2020-04-14 - Antlers and Serum


An impromptu science experiment reveals some information on the serum Nick and Isis found

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Apr 14 05:02:53 2020
Location: Xavier's Institute

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Theme Song




Nick is making a sandwich. It's late in the afternoon and his class is wrapped up for the day. It's wilderness survival. That's what he teaches. They're never large classes, usually only four or so students but he does his best to give them a real workout and give them some real skills. Some of that involves practical tests with his, ahem, teaching assistant.

"So. What have we learned?" He asks the muddy, dirty students standing in front of him while he puts mustard and salami on bread.

"Never trust Isis." One of the students mutters.

Nick chuckles. "Correct. Don't trust random people you meet in the woods unless you're well and truly lost. Which if you were paying attention in class, you shouldn't be. Now go on and shower. I'll see you all on Thursday."

Lin waits til all of the students have passed before making her way into the kitchen. It might take a moment to recognize her. Her long hair is piled in a messy bun atop her head, covering the newly protruding antler stubs. She's lost a bit of weight due to her illnesses and is taking advantage of her antlers just starting to go grow to try wearing something different. A silk halter top in a sky blue and a long layered white cotton skirt that hades her bandage well. Another change, she's no longer hiding the shiny mass of scar tissue covering the whole of her back or the wicked slash mark along the side of her neck.

Lin snickers softly in amusement as she looks for one of her favorite fizzy drinks, then peers around to check Hank isn't watching before grabbing two more and settling on a stool. "Never trust wood strangers." She grins at Nick and offers a shy smile. Then looks around for Isis. "Was fun?"

Isis trails the group in, looking pleased with herself but a little … tired. "I only offered to show them a short cut. It's not my fault they can't jump that gap over the river." She says, eyeing Nicks sandwich and hesitating. That's different, before she would have just taken it - but not now.

"Hello Lin. They didn't think it was fun. I did."

Of course, it's easy for Isis to make them trust her, she can manipulate emotions.

"It's fun for me." Nick laughs. "Works every time and they say the same thing every time." Never trust Isis. She may have a reputation among Nick's students. Of course her power makes it such that she can get that trust even though those students almost certainly tell their friends. Mutant powers are wonderful things.

Nick makes a second sandwich and slides it over to Isis, and then looks at Lin curiously. "What happened to your antlers?"

Nick's known her for a while and they didn't USED to be just growing in. They either got cut or something else happened and that's probably not a good thing. He knows they didn't just molt.

Nick rolls a shoulder and smirks at Isis. "You pushed Sarah in, didn't you." She was especially muddy.

Lin laughs softly as she watches Isis spot the food and then not take it immediately. She doesn't know her well yet but thinks the last time she saw her she was eating Nick's food before he finished making it. "That's funny. Lin would have just flied." A pause. "Flown." Followed by a slight frown. "Or floated?" She's clearly making an effort to communicate verbally and beyond the usual of only answering a direct question or stating necessary information. Something definitely seems to have changed for the antlered mutant.

Already on the her second sugary drink and opening the third, she watches Isis and Nick both, curious to see what happens with the food. In another attempt at continuing conversation she offers, "Lin rode in Besty! It was funfunfun!" She drinks more of her soda and then gives Nick a chagrined look. "They.. they do fall off. Hurts though, powers hard to control and in fall when the velvet sheds, is all a mess. Scared someone once, they scream and run and so Lin just always hid til it was over, the shedding, the new growing starting. Only…lotta things happened this time, got a bad scratch, infections, a cold. Hank get very upset. So now Lin lives here again."

They probably get the sense there is a lot missing from that explanation but it's clear that she's trying! Lin giggles. She will have to watch one of these classes it sounds funny.

Isis's bright blue eyes watch the food as Nick makes that second sandwich. When the plate is pushed over to her she doesn't hesitate to offer it back to Nick and wait….

"Flown." She says as she waits for Nick to accept the offering. Your antlers fell off?" She peers at the ones that regrowing and reaches out a hand to touch them. Such a cat - no sense of space for anyone.

Isis hadn't been able to leave the Institute soon enough. As soon as she was old enough she had gone to live with Morlocks in Mutant Town. Nick asking her to help with his classes had been … interesting.

"I did not. I might have just given her a scare as she jumped."

"Flown." Nick says at virtually the same time. He accepts the offering, takes a morsel and then pushes the plate back. It looks a lot like 'letting the alpha eat first' which is odd because that's sort of not how it works with real animals but strange things happen when you cross animal psychology with human psychology.

"Ah so no one cut them off. Good. I was about to be mad. And you're not sick anymore."

Nick looks over at Isis and frowns slightly. "Isis… wait. Do we have any of the samples we've recovered from the cases we've been working." With some of the serums and such that the people have been using, he means. Nick gives a lot of that stuff to Isis to file but he knows she sometimes keeps some on her just in case they're going to make a trip to SHIELD or similar.

"Lin I… don't suppose you have any of your old antler left do you?"

Lin smiles at Isis and moves her hair aside so thet woman can see where they've started gorwing. The skin has healed around the new buds and is no longer infected or painful and she's not fevered or suffering from the headaches either. "They grow fast! Over the summer. Final growth in fall, stay through winter and then shed again come spring." Yes she hid it every year. She can't, for whatever reason, use her powers to heal herself. So it'd been a miserable time. This year especially so compounded by severael other issues that on their own would have been okay, combined, well, she'd been seriously ill.

"Bunch of things happened at once and I got real sick. Hank had to find Lin. Made me better. Helped me figure out something important." Her voice softens with affection. Her friend had given her back her will to live and explained so much that she'd never understood at the same time. No, she's not unhappy to be back at the institute at all.

She watches their interaction with interest and then focuses on Nick. "Um. Why? Should still be in the concrete room under the park. Where I was staying before." She had kept going to work until she hadn't been able to crawl out of her nest and navigate the stairs. "Wait no, in a box. Had some things there, he brought them. Is in my room. Was gonna leave them in the woods but forgot."

When Nick takes his offering, Isis nearly pounces on the food and … ahem … wolfs it down. The sandwich is gone before either of the other two knows what happened. "Huh…" she says to Lin, around the final mouthful of food. "Nick sheds his fur when the seasons changes he doesn't say it itches. Does it itch, Nick?"

The slim mutant rubs her ears against his arm as she settle next to, watching Lin carefully. "Um. We do. What sort of sample did you want? There's the ser—- syrup? Liquid." She means serum. "and the metal itself. Not a lot, but we have some for sure."

"No it just clogs the shower." Nick says to Isis. His mind is going at a million miles an hour at the moment. He taps his clawed fingers on the conter. "The last one we collected. The one they tried to use on us. I have a theory but I don't want to test it on a person. Lin's antlers will have mutant DNA in them because Lin is a mutant so…"

He looks back at Lin. "I know it's weird but if you just have a little piece. I think I know what they're doing to us. To mutants I think."

There's a bunch of that which probably isn't clear because Nick isn't explaining things and is making several leaps of logic at the same time here but… he seems quite earnest. More so than he's sounded in a long time.

Suspecting she's missed some things that sound important Lin shrugs aggreeably and gets up. She's almost out of the room before she remembers and turns back. "Be right back." They definitely get a good look at the scars on her as she exits the room, there doesn't seem to be a bit of skin not covered in them, and the shirt is backless. Whatever happened during her travels must have been truly horrible. It doesn't take her long and Lin returns with one of the antlers, it's rather large, more elk like than deer. She isn't strong enough on her own to break it apart. "Here."

She takes her seat again and starts on her remianing soda. "Need mutant dna? What about..mutant plants? I can make lots of those. Might help?" It's not the same exactly but short of capturing a morloc for him which she isn't likely to do, it's the best she can offer aside from the antler. "Can have the other if you need Nick. I will save it for now."

"I've got that in the safe here. You told me not to keep at the office." Isis answers, sliding from the stool to get what Nick wants. She casts him a curious look though "You're not thinking of …" she shakes her head. Maybe he is.

By the time Lin gets back, Isis has the file with the sample in it. A vial of liquid - there's not much of it but it should be enough for what Nick is thinking.

"They tried to inject this into us. We saw what it did to a mutant they got. … it wasn't nice. I don't know that plants are the same …"

"Plants might work but I've never seen it used on plants. Best to try animal DNA… and yes Isis. I am thinking of that." This could be slightly risky but hey it's a chunk of Antler. What could the harm be?

Nick, once he has both antler chunk and serum turns the antler over and pours a few drops of the serum on it. Not much of it but enough to work into the pores of the bone. He hands the vial back to Isis. And waits.

And waits for a few minutes while nothing happens. Then there's a faint… ringing. Nick can hear it. Isis can hear it. Lin can even hear it. And it's not just a tone. There's information embedded in it somehow. It's like they're all suddenly homing pigeons. They know where to go and there's an urge to go there. An urge that would probably be a LOT more powerful if the tone were louder.

"Son of a… that's how they're doing it."

Lin frowns. "Who did this?" If someone is trying to hurt her friends she'll find them and kill them. Sometimes that is the only response that works. A hard lesson she's learned but learned well. She knows better than to say so however. "When? And where?" She hadn't known but she'd been busy, avoiding decisions and then being sick and resting. "Are they okay? Maybe I can help..if they are feral?" She can't heal any mutant. Sometimes it really bothers her, she can't heal humans either. Though she suspects she knows why, it's not something she'll ever be able to prove or change and so isn't something she chooses to focus on much.

Lin sighs heavily, touches the faded slash mark on her neck. "People suck." She says in a heartfelt tone. It's a wonder she hasn't wholly turned to hatred and violence, mistrust and fear. Though there is a darkness in her now that wasn't there before, that much is clear from her reactions and the scent of rage when Isis tells her about the attempt on them and what happened to another mutant.

Her anger and desire for vengeance are under control and her main concern is helping them however she can and despite everything, there is no hate within Lin Li. It is as always a foreign emotion to the young woman. So Lin finishes her third drink and watches what Nick does. It doesn't seem to have worked. Until she starts hearing a weird tone. "Oh. Nuckfuts. This bad." She is going to help them find who is doing this. Then she can figure out how to kill them. Anyone drawing mutants this way is not doing it to help them. More monsters. Like in Africa. "I told Hank. He is not the monster. The ones who do things like this, they are. Bad..evil. Must stop them." For good.

Boy can Isis hear it, her eyes start to glow neon blue and she rubs her ears against Nicks arm. He can feel her though, start to move towards the door - even as faint as this is. What would it be like if it was older. The feline mutant has to force herself to focus on Lin.

"A while ago. They were in a hospital afterwards. They weren't … like us. They looked like a human but after this stuff… " She shakes her head. "They started to look like us."

"They're putting the signal in the syrup?"

Nick puts a hand on Isis' shoulder to keep her from going anywhere. Lin doesn't seem to be at the same risk so he doesn't try locking the door yet. He grunts and shakes his head. "We couldn't hear it the first few times because it was using our own bone structure as the resonator." So it was being piped right to their ears without them knowing. How can they embed information like that? He's not sure but he'd bet good money it has something to do with the reverbium.

"They're putting something that sends mutants with animal like minds into homing mode. They must be using the reverbium to amplify that vulnerability." He sighs. "They wouldn't have to look like us. They just have to have the genetics. And they can be made… animals."

And tracking hounds, as they have seen.

"We have a lead, Lin. But it's going to require some finesse. Because we don't have enough to get the cops to take apart whatever they're doing. Not yet. Isis has some stuff that's been recent though…"

Isis can comment on that. As for Nick? He'll take the help, absolutely.

Lin frowns. "Why use cops. This our problem. We fix it. They won't.. won't care much cause it's mutants. Do what, put them in a cage for a while? Then they get free and do it all again. Just tell Lin where they are." She'll bring all the Mother's fury and wipe them out! Or give it her best try which is pretty good when she's that angry. She knows Hank wants to test her increase in power, this isn't what he has in mind though and she's sure he wouldn't approve. That thought gives her pause but only for a moment. Some things need doing, no matter how unpleasant they are.

Lin's eyes go to the direction of the lab. But what if..no. That is a thought for later perhaps for now she should just do as she is asked. "Maybe Lin's friends can steal what you need?" She changes track. "Rats, or some monkeys. I can guide them." She changes track as if she weren't just suggesting they murder everyone responsible.

Isis just sighs. "Because they're kidnapping people and hurting them. We don't kill and even if we stop this group, there'll be more. We can dismantle them using the legal system and prove that mutants can live within the law." At least, Isis thinks it goes something like that.

"From where? And what? Like Nick says, we have leads but we need to follow them. We might need to do something like that when we do…" Isis rubs her ears against Nicks arm "Can you make it stop, please?"

As to the other stuff, Isis raises a shoulder. "I don't know. The stuff that does this, is Reverbium. There was a creature, I think it was a human to start with, that was some form of dino-goo-monster that smelt of it. Reverbium that is. Maybe it's the next thing they're doing or maybe it's something else entirely."

"Also because the person doing it is using a large company to do it and if we just beat the living daylights out of him we'll never be sure we got everyone involved. And people will keep disappearing if we get it wrong. I'm not willing to take that risk." And so far as Nick is concerned it is his risk to take.

"As to the rats and birds… yeah that might be helpful. We need to sneak some stuff and as soon as I have a solid location I'll give you a call." Nick figures he and Isis should have one of those prettttty soon.

"Yeah that thing was disgusting. Well. What was left of it was disgusting."

Nick takes the antler piece and puts it in the knife drawer. There. That helps. A bit.

Lin studies Isis quietly. She most certainly has and will kill if she finds it necessary. Even if she doesn't the Mother might make the choice for her, or her friends. Isis has a point about the law stuff however. Lin knows enough to understand that and see the importance. She's not yet convinced it's the best way but she's willing to try it this way first. Especially since it's occurred to her that she doesn't want to become like the monsters that do this kind of thing. Killing in self defence is one thing. Planning it ahead of time, another. She aslo really doesn't want to dissapoint Hank. She owes him her life.

Then Nick explains about the company and Lin nods "That does make it harder, your way sounds right." She does add "Always more. With everything." She tells Isis. It's the same problem no matter how the bad people are dealt with. There will always be more. Hopefully there will always be those who want to stop them too. You can either keep trying or give up. She's not about to give up. Lin sighs as Nick continues. A whole company? "Lin caused an entire village to.." A weighted pause but she can't lie. "Die. Nothing will live there again for a long time. Don't remember it really, but Mother Earth was so angry. Here though, they'd find Lin and kill her even if she could maybe take the whole building. And there could be.. innocents. In there. So." She looks at Nick. "Follow your lead then but Lin will help." Unsaid is that she would risk that if he asked her to. She doesn't do things half way, Lin.

Isis was born as a weapon. Her entire life, up to when Nick had rescued her, was to kill or maim people. She doesn't say that though - Nick has had to stop her several times from killing someone. That she's spouting the Institute doctrine, is a good thing.

"I don't know what that thing was but I'm trying to find out. Maybe it was experiment gone wrong. I've seen those before." In New York they would try Lin and make a thing of it. It would deal the mutant cause a big blow.

"Can we get lunch, Nick?" Hadn't she just eaten?

Isis has had it drilled into her that the X-Men don't kill in ways that Lin probably hasn't. Nick finds that very important personally and he's done most of her training. Nick himself straightens up. "I'll give you a call soon. Now. Isis and I are going to go out for some lunch." Didn't he just make and eat a sandwich? Yes. But Isis is hungry. As she just said.

Isis is ALWAYS hungry.

"Care to come with us?"

Lin gives them both a beaming smile that lights up her entire face. "Yes, Lin would love to." She runs to get her phone so she can take pictures. Explaining when she returns, her voice hushed with excitement. "Lin has a hobby! A people one. Takes picturegrams! Hank taught me." She babbles happily as they go to leave, the dark thoughts she'd been having fading with her joy at being included.

No, she didn't recieve that particular training but its probably certain she will be now. If Nick and Isis don't say anything, she'll give away her thouhgts on the matter when she tells her friend about this adventure later and He'll certainly set her straight. "Oh and this is Misa. Cheetah at the zoo and his comfort dog, Zoomie." Most of Lin's pictures are of animals but there are a few plants and several people. "Oops. How did Lin naked get on here?!" She flushes and tucks the phone away. "Food. Yes?" And she quiets after that, content to just enjoy dinner with friends. Her days are getting better slowly but surely.

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