet. There is… a threat to us, out here among these humans. We need to discover it. The true king and queen — and the family, just like me — move among the humans AS humans…"

His voice trails off and he scowls a bit; he does not like this idea — the Royals masquerading as commoners… it leaves a sour taste in his mouth. All this work is beneath him… and he he still does it. He must.

Orders are orders.

"Our names… comes from many places, but it's true most of us are named for figures in mythology. In some cases… we ARE those figures. Sort of. It's complicated. Once we transform, we tend to take new names as befitting our new role in society, new purpose in life."


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License