1964-11-13 - Two Subs For the Price of One
Summary: Just be prepared for an angry civilisation waking up!
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
wanda erik 

Its a cold day in Mutant Town, and not just because Erik Lensherr has resurfaced. It's just cold. Damned cold. The Master of Magnetism is dressed for the weather, complete with a scarf, gloves, and sunglasses to ward off the bright afternoon sunlight. If there's anywhere people might recognize him as 'Magneto', it is here; he's not one for masks, after all.

Fortunately, the cold never bothered him. One of the few benefits that come from sleeping without heat or blankets in one of Germany's most infamous Nazi work camps. Currently he can be found in a small corner park, most of his face concealed by newspaper, with a transistor radio by his side squawking off news reports.

Mutant Town does not constitute a jurisdiction this man ever expected to find himself in. He wears his patience as a thick scarf and dreams of the day when he can get a proper cup of coffee in Addis Ababa, escorted by a man and woman cut from utterly different stamps in life though their clothes are uniformly black gabardine suits. She has hair like ink cut short and twisted into a knot at the back of her head. He is pale, tall, and the strangely ephemeral watered out blond known to certain parts of the Caucasus and Eurasian steppe. The car that dropped them off stopped three blocks ago. They walk the rest of the way, the African in the front. Truly African; the bold, gorgeous print on his actual scarf announces origins to those wise to colour, texture, weave.

They approach the park, trusting in their guide and ability to detect a greenspace from the mingled buildings, the tight proximity of a ghetto uncomfortably like Warsaw for the dark-haired woman. They don't talk, trusting in their leader to do that. He will, when in ear shot. They're wearing modest amounts of metal, nothing that passes for a weapon.

For a brief moment, the transistor radio yields an unexpected distortion. Erik turns a page and continues reading, but his shaded eyes glance up from the rim of printed paper, watching those who draw close. He goes right back to his reading, but he can sense the various objects upon their bodies drawing in his direction. "May I help you?" he asks drily, once the trio are within earshot.

"It is our sincere hope you can." The gentleman smiles quietly. "My name is Berhanu Dinka, the ambassador to the United States and assistant to the permanent representative of the United Nations." He speaks English well though with the fluting rise and fall common to so many East African languages. The controlled volume seeks to bridge the neutrality so many wrap themselves up with. His hands are open to his sides. "Would you be willing to speak on something possibly to your interests?"

The introduction prompts Erik to look back up from his newspaper. The span of a breath passes, during which his icy eyes flick from one to the other, at which point he finally begins folding up the newspaper to set it on his knee. He reaches over to flip off the transistor radio, then removes the sunglasses from his nose. "Please," he tells Berhanu, and gestures toward one of the benches opposite him before folding the sunglasses and dropping them into the inner pocket of his trench. His expression is certainly curious, if not a bit taken aback. Being hunted down like this doesn't exactly rest well with him, after all.

Berhanu takes the invitation as offered. He approaches with the pad of his loafers on the path more audible than man or woman. "I represent the nation of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. This may be irregular, and I do appeal to your patience and understanding. Expediency trumped good taste." He frowns, broad mouth bowed down, before sitting at the bench. His suit flares, coat fluffed behind him. "That, and the headquarters are such a hotbed today I would subject no one to its intrigues. My companions… Well." He looks at the pair mildly.

"Zillah Shafir," says the dark woman.

"Lev Pasternak." Contrasting her definite accent, his is harder to place, watered down through the eastern marches of Europe. But those pale eyes and paler blond hair make him probably a Russian, through a long, circuitous route.

"We have concluded that a matter of discretion needs immediate attention before a diplomatic crisis turns into an international incident. Ms. Shafir and Mr. Pasternak have on very good authority you may be the one person psotiioned to help us with resolving a troubling situation before anyone gets hurt."

Berhanu's the last to speak, nodding.

Clearly, this is a situation where Erik does not need to introduce himself, for these people already know exactly who he is. Granted, he doesn't make effort to keep it a secret, but he also doesn't broadcast. Either they've looked very long and hard to find him, or they just got lucky. The sense of reproach is replaced by a furrowed brow, and Erik leans forward to rest hands upon his knees, the newspaper now set aside on the bench next to him. His leg moves just slightly, to prevent it from being blown away by any errant breeze.

"You've… clearly went to some trouble finding me," he offers, as if to suggest that Berhanu's excuse isn't quite swallowed like the good nurse's medicine. "Granted, I wouldn't have so easily accepted an invitation to your Embassy." Hands open in a gesture permitting forgiveness for the intrusion. "Tell me how a diplomatic crisis might transform into an international incident, Mister Dinka?"

See, if Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed. Or rather a diplomat with a mild manner and impeccable decorum. He does not stray from looking at Erik other than to see Zillah and Lev are comfortably arranged wherever they like, and they will stand if it does not bother anyone too overtly.

Berhanu's smile diminishes, gradually evaporating away until a grave sobriety replaces it. "May I ask whether you've read the papers or heard anything about the difficulties with the United Nations?"

While certainly paying attention, Erik is somewhat bothered by the fact that Berhanu's accompaniment are still standing. "Please," he says to the two of them together. "Have a seat. This is altogether awkward." Now back to the representative, he frowns. "I've… read papers, but nothing in particular has jumped out at me, I'm afraid."

Lev looks to Zillah, subtly giving away who might be the actual decision maker among them. The black-haired woman nods and moves slowly to the bench, taking a place at Berhanu's side. Hands rest woodenly in her lap and her impossible posture, so terribly upright, is anything but relaxed. Lev eases into his role a bit better, even daring to lean back a little. Bold man.

Berhanu nods, reassessing matters. "This morning, the People's Republic of China declared their intention to seek support from member nations of UNESCO to block access to the South China Sea on grounds a subterranean site proved evidence of an ancient, advanced civilisation. I'm sure you are aware of the ongoing conflict there between the Viet Cong and the United States. The claim was dismissed by the American Director-General despite the display of compelling artifacts and thorough surveys by the Chinese delegation. They were supported by a smattering of experts, primarily from Southeast Asia and Indochina." The audacity, people probably not from the western world presenting things!

He sighs. "Discussion ended. Now, the preliminary findings have not satisfied anyone, but these artifacts did demonstrate some enticing abilities, a technology we simply haven't seen. Not outside empowered individuals. However, the Soviet Union chairs the UNESCO general assembly and they convened a motion to reopen the investigation. China has offered for any qualified scientist or technician to see for themselves. You can imagine how the US Navy, which is running bombing raids on the Vietnamese coast, thinks of that. Ethiopia would like to nominate you as our candidate. My counterparts…"

Zillah doesn't smile.

"…have compelling evidence that two nuclear submarines, likely Soviet, sank near the site. We would like very much to recover them and head off a conflict between the superpowers so we may focus on the real matter at hand. If this is a prize for all humanity or a danger."

The expression upon Erik's face does not change until mention of Soviet nuclear submarines, at which point he straightens. He considers all of this heavily for some time, hands now folded, eyes diverted. "And so, you came to seek me out, believing that I would be the one to lift these submarines from the bottom of the ocean." He lifts his eyes to look at Berhanu, then to Zillah. "Which, of course, I can do."

Its a question but it's posed as a statement, for he already knows the answer.

Erik's stare can be unsettling, not only in how it refuses to waver, but in that there is a sense of power behind those eyes, a power that could move the very earth itself.

"What will you do with these submarines once they are recovered?"

The stare is unsettling. Zillah doesn't look away and Lev clickis his teeth together.

The ambassador sighs and raises his hands. "We hear the bugles of war and our ancestors mournfully whisper this conflict must not come again. We fight now for pride; the next battle will be waged with sticks and stones." Berhanu briefly looks very tired, the toll of the day found in the corners of his mouth turned down, tucked to his cheeks, the dull sheen of his warm chocolate eyes. A long day that will only grow longer. "No country has come close to the site since September, perhaps August. This trouble comes into the open. We cannot pretend that something isn't there. Perhaps there was a catastrophic failure on a submarine, and perhaps something externally damaged them. If Chinese officials take their current stand, they will expose others to that risk. The Soviet Union and the Americans will have a conflict like they did in Cuba." Two years ago. A world not so changed, and terribly changed.

"We propose they are taken in sections or whole to dry dock." Zillah is rather terse about it. "A neutral power would be best. Given the location, a signatory to the Bandung Conference would allow neutrality. Thailand, Indonesia, India."

"Often times, Berhanu," Erik answers, "the bugles of war symbolize that war is inevitable, not unavoidable. The Soviets, the Chinese, they yearn for war more than they yearn for bread." He lifts a hand, finger extended upward. "They wish to prove themselves to the world. To the west. You must be willing to admit that, no matter what you do, war will come." His hand drops. "Are you quite ready to thrust your people into that arena? I would caution you."

To Zillah, however, he nods concession. "Wisdom," he points out to her, before sitting more upright. "Have you considered the implications of civilization being discovered in this mysterious, subterranean area?" he asks. "Mutants are, frankly, old news. We now know of extra terrestrials, but I will tell you something." His eyes look from one to the other. "There are civilizations right here, on our planet; strong, evolved civilizations who desire not to be unearthed. What if there is such a civilization, and they do not take kindly to our… meddling? Are you prepared to deal with the repercussions of such an act?" He shakes his head. "I would raise these machines for you, but if a civilization expressed dismay at my interference, I would put those submarines right back into their watery tombs."

Zillah doesn't dare so much as to laugh. That would break the solemn armour she girds herself with, a crusader of yore carrying gloom on her tabard and a hard sword at her side. "There are civilisations come and gone that meant well, badly, and all things in between. This one could be anything, but it's old. Dangerous. The area around it isn't sound, a place with millions of lives on the shores."

Berhanu nods. "Where the Middle Kingdom digs in the coils of its own den, they could disrupt something far more terrible than the famine and flood they are used to. We have no doubt of this. An active civilisation secreted away is far from a legend in my books. But the superpowers will not rest. You hear them now, the shouts becoming pointed and the pieces on their board moving."

The woman wants to rise, it's in her body. "Give them something else to curb that. The machines prove too much a risk to put on a boat, drop them. We can photograph what we need. It's a sign that such matters aren't only about Moscow and Washington."

"The Jewish people are among the oldest civilizations in recorded history," Erik is prompt to remind Zillah. "They, also, had little control over where they settled." He arched an eye, but refrains from bringing the Holocaust into the mix. Pity it isn't warmer out.

That being said, Berhanu makes a good point. Erik lifts his eyebrows and sighs deeply. "If there is a civilization there, I admit, I would be invested in assuring that they are given the right to exist as they wish to. Free of influence from powers that would take advantage of them." Clearly, by the severe tone, he does not trust the Soviets nor the Chinese from trying to make use of a people for their own gain.

With a distant expression, Erik reaches into his coat to produce a pipe, already packed. He puts it into his mouth, then looks back to those gathered. "I will help you."

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