|Seeing is Believing|
|What: Magik pops in on Firestorm and attempts to prove that magic is real.|
The Hudson Nuclear Power Plant was not build for commercial power, it was small and compact, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Now the area is cordoned 3 miles in every direction, and no one but dumb kids dares to get through the atomic warning black-on-yellow signals placed all around the area. But the truth is there is no radiation. But the nuclear experts and government bureaucrats just can't believe what their Geiger counters state, and keep the area secured. The plant, anyway, was completely destroyed months ago. What few remains could be savaged, where removed, and only a hollow shell of a building remains. The underground levels were leveled, so they are covered by debris and fallen chunks of metal, concrete and glass. Or at least they were like that until a month or two ago, when Firestorm returned and did some modifications. Now two of the sublevels are in pristine conditions, some labs and machines in working order, the space of the old reactor replaced by chemical electrical generators. A large area, though, is not labs or research equipment, but looks more like a modern living room. Bit plasma screens, several channels going at once, a comfortable couch, couple computer terminals in a corner, a mini-kitchen area, etc.
"Nice place." The voice could be coming from one of the televisions that fill the room with background noise, but it doesn't quite blend in to the rest. Illyana's found a place to sit that gives her a good view, dressed in her biker-chic but legs crossed at the ankles swinging back and forth in an almost childish manner. "Well, it's got space anyway with is a leg up on mine."
That is just not supposed to happen because there is no way in into the underground complex. At least not without some hours of digging. Firestorm just phases through the ground, of course. "What the hell?" His first reaction is not very good. Someone invaded his secret hideout, after all. "Magik! How did you..." right, teleportation "...find me?" Which is harder to explain. No one knows he is here!
Illyana gives Firestorm a grin that's sharp and full of teeth. "Magic." She explains, before hopping down so she can walk the room with a slow gait, looking around. Like she didn't just invade his secret hideout. "You've got a distinct magical signature. It's not hard to find." Well, when you've got the magical mojo that Illyana does in Limbo it's not hard anyway.
Firestorm glares, arms crossed over his chest. "Magic, right, sure." Yeah, not all that convinced. Of course not many modern people believes in magic, even thought there must be several public super-beings very open about their abilities. That Firestorm is an sceptic, though, is very ironic. "What are you doing here?"
Illyana slides her hands into the back pockets of her jeans as she brings her slow perusal of the room around to him and then lifts her shoulders in a shrug. That smirk touches her lips again. "I finished my homework and was bored." She clucks her tongue at him, tone chastising. "Still don't believe in Magik, eh?"
Well, that is a tricky question. "Actually..." Firestorm frowns. "Depends on what you call magic." He steps forward, walking around the living room, trying to detect the disk of light of the other day. The screens go mute. "I mean, I am keeping an open mind, but I think I like to believe everything has a scientific explanation. Even if human science falls short right now."
"Depends on your definition of science then." Illyana says, dropping down onto his couch and stretching out like she owns the place. She nods over to the televisions he just muted. "I'm guessing that you've got some kind of control over whatever radio-infrared-whatchamajigger that a remote control would send out, right? I can't do that. But I can control magical forces. Sense them."
Firestorm eyes Illyana. Well, hmm... she sure looks good on his couch, yes. "Well yes, electromagnetic sensors for the screens," he explains, looking a bit distracted. "Each has a slightly different wavelength. And I can project them." It is very simple, really." Or maybe not for a biker-sorcerer girl. "Hey, can you explain 'magic' in terms a high-school student could understand them?"
Illyana seems to mull this over for a bit, and with a dramatic sort of sigh, she pushes herself back up to her feet and walks over to him. She raises a finger. "Stay still." She gives him a smirk and a wink and then takes a step back, letting her eyes close and going still a moment. When she opens them again, they seem to glow, just a bit, as do her hands. When she moves them, they leave contrails of light. "Magic is a kind of energy. If you have the talent, you can manipulate it." She starts to move around him, hands moving in graceful, intricate gestures and lines of light start to draw themselves on the floor, creating a circle with elegant designs that loop and swirl. "Twist it this way and that, and you can get it to do certain things. Just like you can concentrate light to make a LASER or get it to set off signals to make a picture on a screen." Given Firestorm's nature, he might be able to feel.... something as Illyana slowly builds that design in a circle around him.
Well... yes, given his expression it looks like he is feeling something, just something that makes no sense to him. It is like trying to read a book in an alien alphabet. "But you are pulling that energy from... nowhere," at least nowhere he can see. "You know, the First Law of Thermodynamics is getting kicked in the guts here." He kneels, touching a line of light with his fingers, trying to notice some difference in the atomic composition of the floor tiles. They glow: so they are releasing photons. Just there are no chemical reactions.
"*This* energy is coming from me." Illyana admits, finishing the circle. As it completes, Firestorm feels a sort of *SNAP* in the air around him and can sense a humm as the glyphs flare and a wall of translucent light encircles him. If he reaches out to touch it, the wall certainly *feels* real to him.
"What does that glyphs mean?" *SNAP*? Firestorm looks vaguely confused. His eyes, glowing white, are hard to read, but he seems to be studying something he can definitely see. Then he pushes against the ward with a hand. "This is really interesting, a wall of force, but it is transparent to air molecules. I guess I am going to have to call it magic, at least for now." He half-smiles.
"They're to help guide and focus the magic into doing what I want. What they are, how they're placed, their relation to the others... It directs the flow, amplifies it. Think of it as a magical circutboard I suppose." Illyana doesn't know enough science and engineering to draw perfect parallels. As he pushes, the 'wall' holds firm, as solid as any wall. Except this one he couldn't phase through if he tried. "It's not designed to trap air. This one is designed to trap magical creatures." She grins at him. "If you weren't magical, you'd pass right through it."
"If I were a 'magical creature', I would know it, hmm?" Counters Firestorm. He pushes harder, frowns. Then even harder, shattering the barrier. "That took several tons of pressure to break," he notes, surprised. "How could you store so much energy? You seem quite normal. Can all human beings learn to do it?"
Illyana is about to say something as Firestorm starts to push on the barrier but hey, she didn't think the guy could exert several tons of pressure so casually. He pushes harder and one of her arms curls around her midsection and then he shatters it and she's biting back a scream as her knees give out and she drops to the floor. The barrier and the circle shatter into nothingness as Illyana collapses.
Firestorm reacts surprisingly quickly, catching Illyana before she hits the floor. "What... did just happen?" He lays her down on the couch, a pillow under her head. Even through his gloves his body seems unpleasantly hot. "Magik? Can you hear me?" He checks her pulse.
Illyana's body shakes under his touch and then spasms when she coughs bright red blood stains her pale skin that's gone even whiter. She's bitten through her lower lip to keep her cries of pain from being a scream. Her pulse is fast and it takes long moments for her to corral her wits together to answer. "Told you... energy came from *me*." Her voice is sandpaper-raw but he can still hear anger and fury. She's in a small, curled-up ball, taking deep breaths to get some control.
Firestorm looks pained, kneeling on the floor at the side of the couch, "I didn't understand you were still linked somehow, I am sorry." And he is not sure what is wrong, anyway! There are no visible injuries, but Illyana seems in shock. "Do you need... a hospital? Or call someone able to deal with supernatural injuries?"
Illyana laughs humorlessly, a dark, wet sound. "A hospital won't help." Slowly, she works on sitting upright, pushing his hands away. "Should have known. A guy's first instinct is to break what he doesn't understand." Her tone is scathing and her eyes flicker to lambent white as she glares at him. She's in pain, and that makes it harder to control her temper.
"Hey now, I was just gauging the field, I..." Firestorm shrugs helplessly, retreating a little. "I guess yes, I usually do try to break things into components, and learn how they work. Usually I can put them back together pretty fast. That is what I do." He offers her a glass of water, which didn't exist a second before. "Or would you prefer soda, or tea?"
Illyana leans back, arms still curled around herself, knees drawn upward. Her head rests against the back of the couch and her eyes close. "Tea, please." Her voice is still rough, as if she'd been screaming for hours but she seems to be breathing a bit more easily. "Next time, *ask* before you break me." She manages to put a bit of mockery into her tone, though she still sounds exhausted and pained.
"I... think I will try to avoid a next time," replies Firestorm, not wanting to joke about something that hurt her so badly. But if she can joke about it, perhaps she will be alright soon. The glass of water changes into a mug of tea, on a plate, with sugar cubes at the sides. And a small metal spoon that appears a second or two later almost reluctantly.
Illyana sits there quietly for a few more long moments before opening her eyes and leaning forward enough to take the tea. Every movement seems like it's an effort as she adds the sugar and stirs. "Yeah. Let's do that, huh?" She says, trying for humor but mostly just sounding tired. "And to answer your question, humans store a lot more mystical energy than you think. And the circle amplifies it." She sips at the tea, letting her eyes close again.
Firestorm stands up, again looking a little skeptic about those energies science can't detect and most humans can't use. But well, she proved she could work with forces unknown to him. "How did you learn magic? Are there secret schools for kids with the talent or it is something you can figure out reading books about occultism and witchcraft?"
Illyana gives a long, soft sigh. She's at least got some color back. "Maybe. I don't know." She admits. "My situation was... unique." Well, she sure as hell *hopes* it was unique anyway. "And yes, to some degree. With the right books. It's easier if you have some talent for it. Some people are born with an affinity for it."
"Unique situation, but haven't you met other magicians to... do research? Or compare notes?" Firestorm rubs his chin, "sorry, you look very... tired and I am making too many questions. I have been a crappy host."
Illyana gives a short chuckle, wincing some and sucking in a slow breath. "Not a lot." She admits. "I don't spend a lot of time in those circles. I'm a mutant." She figures that a superhero sort is less likely to have the knee-jerk mutant-hatred reaction.
There is no particular reaction to her statement about being a mutant. Although... "some mutants have abilities modern science has problems explaining. Couldn't be what you consider magic be actually some kind of psychic power?"
Illyana gives a soft snort of amusement. "No." She says, sounding very sure of herself. "Trust me." A dark, humorless laugh. "Trust me." She repeats. She wipes a hand down her face and sits up. "I should probably go." Apparently the fun of dropping in on him has gone. Having one's lifeforce shattered can do that.
Firestorm nods in acknowledge. "You don't need to go if you need to rest. I... don't get many visitors here. Actually... you are the first. But I am not supposed to be here anyway." And he does not get to have normal conversations often. Not that this was anything like a normal conversation.
"Teleporter." Illyana reminds him. "Home isn't that far away. If you want visitors? You need to be somewhere a bit more accessible." She points out. She stands up, swaying a bit. She's still got blood on her shirt and looks pretty rough. "I'll see you later, Firecracker." One of those light disks open at her feet and sweeps upwards to whisk her away.