1964-06-30 - Challenging the King-ish
Summary: Max is King? Well some people have words.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
karnak maximus nexus vesper 

Its the morning after Vesper's transformation, and though Nexus discovered her and helped settle her— he doesn't yet know who it is. But he knows what was done, and he has a matter to talk to. Before Nexus arrives, every machine in Max's apartment is his: and all of them refuse to do anything at all. The elevator even refuses to move, at least until Nexus gets there and summons it. He's speaking before the door is fully open and he lets himself into the once-King's apartment, "What have you done?" he demands.

Maximus turns towards the elevator that opens up right into the apartment. Max does have some things that are not connected to systems, or do not involve computers, but for the most part, Nexus could shut him down. He lifts his hand and looks the man up and doown, slowly. "You really are attractive when you are upset. Are you going to grab my shirt? Jostle me around a bit?" He curves a maniac's grin across his face.

|ROLL| Maximus +rolls 1d20 for: 19

New York stands on a grid. A regular network of roads and sewers and water pipes lie flat on the terrain. Neat pipes and wires honeycomb the upright buildings. Antennae and towers punctuate rooftops around the urban centre. Maximus' penthouse is closee to the sky and high above the crammed sidewalk but it's a bower and a blink away. The wires are a hammock for a resting presence caught in the fire and the glow. Dim pulses naturally passing through at the call of a switch dimly rouse it. It sinks back into quiescence after a weak exchange, always the same. Be free…

"I do not care if you think you are king or not, but it is not given to the kings of Attilan the power to unilaterally expose someone to the mists, and especially not in the way that you did that. Whoever it was, was not in any way prepared as they should have been — it was wild, bouncing around the sky, confused, not even certain who they were or what had happened to them." Nexus glares at the once-King, the circuits in his skin bright white, "Who did you do it to? Were they at least screened by the Council first?"

"Not in any way!" Maximus smiles boldy at Nexus. "I determined that to save her life…she needed the Mists. She was dying. I saved her. Then I watched her hatch and it was magnificent. She is at last her true self…/free/. Vesper. Do you remember her?" Maximus runs his hand through his hair. "They gave me back my crown, by the way. You should mind how you speak to your King. Though, currently…I embrace your anger…"

|ROLL| Vesper +rolls 1d20 for: 10

The morning sun creeps up the horizon and chases away the shadows. It paints the glass panes and sneaks into every corner, exploring. But the machines in the penthouse are comparatively quiescent. The presence is still floating in the blue, dreaming whatever dreams are shared by particles, waves, and hopping quarks.

Nexus is a blur: he moves faster then any human, faster even then any inhuman— for in a moment he doubles his speed and halves his endurance. He rushes in to try to grab Maximus by the shirt collar, sudden fury showing on his features, "Her name." he says, voice cold, "… is _Astraea_, my *sister*. You have exposed a Councilor's daughter to the Mists without the Council's consent, without so much as a single genetic screening. She is mad with confusion, Maximus, and if she does not recover— if she is not able to find Self and being, I will kill you, king or not. How dare you."

Maximus waits a moment…enjoying the feeling of being pushed around, but then he lashes right back at the man, trying to wrap his mind around Nexus' and says, clearly, "Unhand me." Then he'll let go again, and continues, "She is the daughter of a traitor…if she dies, it will be no worse a fate than the Genetic Council would have given her. You were interested in her from the start…and not in a good way. What has changed your mind?"

Where is the way out?

A glimmer-spark brightens the network. It starts as a mere globule of activity isolated essentially off Nexus' left shoulder and down. Four distinct strikes measure the progress the signal makes answering that question. First too high. Another point gets lost and the disused circuitry a floor down isn't having a good day.

I can hear you. Where are you? Nexus! Can you hear me?

The globe slides oh so slowly across wires fried by its passage. The downstairs neighbour is going to probably wonder why the sockets and fixtures in that room don't work.

Hello? If there's anything that can receive and the technopath allows it, a chorus sings the question to him. Otherwise, she's banging on the wires until tripping on a socket. And that socket happens to be in the room the two Inhumans are in.

Nexus' mind is seized and he is forced to let go of Maximus, but the glare is intense. "You will not call my mother a traitor." he warns dangerously, "What changed my mind is I ran her genome against our records to determine when it was her ancestors left Attilan, and discovered she was my long thought dead sister. The sister kidnapped and thought killed when Cynas refused to sway her vote before the Council. She could have returned to Attilan and lived a life there, safe, secure and healthy — you didn't do even the most basic genetic screening, did you? The recklessness of it. Do you forget our histories? The entire reason for the Council itself? We nearly went extinct from exposing ourselves to the Mists without the Genetic Council screening and breeding" But he hears the voice on the signal, and for a moment Maximus is forgotten: he reaches out and turns a radio and turns it on, directing the presence towards it, "Astraea Vesper. I can hear you." He hesitates, "I… do not know how to get you out, I don't know what happened to your body." Or if she is now permanently disembodied. He sounds deeply concerned. "Wait, perhaps I can help you coalesce— focus into a more singular point…" She can feel his mind reach to the signal and try to guide-focus-coalesce her energy.

Maximus snaps back at Nexus, "You forget who was the most screened of all…and he still turned out to be a danger to everyone! I knew what she was…and I believe she was going to be targetted for her research. I did what I wanted, but I also did what was best. Though…I will admit…probably surprising her was not the most logical choice, but…" He makes a little gesture. "Vesper…come…I can tell you are out there. You can form yourself again. I believe in you, beautiful."

Camels may not pass through the eyes of needles. Light knows no such barriers to domed sockets acting like tunnels. The metal plate in front rattles as it heats up, and the radio whines with a pop as the starry fire forgets for a moment whatever shape it should be. It merely happens the corner of the room around the men misbehaves according to physics and brightens by a full two points of luminosity. The stray sunbeam flits about on her own frequency. The important lesson she has learned is to be slow. Slow is hard. The radio sparks and squeaks again as she waves around in front of it. Nothing happens as the signal hums through her, strong as anything. She waves at the dial again.

Hand. That's the missing part. Fingers to —

— and there she is, conjured from a wavering spiral of motes where her feet would be all the way to a full glow of light at her head. Clothes are present in shape at least, but she presses the dial. It doesn't move. "Turn."

"The screening isn't perfect, but its better then genetic chaos— which is what it is to not screen at all. More, you simply had no right. Terrigenesis is not forced on people, and kings do not have the authority to unilaterally bestow it." Nexus grits his teeth, the anger still heavily on his features. Once Vesper begins to manifest, he clenches his jaw: the sudden urge to punch Maximus becomes nearly unbearable. But he doesn't give into violence, not yet. He tries to support Vesper's coalescene, her being, using his mind to help shape and concentrate her energy into a form. He doesn't know if she has a real body or if she will be an analog ghost forever, but if he can he will help gather and hold her together. "What are you doing, sister?"

Maximus draws in a deep breath as he sees Vesper come together for the first time since her rebirth. "It is done, now. There is nothing to do but to move forward. She trusted me." He wets his lips. The setting is that Maximus, Nexus and Vesper are in his penthouse, where there is a giant statue of Hercules that has been painted garish colors, lab equipment, a broken cocoon in the kitchen, the smell of Chinese food. Nexus is definitely angry at Max. Max seems to be turned on by that. And Vesper is trying to become a solid instead of a photon, in a corner by the TV. "She was dying…I did not wish that to happen and I was not keen on waiting for the Genetic Council to tell me otherwise. Forgiveness…not permission. So, I'm sorry?"

The elevator, probably unnoticed for the most part, save perhaps by Nexus, dings softly and opens. Who, exactly, would be coming out of the elevator is a mystery. At least until she speaks, "Cousin. You have much to answer for." Stepping into the apartment is a familiar sight, to Maximus at least (and possibly to Vesper).

A figure wearing a green hoodie and tunic, with white slacks. Pulling back the hood reveals jet black hair, braided tightly behind her as green bars are etched into the skin on her face as she regards Maximus without pity, without mercy, without remorse. "You and I have much to discuss." She then cracks her knuckles, moving towards Maximus with singular intent. Not that she ever looks happy, but Karnak appears very unhappy at the present time.

The light of her fingers glances harmlessly off the radio again. Vesper withdraws her hand to her chest. Her fingers spread wide and contract together. They stretch forth again to their maximum span. Fascinating how knuckles move under skin, even skin formed entirely from manifested photons. The proportions of her hand are simply enchanting. She stares at it for close to twenty unmoving seconds. Open, close. Her rotated wrist reveals her palm to her curious eyes that glow an incandescent shade of opal fire. This still hasn't resolved the fact she's floating and someone could throw a rock through her.

"I am free. Be free of the fury, fire, and noise." It is audible with a clarity absent earlier. But she's still singing on the signal to Nexus. Her head turns slightly. In her coalesced form a diffuse glow surrounds her and the sunbeams chase after her. "Maximus. That is…" A hum makes the radio chirp. Light glows. "The wise master." Remembering helps. Remembering means she's a person. Not a light beam.

"You exaggerate. She was ill due to this poisoned world, and she will still be ill now: terrigenesis does not make us more resistant to the primitive's poison air." Nexus grunts at Maximus, "And it would have been better to simply convince her to go to Attilan where our medical sciences could mitigate most of the damage and then live a long, healthy life. But yes, it is done, and if my sister is not able to have a life… I do not make threats lightly, and when I do, I mean them. Sooner or later you will return to Attilan, my city. Not to mention the fury that my mother will have for you." He sniffs, "You are not sorry." He looks to Vesper, and he furrows his brow, "Vesper, Astraea, sister. Can you… are you capable of coalescing further?" Then he looks to Karnak, and tilts his head with slight curiosity.

Maximus holds up his hands. "Karnak! Thank goodness you are here. This man is making vivid threats against your King. Obviously he should be detained, though I can forgive him a certain amount due to his brotherly love for the girl." He tries talking his way out of this, first, spinning things his way, to try to avoid getting punched for this transgression.

|ROLL| Vesper +rolls 1d20 for: 5

Karnak looks at Maximus, "How odd. The last I checked, the Genetic Council was in charge, at Black Bolt's request." She advances towards Maximus, snatching him by the throat as she lifts him up with no appreciable effort, "Now. Tell me what you have done here, and quickly. Before I lose my patience." Her eyes are cold and pitiless as she adds, as an afterthought, "If you try your talents on me, I shall see how hard I have to throw you to shatter the window. I suspect it would not be a significant exertion. Now. Speak." Her eyes flicker towards Vesper, recognizing her from the other day, as she also seems to note Nexus' presence… but the Shatterer is focused squarely on Maximus.

Vesper shudders. A torn look passes over her face. Troubled eyes narrow and her mouth goes down at the corners to a miserable frown. It's already hard enough for her to keep herself together when everything is so fresh. Faster than a blink, her nebulous form floats in front of Nexus. "Don't fight. Please." Her voice is thinning out as much as her incandescence is. The stability around her is going in the opposite direction with fear creeping to overtake her. And if the fear wins, she's invisible again.

Nexus looks to Vesper, and he reaches out with his mind to touch her: to her signal it would feel like a hand on the shoulder, a modulation of signal to give the impression of touch, even if there's nothing truly physical about it. "What he has done to you is a violation and a crime, sister." But, he forces the anger to cool, to calm, "Try to tighten: try to coalesce closer." He looks to Karnak then, "He exposed Vesper, my long lost, thought-dead sister, daughter of Cynas…" the gold-skinned Councilor, "…to the Mists. He did so without her permission, he did so without preparing her in any way, he did so without the Council's permission, he did so without the even most rudimentary of genetig screenings to determine her suitability for selection." At Vesper's words, he dampens his fury, though an edge of it remains. And, the circuits writ across his skin are a bright white. But, He is not about to let Max be the only one spinning.

"Now…I did prepare her. We talked about this many times and I tested her blood to make sure it did not explode, either. I wanted her to be one of us…and now she is and she is breathtaking, just look at her!" Maximus points from his dangling position at the photonic girl. "Its not the /first time/…" That's certainly very true. Maximus unlocked Daisy, and probably more than few of his chosen guards, too. "The council gave me the terrigen."

Karnak frowns at Maximus, "Did you bother asking her what she wanted? This is not for everyone, not even all Inhumans!" She debates tightening her grip, just a bit, then decides to drop Maximus, not gently, to the ground as she says, "Vesper… focus. You must control the power, not let it control you." Her eyes flicker over at Nexus, before she returns her attention to Maximus. Making sure he stays put.

The light roils. She drags it into herself without trying. All the sunlight coming through the penthouse windows bounces into her being. For all her physical form is partly corporeal, it sheds a great deal of radiance. Looking directly on her gets a bit uncomfortable. Astraea is aptly named; she /does/ shine unapologetically. Parts of the room get darker as she goes brighter. It's not giving the girl formerly called Vesper flesh though.

The huffed breath blown out does nothing to sustain her. In this form, oxygen is unnecessary. Frustration leaves her eyes as bright as Nexus' circuitry and this colour has been fairly consistent to her own glow. "I will not be trapped in the lines or the wall or the moon or the fire." A quiet insistence hides between the words as her jaw tightens. "I am focusing. Trying. Too loud. So much out here. Will it always be a flood of noise?" So asks the light of any of them. She sinks down to the ground and her shoulders drop. The carpet bends under her for a bit. Not nearly enough for her full weight but more than a pile of photons would have.

"She was *one of us* already! Those who are selected are not better then anyone else: more then that they are called to *serve* more then any other. She was my sister, and inhuman, she was *always* one of us. Now you have *forced* upon her a life that she did not ask for." Nexus narrows his eyes at Maximus, "Did the Council give you the terrigen without coercion? The Mists are not a privilege of the throne: you may be confused by the fact that the Council deferred to your father. He was the greatest of us in generations and he was a true leader, but that gave him authority in this way only because the Council assented. It was not his by rights."

Nexus looks to his sister, and he considers for a long moment, "It will always be so." he says softly, "You are part of the world that I tried to explain to you— the signal, that you thought would drive me mad for the loudness, the noise. But you are among it while I *AM* it, so we experience it differently. Can you attune yourself to other frequencies? Focus yourself above— or below— the noise. The noisy signals operate on a fairly narrow band." He sounds pained: and the look he gives Maximus as he starts to think his sister will be forever disembodied? Is dangerous. In New York City, Nexus is only so dangerous. In Attilan, he is deadly.

Maximus refuses to say the same thing over again, so that means that he falls silent. If he's sorry, he doesn't really show it. He looks aggravated, a bit hissy, ready to defend himself if they decide to all do something drastic together, like shove him off the railing. Though still, if there's anyone he's leaning towards, its Karnak. He trusts in those vows he knows she's taken. Keeping a watch on movements made on him, he turns his steel eyes towards Vesper, to see if she manages to settle down.

Karnak glares at Maximus, "Be grateful that I still have my oaths in place, cousin." Her eyes are like daggers, as she seems to know the direction of Maximus' thoughts. "Rest assured the others will hear of this. It is not my place to judge you, but I know who will. And gladly."

With that, she takes a deep breath, then looks over at Vesper, studying her for several moments. Evaluating what she has become, as she tilts her head ever so slightly. "Vesper. I do not have experience with what you have become, but I can tell that you must remain focused."

Nexus the signal and she navigates in the channels of it. His instructions make sense on some level. They must. Because two strange things happen back to back to Vesper. She closes her eyes to blot out one side of distraction. Her hair floats up the moment before she disappears. The apartment around her goes to sweltering hot in a rising bubble of temperature lasting the span of several seconds. Still nothing to see except it's twenty or thirty degrees Celsius warmer just like that.

The carpet flattens with a slew of fibres squashed when Vesper drops flat onto her backside from a reasonable distance. She bounces once and sits there, still in her striped shirt and capri pants. The difference lies, of course, in the eyes. Whatever darkness they had is scoured completely. Daylight floods them at the moment.

"I have made no oaths but to the Council, Maximus, you will note that." says Nexus, still offering threats. "I am Nexus Oculai, and I serve Attilan, my mother, and my council, in that order. If you…" But then it becomes quite hot, and there's a *real* Vesper there, and Nexus rushes towards her— far faster then even any inhuman is, as he doubles his speed at the cost of halving his strength. He is there and trying to draw her into his arms and hold her protectively, "Oh, thank the Genome. Vesper. Astraea. You can still be… you." He sounds immensely relieved.

"I have had enough of this constant threatening. No one loves Attilan more than I. I know who you /are/, Nexus. Even I do not posture this much. She is but one Inhuman…the council will forgive me, particularly when it seems Black Bolt does /nothing/. At all." Maximus crosses his arms over his chest and looks at Vesper, blandly, when she returns to her normal form. "There, you see, I knew she could do it."

Karnak scowls, "Do us all a favor, Maximus. Be quiet!" With that, a hand launches out with lightning speed, connecting solidly with Maximus's face as she says, "You have overstepped your bounds. What the Council does remains to be seen. But we shall see what they will do, as they are the ruling body of Attilan. And if they are not, Black Bolt is. And most certainly not you." She wrinkles her nose, looking down at Maximus with no small amount of disdain. She sighs a bit, considering matters, then says, "Crystal is here in this city, is she not?"

Vesper presses her hand to her cheek and down flat to her sternum. She is still exploring having toes inside shoes. Amazing, aren't they? Toes are phenomenal and serve some evolutionary purpose for running and not falling down like a Barbie doll in teeny tiny shoes. The conversation goes on around her while she still adjusts to being part of it and not fully bound up in a fried copper wire strung over a mile through a building. She tips her head up right as Nexus dares to bowl her over. Not fully but she is easy to grab like this, a fawn left in the grass. A solar-charged fawn. "I think…" Her voice is a bit crackly and creaky. So very French. "I have skin and bones. Some parts feel funny." She peers up at Karnak through the screen of her fallen hair that interacts with the light a little oddly. All she absorbed is still moving around her system a bit. "Hello, magister. I am not so much myself today. Pardon me for being rude. Maximus and I were not polite when you came."

Nexus settles with his sister there, arms around her and supportive, and protective, but only that. "You have become, sister. Without the support you should have had. But I will help you." But Nexus turns a stare at Maximus, "You violated my sister, Maximus. To do this to her against her will — when you did not know at all the outcome or if she could reform. Lie to yourself all you will, but you will not lie to me. No one knows the effects of terrigenesis reliably, but we do know how to prepare someone for it, and support them after, and you did none of this. Simply speaking to her is not preparing her." Nexus scoffs, "You forget, she is not 'but' one Inhuman. She is *daughter to Cynas*. Our mother sits the Council, and has for decades. You think the Council will shrug when you violate the one of their own? Knowing her bloodlone she was almost certain to be offered the Mists, but it would have been done with care, with preparation, with thoughtfulness. As was done with me. But you had to take it into your own hands. Why? I know why. If you can take this power into your own hands, you will turn those weak to your cause, and you will take power for yourself. With this act you begin the first steps in a civil war, Inhuman against Inhuman. Maximus the Mad will offer to any who flock to his cause the power of the Mists, if only they turn from the Council's guidance and bend the knee to him. We are better then this. The game you play will destroy us all for the glory of your own name and nothing else."

Maximus is really getting his eyes narrowed into a great mode for some snappy comeback to Nexus when Karnak hits him. He is no martial artist. Its just not his skillset. He pitches backwards and falls over , turns and wipes at his nose. He's down, and all he can do is to say, "Get out of my home."

Karnak nods, and simply says, "Gladly." With that, she spins on her heel, advancing towards the elevator as she says, as an afterthought, "I'm sure Crystal and the rest of the Royal Family will delight to hear about your current schemes." Pausing in the elevator, she waits for Nexus and Vesper to join her.

His sister on an arm, Nexus turns a last angry stare back at the king-not-king-king that is Maximus. Only when they are within the elevator does he reach out and touch all that he can: and he fuses the circuits he can touch. Burning them out. It doesn't destroy what he touches, but it would be an inconvenience, though a pained expression touches him a moment later. He is less when there is less technology: to destroy diminishes himself. He feels for the city beyond and finds neanderthals with cars and despairs for what he gave up to come here.

Obviously, all the lights go out, immediately, and his air conditioning stops and his work is set back by weeks. He looks highly offended and the most distressed he has looked all evening at the parting shot from Nexus. That's like killing a baby, to Maximus the Mad. His eyes grow sharp and he stares at the trio as the elevator doors close. He's doing a very good job of making enemies, lately. He's really going to need some friends, soon!

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