1964-05-31 - Welcome to the Illuminati
Summary: Jean Grey approaches Reed Richards with a clandestine invite.
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jean-grey reed-richards 

Security here is, in fact, largely automated. Sure, there's Willie Lumpkin, the retired mailman, playing the part of security guard out front, wiggling his ears with a twinkle in his eye and charming the folks who came to sell things to Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four - before politely turning them away, of course.

But beyond Willie, there were scanners, cameras, weights and measures. She sat in an elevator that seemed to take far too long even to reach the top of this very tall building and, in fact, felt as if it were sometimes going sideways or diagonally, if the shifting of her organs were to be trusted.

But here she is now, in a sterile, white room, sat before a table. A door on the other side opens and in steps Reed himself, clad in a white shirt, blue tie, lab coat.

"You must be Miss Grey. I understand you wanted to see me?" he says, taking a seat and seeming very much like a relatively normal person, not the world's most famous super scientist.

Requesting to meet with Mr. Richards was.. a little bit intrusive. In fact, there was no idea that her little plan or idea would work, everything was done on a whim of necessity, and complete urgency. Not to mention, there were things that she wanted to ask the man himself before she even proposes the idea of what she really wanted to do. But there she sat, her fingers fiddling with the other, her eyes darting a little to the left and then a look up as soon as the door itself opens.

The sterile room? She appreciates it. It didn't smell or make her stomach hurt.

As he enters, Jean clears her throat and stands, her glasses pushed further upon her face before she uses that same hand to reach out for a shake. "Yes. I wanted to see you to discuss an opportunity that I think would be beneficial to us all." A little smile here, but it drops for favor of professionalism. "But, before I present, I do have a few questions that I'd like to ask you."

Reed Richards takes a seat easily enough, "I never object to questions. Questions are essential, after all. Without questions, we do not learn," he says. He presses a button on the underside of the table and a small panel opens in its center. A carafe rises, attached to a simple silver machine, accompanied by a set of stainless steel cups, four in all.

"Would you care for something to drink? Coffee, tea, lemonade? I even have an attachment that makes Italian style espresso, it's a foaming coffee concoction you find in certain bistros, quite bracing and indulgent," he says. Apparently, the device can produce any of these drinks, provided the right button is selected.

Realizing he's digressed, Reed clears his throat, "But, yes, please, proceed, young lady," he says.

Jean stands there a moment, her hand outstretched, which was soon brought to her dress to smooth down before she settles into her seat. She wasn't one with the most perfect posture, but she does straighten up to make sure that she felt a little bit taller than what she was. As he presses the button, her eyes widen just a touch, her mouth dropping a little then snapping shut, her fingers lifting to scratch along her cheeks as she gives a slight shrug of her shoulders. "Coffee is fine. Black. No sugars."

A little smile given, and she clears her throat to ask the one question she's always wanted to know ever since the reveal of the Fantastic Four. "Why do people like you?" She pauses for a moment, then continues. "There are people out there, mutants that can do what you can do. Who show the same care and compassion to others and of their craft. But it seems as if mutants suffer where you and your family do not. Why is this?"

Reed Richards pours the coffee carefully. He hadn't anticipated the tenor of Jean's question. He tried not to make suppositions or predictions without sufficient data, and, in truth, he didn't know enough about Jean to make reliable predictions as to her agenda. The question makes him think, though.

"I admit, social sciences aren't particularly my forte," he says. "I suspect human behavior has more deterministic qualities than people like to imagine, guided by chemical and molecular interactions as much, if not more, than any ethereal, spiritual aspects that can't be measured. I do not trust things that resist measurement,' he says.

"Part of it may be that they understand that our powers came from an accident, from the outside, while mutant abilities manifest spontaneously. Your child isn't likely to fly a rocket into outer space and be exposed to cosmic rays - but anyone can give birth to a mutant. That's the very nature of mutation - it's random, unpredictable or, at the very least, gives that appearance."

"And we have been public. Mutants are often seen as secretive, hiding their natures. That isn't fair or, in fact, true - many mutants cannot hide at all and those who do largely make that choice out of self-defense. But suspicion and paranoia have never been reasonable emotions,' he says.

"But I do not agree with prejudice. People should be judged by their actions and character. And possessing superhuman abilities does not make anyone less than human."

As the coffee was carefully poured, Jean accepts the cup, drawing the rim to her nose to sniff before she sets it down upon the table to wait for it to cool. "Thank you.." She murmurs quietly, listening to his explanation with a purse of her lips. She could understand, yes. She wanted to see if he did as well.

"But they do not choose to be born. Secrecy is a reaction to the hate that they receive." She points out, her finger-nailed tip tapping upon the surface. "Going public for mutants that are able to hide will possibly face more scrunity than they've signed up for."

But her question satisfied, she goes a little further. "And the non-humans that currently reside on this planet?"

Reed Richards takes a sip of his own coffee, adding a bit of sugar and cream from handy dispensers. "As I said, it's not a fair or logical response. It's primal, fight or flight. There might even be base evolutionary pressures in play - I imagine Neanderthal man wasn't particularly keen on the rise of homo sapiens. People fear what they don't understand and even scientists don't yet fully grasp the mechanisms of genetic mutation. Genetics itself is in its infancy as a science!"

"As for the recent alien incursions - I don't know that they're being particularly embraced. Individuals have been, yes, largely based on their actions, but I think the average man on the street still has a healthy suspicion of 'little green men'."

"I'm not sure I'm the person best qualified to offer solutions on the matter of mutant relations. I think, for example, Professor Charles Xavier might be a greater mind than mine on the matter."

Jean immediately shakes her head at the mention of Charles after all that's said and done. Finally taking her coffee to sip, the bitterness of it all, her lips pucker just a touch and makes a loud popping noise. "What I'm about to ask of you, and of other people Charles will not condone of." Taking another, healthier sip of her coffee, she finally sets the glass down, both hands brought upon the table to lace fingers with the other.

"I plan to bring the greatest thinkers of the world together, in one room, to attempt to influence and help steer the world into the right direction. Defenses, ideals, leadership. But only if we cannot, and will not take those positions ourselves. I would ideally like for us to act in the shadows. Assisting where we can. Doing what we can. Discussing what we can and coming up with options. We will not be like your Fantastic Four. Nor would we be like any of the other government sanctioned teams.. no. We'll be silent. Secret. Moving where others do not. If we will. Like you were, our eyes will be turned to the skies and beyond."

There was a second thought to this, which has her rubbing the back of her neck. "I am not as smart or worldly as the Professor. But I have experience. Too much. I love this world and I wish to protect it for all it's faults. I believe that .. if this idea comes into fruition, it will succeed and we can learn more from each other in the interim."

Reed Richards listens to her words carefully, stroking a hand along his chin as he considers.

"What you're proposing sounds, in some ways, very dangerous. The idea of an elite group steering the affairs of men, manipulating people from behind the scenes - it strikes at the very hearts of the kind of fears we saw stoked so high after the assassination of President Kennedy. Even now, there's suspicion everywhere in regards to foreign assassins and influences. It goes against some of the ideals of American democracy," he says.

"But," he says, raising a finger before he gives his own counterpoint, "I can also see the value. Certainly in having the meeting itself - a thinktank, a consulting group. I'm not sure how much I trust the idea of direct influence, even hidden influence. But thinking about the world's problems, exchanging ideas and inspiration? I think the formation of such a committee might be very useful indeed. And the rest can be a subject of discussion."

"Who else were you considering issuing an invitation to this group?"

"I know it sounds dangerous. But I saw many different variations on which this thing works." Her finger taps against the table, then towards her head. "I'm no precog. I cannot see the future, it was all a computer simulation created by the Shi'ar. Alien race. Long story. Will divulge another time." But, he was right in a few ways, more so than others. Clandestine was her endgame, they would essentially be the hands that quietly and secretly turn the tide..

But he hitches on a word, a word she herself couldn't have thought of with her current education, and soon her hand lifts in a sharp snap to point. "Yes! Think tank! Greatest minds, you see! Even the most.. terrible.." Her brows furrow just a touch, then her face relaxes and lightens. "I have one person in mind that you'd appreciate."

Her nose wrinkles, her smile almost cute as a button, her look so innocent one wouldn't believe that such a thing she's thinking would be in play. "Anthony Stark, for one."

Reed Richards watches Jean's expression curiously, wondering just who she might have in mind. He can think of a few terrible minds, "Tony Stark seems like a wise choice, yes. Tony's highly intelligent, even if he isn't always particularly well-behaved,' he says with a hint of censure in his voice. He finds Tony bright but frivolous.

"If you were considering the tyrant of Latveria, I will warn you that the gentleman in question holds something of a grudge against me. Not to mention he's something of a hostile power. He has a fine and great mind, but it's been long since broken and twisted to bad ends."

"I know." Jean murmurs quietly. This was mostly due with her interactions with Charles and peeking inside his memories more often than not. "He seems like the good sort. I do hope that he'd be a willing participant, the greatest minds all in one room.." Except for Jean.. "We can come up with solutions that would make the world a better place, and defendable."

As he mentions Mr. Doom, Jean's head shakes almost immediately. "He's too.. no. I was thinking of the Crazed King that Charles had dealt with. I often feel his mind around the mansion.." The slip of her own powers given, and she breaks out into a smile. "I'm a telepath."

Reed Richards nods softly, "I had wondered. That you were a mutant I took as a given, with your line of questioning. Telepathy makes sense as well - your manner of speech indicates that you're almost anticipating, listening with more than your ears. Not that I think you're reading my thoughts - I think it's a matter of possessing an additional sense that others don't. It can't help but affect you," he says.

"I would certainly be willing to have such a meeting. I'm not particularly fond of kings, as a rule - I think monarchy has had its time and should probably be left on history's dustbin. But I'm never offended to listen to ideas. Even from madmen. I've been called mad a time or two."

"A mutant with a monkey on her back.." Jean mumbles quietly. Though the Woman does not make an appearance, she -is- felt by the pressing of weight down upon Jean's shoulders. This is what makes her face scrunch up, not as if she were in pain, but weighted down with the entire room and attempting to save face. "Telekinetic as well." She finally admits. "And pyrokinetic. But that's neither here nor there." Her hand waves.

"Some do still say that you are mad. Brilliant, kind, and mad. Always working, never demanding unless there is a reason, often times disappearing for days.." Whispers begin to coalesque in her mind as she collects the gathered information from the minds within the building. Information that pertains to Reed only and not their daily lives. In which, she shares but a tiny glimpse of those whispers. Reed was generally liked, admired, and oft frightening with his clarity and understanding of his work.

She pulls away then, and offers up another smile. "We are the first of the Illuminati. Shall we toast, coffee to fancy coffee?"

Reed Richards raises his cup and clinks it against hers, nodding in agreement with her toast. He wasn't entirely sure of this endeavor, yet. But he was curious and intrigued. And Reed Richards wasn't the kind of man to walk away from such a thing.

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