2019-07-04 - Cat Scan


Jean drops by to see Isis. It goes swimmingly

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jul 4 04:16:54 2019
Location: Paragon Investigations

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Paragon Investigation is a nice little building. A two story duplex that was a Paragons asset. It's now the office for a small PI firm, a place where Isis Marik works. It's here that Jean Grey knows to come - she's probably called ahead to announce herself.

Of course - whether Isis knows is a very good question. Even if she was told, she might have forgotten. She's like that.

Isis is currently working in the reception area near the door. Making the files that Nick had needed done. The door is open and anyone passing by can hear her singing.
%xaterwauling, more like.

But hey, Isis might be in a good mood today?

Scott told Jean that there was someone who needed vetting, and while Jean might not always have a lot of confidence in her ability to perform the scans that help determine if someone is safe to visit the school, she's one of the people who's qualified to do it.

Besides, from the bits and pieces she's heard of things, this person seems to have offered some assistance in other matters.

She steps up to the door, knocking lightly - it's always so hard to tell if these places have waiting room or not! And the habit of asking for permission to enter is ingrained on more than one level when it comes to Jean.

Nick is himself in his office. He did in fact tell Isis that there was a telepath dropping by. Someone she possibly knows though the big brown werewolf isn't entirely clear who Isis met during her time at the Institute.

Nick himself at least knows OF most of the School students. Comes of being one of the first graduates. Many of them are just sort of names without faces for him but he's at least familiar with a few of them.

"Isis! The door is probably for you!" Nick gets up anyway though to help greet the young woman whom he suspects will be there.

Jean, if she is scanning, can probably pick his mind out. It's not hard. It's an odd combination of person and animal and any telepath who has felt it more than once usually recognizes him instantly.

The singing stops and all around feel the wave empathic unease that comes from the feline-like mutant. "I uh. I'm busy!" She calls to Nick before her shoulders slump and she makes her way to the door. Just because she'd asked to see Jean, doesn't mean she has to happy about it.

When she gets to the door, Jean can see her. A bit over middling height, lean - though it's hard to tell in the oversized t-shirt she's wearing (it's Nicks) - with piercing cat slitted blue/grey eyes and cats ears perched on the top of her head.

Jeans seen her at least, at the Institute - even though Isis hadn't been more than a couple of years.

"Hello Jean. Come in. Do you want something to drink?" Isis is trying! She directs them all to the break room - so they can sit.

Isis mind for Jean, if she's sensing it, is … much like Nicks, though the feral edge to it is much, much more pronouced. She'd been kept as an animal for sixteen years, after all.

"Oh! Hey." If Jean couldn't put a finger on people before, the familiar touch of minds is enough to make the connection, an easy smile curving as Isis comes to the door. "Wow, do I feel like a space cadet."

She's casual as she steps inside, wearing jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt with comfortable sneakers. "How are you? How've you been? Is this- Do you and Nick both work here?" she asks a string of questions, looking around curiously.

"Yep. Welcome to Paragon Investigations." Nick says, gesturing for Jean to come in and make herself comfortable in the direction that Isis is also herding them. "Want a drink? Snack? I'm gonna have to get something out for Isis anyway. She's always hungry."

The break room used to be a living area, and there's a lot of cozy kind of furniture in it. Couch. Lounge. Armchair. Etc. It's well lit too. Good for meeting friends.

"This is one of the places my old team used to use as a safehouse. You know. Before." Before registration. Nick had graduated in the middle of that mess. And quite a mess it was.

"Thanks for coming over. Isis, don't be such a… cat. You don't need to stand so far back."

"No you don't…" Isis answers in all honesty as Jean makes that statement. "It's Nicks place, he gives me work and a place to stay… there's bunks upstairs." They're meant for the few times that staff have to stay here, but Isis has been known to use them as it pleases her.

"I am a cat…" She answers Nick but draws near as they get to the break room. "Food is good, I'm hungry but uh … we better wait until…" beat "Did Scott tell you what I said? About the noisy metal and my memories."

There's the unease again. Isis is a potent Empath and can normally keep that stuff in check. But not right now.

Nick can certainly explain of that, as Isis takes a breath. "I want to know what happened when I was a kitten." Interesting terminology - she looks more human that feline.

"You know, to be honest, Scott didn't tell me the whole thing," Jean admits, blushing far more than that statement calls for. "But there was a thing with Hod, a lot was going on. There was a broader discussion about some other things."

She moves to settle in on one of the couches, frowning slightly as Isis clarifies things. "Can you be…a little more specific?" she asks, leaning forward to set her elbows on her knees and lace her fingers together. "I promise, you don't want me wandering around in there," she adds with a wry smile.

"What's a Hod?" Nick doesn't get all the news sometimes and while he comes to the school to teach occasionally he's far from the most plugged in member of the faculty.

"Isis was recovered by the Schools 'team'…" He means the X-Men but this is not a secure location so he doesn't say that aloud. "… from a group of people who were experimenting on her and other mutants. We've recently found evidence of their activities in connection again and think they might still be active and somehow involved in the production of a material that can amplify sonic energy. Something they MAY have been augmenting their experiments with. We…"

Nick glacnes to Isis and then back to Jean. It's not like her to turn down food but he knows why she has. "We're hoping you can dig into her head and find out what they were doing to her when she was very young. Her ability to recall the memories is… fuzzy."

"Hod? What's that?" Isis asks in time with Nick and sits … on the table, with her legs crossed in front of her. "It was horrible and Miss Potts had to stroke my ears to get me calm." She adds. It won't make sense to Jean, not at all, but Isis manages to collect her thoughts.

"We came across a big werewolf who was using a device to amplify his voice. When he barked, I went to pieces. I could remember the pain that was associated with it, remember trying so hard to please. Which is why we think the case we're working on and my history is related."

"I want you to see if you can unlock that part of my memories, make me remember what they had me forget."

What she's asking is pretty horrific - to be made to remember some of the worst times of her life.

"Hod is a really long story," Jean shakes her head, though there's a flicker of a smile across her features as she says it. "Sorry. Focusing on the subject at hand." She sobers as they explain the issue, looking between the pair.

"That's…a serious thing to go looking for," she says slowly. "Speaking as someone who's got actual blocks the Professor put in to keep me from going off the rails…" She purses her lips, rubbing her hands together uncomfortably. "I just want to make sure you really want this."

Hod is clearly a person. Or a book series. Nick will ask which later. There is indeed a subject at hand.

"It means a chance that we can get some of the mutants we missed the last time around back. Or at the very least keep these guys from taking more."

It's just that, well, Nick doesn't know how Isis will react. That's part of why he's here. To keep things physically safe while Jean works with Isis. While the big brown wolfman has no doubt at all that Jean can handle herself in a crisis it seems unfair to ask her to fend off a potentially broken cat woman whilst simultaneously digging through her earliest most traumatic memories.

Of course having said all that… it is up to Isis. So he waits to see if she still says yes.

"I do… remember the photo's Nick, in that care we found…" The ones that the police are still tracing for them.

There's fear resonating from Isis but also a sense of resolution. "Plus the ones who were held there with me. If they're still alive, that is."

Nick is strong enough to hold Isis if she goes off the rails. He also knows of few tricks to calm her - that include food. "Do you want me to sit here or?"

Either way, Jean can go poking around. Isis has lowered the telepathic blocks she knows exist.

Jean takes a deep breath, steadying her own mind. The truth is, she still has blocks on her telepathy. And while she's considered talking to the Professor about removing them, she's also still a little bit afraid of herself without them. Taking off the training wheels is scary.

But those are thoughts that she keeps to herself, standing up and gesturing to the couch. "Go ahead and lie down," she suggests, looking for a chair to pull up to it. "And I want you to focus on your breathing first. Empty your mind."

Nick sits down closest to Isis head. That way he can grab any of the bits of her that can be sharp or bity in a hurry if need be. Beyond that, this is all Jean and Isis herself. If he looks worried, well… he is.

But Jean's been doing this for a while. Everything will be fine, right?

Isis lays down and takes Nicks hand, holding it tightly. There's no claws and she's not hissing or spitting at the moment.

Clearing her head isn't too hard - she's a cat, she can think about nothing.

Then, as Jean starts to dig, the memories start to come. Her as the teen they had rescued, back a few years to when was 13 to 15. The further back Jean moves, the more 'sharp' the feline-like mutants mind gets. Less human, more catlike, more feral.

That might start to affect Nick as she starts to broadcast.

Finally Jean finds a 'door' in Isis' mind. A locked door from about the age of 8 or 9. A little older than Nick had thought, but still close. All the talented psychic has to do is push through it.

Jean's presence in Isis' mind is an almost tangible thing. Partly it's a product of a lack of practice at manipulating minds, but it's also something of a choice on her part. You wouldn't creep around someone's home without letting them know you were there, after all. You certainly shouldn't do it inside their brain. There's a warmth to the presence as well, like sitting in a sunbeam or the knowledge that someone is sitting next to you in a close space. The sense of not being alone.

Jean is careful as she sifts through memories and thoughts, tracing her way back through Isis' personal timeline. "All right," she murmurs, aloud for Nick and in Isis' mind. "I'm going to try to do this gently, all right?" This is where inexperience becomes…well. A thing.

What Jean intends to do is open the door just a crack, so to speak. Peek inside and keep anything from rushing out and upsetting Isis. But when she tries to pick the lock, instead she ends up banging the door open like a SWAT team.

Isis is aware that Jean is in her mind - and the redhead can feel the felines natural tendancy to try and push her out reigned in. The young womans hand flexes around Nicks, her feral nature barely in check, broadcasting it loudly and empathically.

The door swings open and a swathe of memories rush forth. Isis yowls, her claws extending as she's thrown right back into what that eight year old had been. They're going to dig into Nicks hand where she holds it.

Worse though. She starts to sit up, empathically broadcast something terribly feral. It pushes at Jean and Nick but its Nick it will have the most affect on, working on his own animal nature.

Almost like she was designed to do that.

The memories hit Jean like semi-trailer. She's going to be drowning in them till she can sort through them.

Isis held in a chair, strapped to it with buckles and chains, hit with drugs to open her feline capabilities even further.

Isis being challenged with a puzzle in a dream. To find someone and bring them out. or through.

The failure is met by a large orange tabby - cat or larger feline - with a collar around their neck and modulator at their throat. When they punish her, it's not just physical, it's mental as well, augmented by an assault on the eight year olds senstive senses.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry," Jean repeats herself quickly, wincing as the door flies wide open and the memories come rushing out. This is admittedly part of why she has the blocks. She doesn't really know her own strength. Taking a deep breath, she structures her own mind first, then slams up a sort of…wall in Isis' mind.

Once the wall is up, it's like she's flipped a switch - like it's no longer happening in Isis' mind, but playing across a screen on the wall. Like it's happening to someone else.

Jean is breathing hard by the time the flood of memories is under control, focused more on keeping them that way than on the memories themselves. "I'm really sorry," she pants. "That was- That was really- So sorry." Her gaze is unfocused, attention fixed now on the mindscape rather than reality.

"Okay. Okay, I'm gonna slow this down. You tell me when we're seeing something useful."

Nick reaches out a hand to keep Isis down. Which won't help with her emotional state given the image that Jean is seeing but Nick can't see that scene and he really doesn't want her getting up from the couch. She's really… squirmy when she wants to be.

Nick's eyes go unfocused for a second and then he looks up at Jean. "That's… gonna be a bit rough…" His voice is already slightly growly but he's much better at holding it together in general than is Isis.

Isis is certainly squirmy, even now, and slim as she might be - she's still strong. Just not stronger than Nick. She's still hit his senses with her own feral nature. Did someone call? Cause Isis isn't in. All there is the cat / kitten they had made her be.

She lets out a feline growl as Jean backs off, recovering enough to simply nod.

"There …" as the redheaded Teep starts over. The mind is amazing thing, it remembers detail - even if the recall is difficult. "… that's a similar collar…" Not the same but that had been ten years ago, so that might be right.

Jean can feel the memories pushing at her now she's opened that door. They've been locked away and now they just want to be free.

In one image, there's a map on a screen to the side - Isis wasn't really in a state to know what it was but it's still indelibly marked on her mind. Facilities. Jean can see that. Across America. With letters on them I and J, the one they're now. K - M in upstate New York. N - P across the country near LA. She can see it all, even if parts of the memory are fuzzy.

Trying to force all of those memories, with all of the emotions behind them, through a funnel that they can actually be processed through is like forcing ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound sack. Jean wrestles with the memories, taking the force of all of the emotions and sensations behind them so that Isis doesn't have to go through it all again.

As relevant details are picked out, she shares them over to Nick as well, keeping him apprised of the tactical information at least. Just in case it's lost. "You're doing great, Isis," she murmurs. "Focus on the periphery."

Nick blinks as Isis empathic ability roils over his senses and glances up at Jean. He's got the cat. He's got the cat. He's got the cat.

Oops. He doesn't have the cat. That sends Nick scrambling to get the cat back before she tries to get at Jean. Or, like, climb on her and just perch.

Because lord knows THAT's happened before.

Jean wrestles with Isis' memories, which frankly are pretty horrific. It's not just that they kept her in a cell. She was doped and tested on from such a young name. Made to perform and punished when she didn't.

The last memory is that large orange big cat, towering over the small, young, cat-girl and beating her for failure, while talking - with that sonically enhanced voice box barking at her.

That's it. That's all it takes. Nicks grip fails as she broadcasts again. The woman scampering up the back of the couch and then 'stepping' across to literally sit on Jeans shoulder…. with her claws out, digging into the redheads shoulder.

"Hey, hey, hey, okay!" Jean winces as Isis starts to climb, quickly erecting a nice little scaffold of telekinetic force to at least take the force and the weight of it. There's not a lot she can do about the claws without putting Isis in danger of falling, and given everything she's just absorbed, she's not going to do that.

"Isis," she says slowly, pushing the door gently toward closed. "It's okay. You're safe now. You're here with us. You're not that person anymore. You're in control."

"Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!" Nick says as he tries to get Isis back. "Okay. Come on. Come on back. Don't claw up Jean, she's being helpful."

He looks at Jean. "I am so sorry…" He's used to being clawed, but has fur to soften the blow. He DOES lose a lot of shirts though.

"Bad Isis. Isis bad… Isis failure." Nicks heard all this before. "Isis deserves to be punished. Isis will do better." It would be heartbreaking if the tallish mutant wasn't climbing Jean like a ladder and sitting there, her catseyes wild.

Is it any wonder the kids at school didn't like her?

Nick manages to grab her and pull her back, just as Jean closes the door on her mind. Are the memories locked away again? Or will they seep through now the seals been broken?

Either way, Jean recovered vital information.

With Nick, Isis is rubbing her ears against his chest, going through the litany of why's she bad. Slowly it fades and the woman trembles "Sorry, sorry … Did did did I hurt anyone?"

"No, it's okay," Jean says first to Nick, then to Isis. "Hey." Sure, there's some blood on her shoulder. But it's a very small thing, considering everything that precipitated it. And despite that, Jean steps closer to offer a hug of her own, reassuring. "It's okay, Isis. You did good, okay? That was…that was a lot. And our minds tend to close things off for a reason. I'm sorry I let so much of it come through before I got a handle on it."

"You're alright, Isis. Jean's…" Jean's alright too but Nick still feels bad about the fact that she's bleeding. She came out to give them a hand and he knows it's been nearly as rough on her as it has on Jean.

"Did you get anything out of it though? They seem to have helped Isis' mind close of that memory so that she couldn't later use it against them." Or perhaps if she was ever caught. Or rescued. Which as it turns out she was.

"I I I think we did. Jean …" Isis sniffs and her eyes go to the blood on the pyschics shoulder. "I'm sorry … Nick, we need the first aid kit." She feels terrible. Jeans possibly lucky that Isis hasn't put her head in the womans lap. But she doesn't.

"We we got… was it … buildings, Jean? I … didn't recognise it. Buildings with letters on them." There was other stuff, but maybe Nick doesn't need to be scarred.

"Hey, it's okay," Jean reassures, shaking her head. "You had a whole lot going on in there, and a whole lot of ugly in the background. I know you weren't trying to hurt me. And believe me, I've had worse," she adds, rueful.

"But yeah, we got some buildings there. Some locations. A good image of that sound thing they were using. Which was an asshole move, by the way," she grimaces. Jean isn't really prone to cursing, but that deserves it.

Nick goes to get the first aid kit and comes back with some gauze and an alcohol pad. He's not sure if Jean's going to want to handle that herself or if she needs some assistance but with Jean he's found it best to assume that she is capable.

"It really is. You should hear it with my ears. We're worried they may have more." He pauses.

"Stark Industries has a copy for… reasons that are a bit more involved than we probably want to explain here. If you were to call and ask for Pepper Potts she might be helpful."

And that's something Nick was planning on doing anyway, so if Jean also wanted to do it, that'd be fine.

With a map, they'll be able to mark those buildings out. The big orange cat? Isis wants to forget him and what was done to her, but that's going to need some work - she can't be in the field and have that reaction. It comprimises Nick among other things.

"Can can I do anything to … make that better? The … I … don't want to collapse again and do that." She nods to Jeans shoulder.

"Scott has some of the metal." She offers. "He said he was going to speak to Hank."

Jean will check the first aid kit at least, enough to clean off her shoulder and stick some bandaids on in case anyone sees her on the street. That's an awkward conversation.

"If you really want to come to terms with those memories, Isis, I think you should talk to Betsy or the Professor," she suggests. "I'm not…I just don't have the skill or finesse to do it right myself. I would if I could, but I'm afraid I'd do more harm than good." She reaches for the other woman's shoulder, reassuring.

"You did great, Isis. It takes a lot to face that kind of thing. And to go back to it after your mind's already decided it's better not to."

Nick will have to get used to dealing with Isis reactions in this matter. He hasn't really had to deal with that before but he does agree. Isis did well.

"You were really helpful all the same, Jean. And we appreciate you coming out. Is there anything we can do for you or get you in return? We'll be dropping by the school in a few days. I have a class to teach."

"You do?" Isis looks at Nick. That's news to her. She might have known and just forgotten, she does that.

"I'll … think about who to see. I need to do something, I know." Isis doesn't get on with people very well. "Thank you for coming out, though. I appreciate it. I'm sorry I hurt you."

Something occurs to the feline-like mutant. "I have ice cream! I'll get you some." She bounds off then. Leaving Nick to see the pyschic out - maybe she'll be back before Jean goes.

You know, with the ice cream she just promised.

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