1964-07-05 - Control Yourself
Summary: Karnak has a few lessons for not turning into a ball of light spontaneously.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
karnak vesper 


The biology labs of NYU are rather quiet during the summer, there's not much happening for classes after all. Which makes Karnak's presence all the more jarring. The woman has her hood down right now, still wearing the light jacket as she looks around, seeking out someone specific it appears, and ignoring as irrelevant the few comments from grad students or other researchers that she passes. Prompting a few snide cracks about the 'weird new teacher' that she dismisses as meaningless. She's not here to research. She's here to teach.

The labs still hum for research at the premiere institute to such things in the state. MIT might have a bit more panache but NYU has enough Nobel laureates to smirk in the halls. Vesper Mezieres is not one of those Nobel winners, just the student of one. Go ask around Cambridge and there she was. It's only fair given her other name is Astraea. And Astraea may be dead in the Inhumanitas codex. Her mother, a senior genetic counselor, is not. The plaque on the door reads V. Mezieres. The name tag reads that. Her research papers are all typed with her name too. None of them are apparently her.

Vesper sips her fourth cup of coffee for the day. She sits at her desk staring blankly at the results for a weekend project. The machine spat out correct information and she has coded the diagrams partly. None of it seems to much matter when her hair has decided for no reason at all to start glowing. It's part physical and then part energy. Nothing in science can yet explain that.

Spotting Vesper at her desk, Karnak approaches, her figure rather distinct given the marks upon her face as well as her choice of clothing. Then she sits down across from Vesper, watching the glowing of her hair with an inscrutable expression. The woman then says to Vesper, "Have you done any training regarding your abilities?" She won't mention punching Maximus, though that might explain the slight air of satisfaction that she currently has.

The door is barely open. Her lab is her own and filled by equipment not readily recognisable to most students. Attilan born and raised people are another. She jumps in her seat when someone else slips into the sacred space she's sometimes found peace. Less and less ever since a goat-hoofed man tramped in but still. The glow brightens and something squeaks ominously in the background. Coffee cup to mouth then. Vesper takes a sip of the sluggish black sloe that shouldn't be called coffee by anyone who has ever had the stuff. "Eu…" The struggle to suppress the glow is fairly tricky for her. Doubly under Karnak's scrutiny for she has to remember. Skin. Flesh. Bones. Fingers. "Nexus said he might arrange something. I do not know yet. If I am taboo or not?"

Karnak waves a hand at that, "Society taboos are not my concern. My concern is that you are functioning as one of us, regardless of what culture labels you as thanks to my cousin's impetuous idiocy." She almost smiles at that, "Regardless of his motives, the fact remains that you underwent Terrigenesis. To pretend that it did not happen is futile, we must deal with the reality of what IS. And by we I mean you, for there is no going back to your old life." She pauses, then adds, "I am here to assist you moving forward, if you will allow it."

Vesper puts down the white mug. Her lipstick leaves a stain on the rim close to a peach pink. She has the look of someone dealing with a personal tragedy. Look for the hollows in her eyes showing lack of sleep or the pallor of her skin. But the truth really is her eyes. They are not doe brown and soft anymore. Theirs is a spectrum of impossibilities; the present shade is an intense electric blue that is probably the literal thing. Her persistent sunglasses are probably a permanent feature outside the room now. "I do not regret these changes. I get to come into the sun now and belong somewhere when before I was mostly on my own." That has an advantage. Vesper stubbornly clings to the conviction. "I told him I was loyal." He doesn't get a name. "After Nexus explained how things would work, I told him that I would be careful about my research. Your people deserved that. It was true then and now." Everything is said carefully and slowly as she looks at Karnak. Her gaze is intense and possibly unnerving. "Can you show me how to do this? I sometimes forget and then it's awkward."

The woman gives Vesper a pitiless glance, "I can show you how to help control some of your involuntary responses. This should, in turn, allow you to control such reactions. If it is a question of concentration lapsing that causes these things… then learning the appropriate ways to focus should resolve at least some of the matters." She hmms, "It will take time, and it will not be easy, but you will learn."

Vesper nods. "Do you want coffee?" The question is belated but the sentiment is there. One should really try to see to the niceties. Her hair cools and falls back around her shoulders from the ponytail it's pulled into. Any further and the elastic would have nothing to hold onto. "I am not familiar with the nuance of being… this. One of our people. I did manage to get away for the weekend where the air was clean. It made a difference." She isn't coughing for one, and that is telling. "Is control the first thing to begin with? When it was said in the apartment there were groups prepared to teach us after… once we were in the Mists and done? What did they do?" The terminology is so awkward, and she knows it.

Karnak shakes her head, "There are different groups that can teach you as well. I can suggest a few that might be more appropriate." She considers, then nods once, "And I will try some of this coffee. I see many people here drinking it, after all."

She considers the situation further, "What I can teach is not exactly how to cope with your powers. What I teach is how to cope with existence. And your powers are part of that existence. Therefore, it could assist you." Anti-social Zen Koans are her stock in trade, apparently.

Vesper pushes back her chair and gets up from the desk. Her lab coat hangs off her shoulders in a white mass that smothers her despite being a small size. It's not made for women. "It will not be the best. Our coffeemaker leaves much to be desired." Her French accent underscores a hidden moan of despair. After French pressed beverages roasted just right, this is a come down. She goes to a cabinet with identical white mugs and takes another down. The grounds are scooped out and poured into the fresh filter left waiting. It's a science wing. They drink a lot and the lucky researchers have their own makers. "You should try without anything in it. Add the milk or sugar to your tastes."

The stirring brightness of her blue eyes remains honed on Karnak. The woman is different and unfamiliar but a link to a hidden world barely touched upon in storybooks. "You have wisdom. I would be foolish to turn down a means to help."

"Milk and sugar are things that add a sense of false satisfaction." Karnak says that, then looks over at Vesper, "Socrates said that the wisest person is one that knows they know nothing." Her lips curl a bit in what might almost be considered a smile, "Suitable enough for this purpose. But yes, I can help you with the most basic of things, I believe."

"Milk and sugar provide essential nutrients and energy sources in typically short supply with an ascetic's diet." The Gallic sense of purpose arises only for a moment. Arguing with biologists is sometimes unwise when they know a thing or two about the building blocks of energy and human necessity. Moo-velous. "The Oracle at Delphi said know thyself and everything in moderation. Among other things." She returns a level look. "So crates also said to find yourself, think for yourself, and that wisdom lies in wonder. So I wonder." Her hands spread. "I can vanish into the blue and no one can see me. That's certainly wondrous to me."

One brow slowly arches, as Karnak regards Vesper's words. "Indeed. I suppose that would be considered wondrous, to transform into light itself and to glide away, unseen by the world. But, how wondrous is it if you don't have control over such things?" Her eyes flicker, "Control is learned through actions and practice, and it will be tedious. Most would find it boring. But it is necessary if you wish to master what you have awakened."

Waiting for the coffee to brew is a better exercise than water boiling. It smells good, for one. "I have spent all my adult life studying very small components of life. Often this is tedious and painstaking. Reviewing the same image over and over to check for clues. It is not painful for me to experience repetition or correction. It was the same for ballet. Practice, practice, and practice. Only hard work and endless grey toil will make for something beautifully effortless." She shrugs a little. "I do not expect it to be easy."

Karnak nods, "Good. Because it won't be. I could tell you otherwise, but that would be a lie. I don't bother with that nonsense." She glances at Vesper, "So you have had some manner of physical training, with ballet. Have you done anything else?"

"I was considered nearly an invalid," says Vesper. She pours the hot coffee into a mug and carries that to Karnak to try. Her own cup will end up in a sink to be rinsed and washed out. "I have been ill a very long time. I had some practice at other sports when the season and my physician allowed. I can fence when my lungs are fair." Which is one way to say that being consistently poisoned for a decade and a half is precisely useful.

The monk nods at that, accepting the mug. She sniffs at the coffee a bit, then takes a sip. Then she tilts her head, "Ah, caffeine, an accelerant, however slight. Interesting." Then she sips again, nodding to herself as she regards Vesper, "Good. Then you are familiar with what will be required. I understand your life here has time constraints… when are suitable times for me to teach you?"

"I set my own schedule. Privilege to a researcher. Tuesday afternoons the university staff convene to discuss ongoing updates. I have obligations until the end of the working day. One until five." Vesper%<u2019>s concrete description is worth something. "I mostly work. Other requirements are…" This leads her to trail off. Not like she needs to highlight her lack of a social life much. It helps to be considered a TB victim.

Karnak eyes Vesper, "Are there other requirements?" She either didn't catch the implication of a lack of social life, or didn't care. Probably the former since the latter wouldn't involve her asking about it. "Or can we arrange for things in the morning, before you begin your work?" One brow slowly arches as she regards Vesper, absently sipping the coffee while doing so.

Vesper returns to her chair, pulling it out to make space for herself. Once she is seated she brings her lab coat closer to her. "I will work around the schedule you provide me. We focus more on results here rather than the hours we work. I am able to change that. I sleep at night, mostly. Though when I am in the blue… it's different. I do not feel hungry or tired."

Karnak nods, "Well, we will be focusing on the physical, while you are solid. Because that will affect you in this blue, whether you feel superficial effects like hunger or exhaustion or not." She hmms, "This will be a very basic set of exercises, but you should be able to use them to further your control over your abilities."

Vesper nods again. What more can she say about that? "I can only do my best and make the best better. I do not mind starting small. The process taught me there is no reason to have pride." Her hands clasp around one another, a reminder. "It feels so different. The world seen in new eyes reveals itself in new ways, like Newton and his apple. Starting somewhere is not upsetting for me. Tell me what to practice, and I will do that."

Karnak nods, "First, control your breathing. A simple four count in, hold, then release for four counts. Get in the habit of controlling that, first." She smiles, "Because as you say, starting small is the way to learn. You might never achieve bigger things, but you can control your abilities if you have the proper discipline."

Four breaths in and four out is pretty easy. Vesper can manage that. Now silencing her mind is another matter. There may not be windows in here and she is cut off from the daylight but other energy sources still make noise. They talk in a way. She has to shut them out, sometimes. Dropping a stream of breath through her nose leaves the single strand of her hair wavering. "I am happy to achieve that much. This is more than I imagined."

Karnak looks stern at the mention of happiness, "Call no one happy, until they are dead. Herodotus." She nods, "This is only the beginning. We shall develop more exercises for you as you progress that will escalate in difficulty." She glances around the office, as if seeking out ways to insulate it perhaps.

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