1965-02-07 - Magneto Makes a Collar
Summary: It's about as bad an idea as you can imagine.
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erik rogue 



Erik Lehnsherr's office is one part study and one part workspace. Everything is neat and tidy, with a relatively small amount of personal belongings to clutter up desks and worktables. At the same time, what's there is of exceptional quality; his desk is a large, antique affair, the carpets were clearly costly, and all of his tools, books, and writing utensils are top notch.

He's working on some sort of collar, assembling various bits and pieces from across the room with minute flicks of a finger. Magnetically compelled, the parts slot into place neatly. He could just as easily do it with his hands, but fine manipulation is an excellent way to hone his powers. So, dressed in a simple, elegant button-down shirt and slacks, he stays seated behind his desk with his chin cradled in his free hand while he works.

Once upon a time, a young woman led a very quiet life. That woman was never Scarlett, except on the week between semesters when somehow the cares of the world forget she exists and she, in turn, spends the whole sennight in slumber. This is not that week.

One might question why her hair is jet black, she wears a heady amount of eyeliner in Egyptian kohl, and essentially resembles someone from… well, no known period of time. Someone who did know about the future might be able to plant her as part of the romantic Gothic movement, which is probably incredibly jarring to see. Especially when Sixties fashion suggests girls wear swingy polyester and not ripped cotton t-shirts, black leather pants, black boots, and basically mod turned hard on its side. But that's Scarlett for the day, swept up in a way that makes her just about unrecognizable if not for the complex Asgardian braids she wears most days. She apparently has an evil sister who quotes Shelley and Byron effortlessly, too. The knock at the door at least is worth noting…

… as is the fact she has a sliver of vibranium on a chain around her neck, that a rhodium plated gold option. But hey!

The door swings silently inward to admit her. "Come in. Just finishing up some work, I'll only be a moment."

The gadget Erik is assembling has a high-tech sort of look, with a spiderweb of wiring that's just now being covered over with a metal panel. Once it's sealed up it settles itself back on the table amidst a few unused parts and bits of circuitry.

Now he glances toward the door and inspects Rogue quizzically. "Splendid. Very adventurous." The comment is coupled with a toothy smile. "I imagine you didn't pick that style up anywhere around here."

Only but a moment, that amounts to something. The door parts just enough for the shadow to drift inside, nary making a sound on the floorboards despite those intrinsically heavy-duty curbstomping boots. A different era, fewer precious stones and nickel charms strung through the laces, they might be less decorative statement and more for the process of crushing bones and joints. On the other hand, Scarlett requires nothing of the sort to do damage, if interested. Any less than the de facto Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher there is.

"Circuitry?" she asks, voice raised lightly to evince its English accent. Hard to say where; could be Savannah as easily as Somerset. That's rather the oddity of her history, of course. "Splendid?" The eyeliner really is, smudged artfully, revealing how surreal a green her irises are. Inhuman, just subtly so until brought to attention, and then it's never different. "Of course not. My globetrotting adventures now include temporal anomalies."

Erik nods thoughtfully as he examines Rogue's attire. "Marvelous," he chuckles. "It does have a somewhat futuristic look. At least I imagine it's from the future, I've been around for a bit and I can't recall seeing anyone dressed quite like that. Especially you."

A tiny 'come hither' motion brings the collar from the table into his hand. "For mutants with energy projection abilities. If I can get it right, it should work like a flow control valve. I thought it might help some of more destructive students learn a bit of finesse. So far my success has been limited at best."

Works for her. "One has to go off memory and that, unfortunately, makes for an imperfect medium compared to the pitiless eye of a camera. I have no idea if bringing a Brownie is a smart idea, anyways." Oh, for her hands on a Leica, but that remains an unknown factor in the future. Longing does not rust her voice, not quite so much as a reflective state of mind. "Energy protection as a flow valve? That's quite brilliant. Do you entrap their energy through the various pathways to prevent them from reaching full blast, or is it something more complicated? I would imagine the difficulty comes from trying to modulate and dissipate energy without blowing out any of the circuits, couplings, or delicate points in between."

"Mmhmm," Erik agrees. "It's quite a bit like a fuse box, actually. If one proverbial fuse blows, the entire assembly ceases to function." He lets out a small sigh and steeples his fingers into a pensive triangle as he chooses his words. "I'm concerned, though. If I were to get it functioning and it fell into the wrong hands, it has the potential to be used in much more sinister ways. I sometimes think it'd be better to destroy it."

A wave sets it to a slow, lazy midair spinning that makes it easier to view from all angles. "Besides, who wants to wear a collar? I certainly wouldn't, but nothing else I came up with was large enough for the required components."

"How sinister? I can see a few options, but then I am an outlier when it comes to power structures." Because Scarlett never quite lets on what she holds, simply. "Would it be a governor on power when it should not be? That could prove problematic. Most students might not like such a thing, and using it against their will…" She shakes her head slightly and then clasps her hands behind her back.

"Collars are, oui, far from desirable. I wonder if you could work it into something more fashionable. Maybe a good jacket, like a varsity jacket. Students like those enough. Here is a sign you are cooler. Though even that…" She tips her head, raven braids slithering around her shoulders and bouncing off the shelf of her collarbone, so out of the ordinary with the odd materials that she wears. Mesh sleeves and high collar? Believe it. "Speaking as someone who always has to remain on damage control, sometimes it comes as a blessing. A mixed one, but not unwelcome. Not always, anyways."

"Yes, it could be modified to completely inhibit energy-based powers. Potentially any mutant ability. It would take time, resources, and intellect, but I'm fairly certain it could be done. That's what concerns me." He frowns and reaches up to massage the bridge of his nose between finger and thumb. "I could be wrong. And even if I'm not, there are those among us who would welcome the opportunity to be rid of their gifts, even temporarily. But what of the rest of us?"

He shakes his head and waves his hand, dismantling the collar back into its component parts. "Imagine a hundred of these, or a thousand. I'll give it more thought, but the risk seems too great."

"Any ability? I have trouble imagining how you would suppress someone's innate ability that cannot be turned off. The physical changes are what they are for some, and the X gene, from my understanding, could not be made dormant in the same way. Or, say, the likes of Jean." Help them all. Possessed, angry bird might just have a few things to say about that. She might, for that matter. Her black hair and ashen accents to fair skin give her a spooky quality, especially with those halfway knowing smiles. The girl holds the entire weight of the Inhuman archive in her skull, no less, called up at a moment's notice when need be. "I reckon the risk is greater than any reward, but I could be wrong. There are unkindly gentlemen not worth pursuing on that."

A second wave organizes the pile of circuit boards, wiring, screws and metal plates into neat stacks, then Erik brushes back his sleeve another few inches to expose the numbers tattooed on the inside of his forearm. 214782. "It wouldn't reverse a physical mutation, of course. It might not do anything at all, but some risks are too great to take without a great deal of contemplation. I'll discuss it with Jean, but I imagine she'd be less than thrilled with the graver possibilities." He runs a thumb along his tattoo by way of explanation.

"The concerns always remain. No one would deny the travesty committed against other people's in history define creating a collar or brand as a terrible idea, and recent history taught us that. I have seen fear roused simply because someone turned green or another individual was accused of controlling minds. In the latter case, falsely, but riots cannot be controlled easily until the flames run out, and one hopes to live through that. Stalin taught us otherwise." For this reason the goth in her futuristic modified getup might sound terribly strange, a child of the bellwether years after a war and completely ignorant of it firsthand. Not for nothing has Columbia awarded her a bachelor's degree in political science and the international relations binding those successor states. "There must be other checks and balances. No one wants to see children threatened by a lack of control, nor embers to reach a conflagration because someone slipped. But, that being said, we must do something."

Erik nods agreeably. "The question remains, what do we do? Perhaps we can find a happy medium. Perhaps not."

With a dismissive flick, he sends the stacks of parts back over to his worktable to settle alongside various other components and compounds. "I appreciate you stopping by. I'd almost convinced myself to follow through with it, even if only as a precaution." It's not quite a dismissal, not with a tone as warm and polite as his is, yet it's clear that he'd like to be left alone to reflect on their conversation.

Almost as soon as the door has closed behind his colleague, Erik waves his hand a final time to reassemble the collar. Just in case.

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