|What: Kilroy meets Mantis.|
Kilroy is busy doing mischief. He has had to, a passionate creature driven toward goals, his primary goals have been erased from his mind and ensured that anyone who tried to help him notice has entirely forgotten about it. But that didn't necessarily prevent someone from finding him. So to a precognitive she can sense a massive change, a spinning top of global if not galactic or cosmic proportions, just spinning, spinning out of control.
Kilroy seems to be merely sitting at a cafe, but he's really moving money from one pile to another in a nearby evil bank, setting it to implode, like a demolitions expert to make them split up so they can't cause the damage they did before. Doing the things he didn't do before, but he believes need to be done.
Mantis gets some stares at the cafe, but soothes them with a few simple gestures. A smile, a nod of the head, a slight deference in expression. Empathic as she is, she often knows what people need to feel secure and safe in her presence, alien as she is. She cocks her head at Kilroy as she makes her order to the nearby waitress, "Tea. Mint, please." she says, then calmly takes a seat across from him.
"This one will not interrupt your task, momentous though it may be. But is trying to understand. You are a fulcrum and a lever, a hinge and a door. Where do you lead?"
Kilroy arches an eyebrow at the comment, but isn't distracted. Fortunately he's not one of those magicians that require concentration to work. It just does. Mainly because a lot of the work being done isn't his. He cocks his head and looks at her consider the statement, "That's an interesting statement. I think it depends on who is pulling the lever." He considers telling her more, but if he does, she might become victim to whoever has been erasing him as well. He's noticed that the closer he gets to investigating the coin, the more time is lost...and he is tired of losing time.
Mantis smiles to the waitress as the waitress sets the tea in front of her, then touches her hand briefly, "He likes you, too. Ask." she says simply, drawing a flush to the woman's cheeks. She lifts the cup evenly, unrushed, the tilt of her cup a precise 20 degrees. "Perhaps you should find out where your handle is, then. That way, you may find the hand."
Kilroy is not ignorant of the world, because he has studied certain things. How much is metaphor? "I used to be the financial adviser to Genosha. I knew something had been done to my mind. I was a senior cabinet member. It has some of the most powerful telepaths on earth. An entire week of my life is gone, and no memory remains. I have reason to believe that none of them remember either. The same thing occurred in the oblivion bar. Full of spell casters. Two weeks gone. Psychiatrists, cerebral scientists. Something is keeping me from remembering something. Something that can hide from me. If I seek the handle, it will simply erase this moment. And likely from your mind as well.
Mantis considers for a moment, a green nail tracing her green tea, blending in with her green skin, an emerald creature but for the black of her hair and her eyes. This man is peculiar, both for his openness and his acceptance. He has not remarked on her appearance. And he was once a powerful man in a powerful place and now he sits in a small cafe and seems perfectly at home.
"There is no such thing as erasing. When an eraser is drawn across a chalkboard, the particles are scattered. On the brush, in the air, beneath the nails of a teacher. Washed down the drain when the teaches washes her hands. Some stubbornly embedded in the board, invisible, but refusing to surrender."
"Don't try to find the whole thing. Find a fragment. Even if forgotten, this one will leave an impression upon you and you the same in return. Ripples. Otherwise, one could unweave the entire universe with a single such erasure. The universe is whole. There is no creation, no destruction. Only a changing of shape and form."
And at that moment Kilroy remembers a page in a book, the book of the man who didn't exist so long ago, and she can see clear as day a bomb go off in paradise, a nuclear cloud from so long ago still echoing to now. A coin spinning and spinning and spinning. "She can stop me finding out about the lost memory...but the story always leaves an out." He looks up and stares at her. "I need to leave. I need to find out where they took him. She can't stop that, which is why she hasn't erased Lunair's memory either. There are rules."
He sits down and breathes a sigh of relief..."there are rules."
After a moment he blinks, "Oh....hi. I'm Kilroy. Nice to meet you by the way...and you are?" Mantis smiles, "Mantis. This one does not believe much in rules, but, if they help you, you should use them. This one unfortunately does not know this Lunair. This one knows the man Warlock, he usually carries great wisdom. Who is it that you think was taken, or has that been lost to you as well?" say My father. I last remember confronting him over an artifact of tremendous power. He had his goons there, I was supposed to have help. Suddenly...the artifact is gone and so is he. He is somewhere...and the coin is not destroyed, but magically shielded. There are still ways for me to sense it. Warlock...." he considers, "the name is not familiar, but ..." he remembers. Something from Genosha he remembers, "Did Rocket say something about it? No. It was in a report I read. Something about...anomalies. If he is who I vaguely think he is, then he's important. And you are wise to listen to him. Lunair is the woman I love."
Kilroy says, "My father. I last remember confronting him over an artifact of tremendous power. He had his goons there, I was supposed to have help. Suddenly...the artifact is gone and so is he. He is somewhere...and the coin is not destroyed, but magically shielded. There are still ways for me to sense it. Warlock...." he considers, "the name is not familiar, but ..." he remembers. Something from Genosha he remembers, "Did Rocket say something about it? No. It was in a report I read. Something about...anomalies. If he is who I vaguely think he is, then he's important. And you are wise to listen to him. Lunair is the woman I love."
Mantis has her antennae perk, "Rocket is known to this one, he of the fur and the many guns. This one does not feel fondness for guns, but does for Rocket. He means well. Warlock is called Adam. Not a wizard, but something else. A wise man. A thinker. He is skilled at solving large problems. Puzzles," she says, taking another sip of her tea.
"This one is saddened that your father has goons. Goons, outside of a children's film about pirate treasure, generally only show loyalty to the violent and the cruel. It is good that you have someone to love. Love can protect."
Kilroy says, "My father had 'good' motivation but was warped beyond measure. I think he's been taken. And I should find him. I met him once, Adam Warlock is the one mentioned in the report. If I'm right...then this problem is in an alternate timeline though, very dangerous, the Nine Prime Worlds, not space. But Love does indeed protect. It's one of the most powerful kinds of magic there is...and the oldest."
Mantis cocks her head, "Magic. Science. Living. Dead. Humans categorize so very much. This one thinks your minds look sometimes like the homes of ants, tiny compartments, everything with its proper place. All timelines alternate. You simply need to know when it revolves and where. This one is not familiar with Nine Prime Worlds. It reminds this one of a program on the television: Star Trek. In Vietnam, Star Trek had many followers.
Kilroy nods, "My grandfather taught me a lot. I deliberately didn't learn magic like others. Everything has a spirit. Everything. Rocks. Forks. Today. Laughter. If you can speak to it. And it sounds like you have a wide perspective. The nine prime worlds are nine timelines that rule millions. They regard all other realities as unreal. They're technologically advanced but their biggest threat is just...how big they are." He finally gets the star trek reference. "Wait...are you Orion?"
Mantis shakes her head and gives a small laugh, "No, and neither is this one slave, although I have been called such. This one is Kree and Couatl, plant and flesh, Madonna and, yes, even Whore. This one has been worshiped by the universe, although that may not have happened yet. This one isn't always sure when she is," she says, taking another sip of her tea, "This one is...Mantis. She who makes Moondragon scowl, because this one fears no contradiction...and has beaten her ass once. Moondragon does not take losing lightly."
Kilroy says, "Whore?" His brow furrows at that. He might be slightly darker and his brain Swiss cheese but he's still somewhat of a gentleman. He almost says that of course she isn't but...so much metaphore....so he simply says, "Pleased to meet you Mantis. I don't know moon dragon. Kree sounds familiar. Couatl does not. Plants don't like me much right now, nor do animals. Something that was supposed to happen didn't and the blame me. But I'm glad you will be worshiped by the universe. That sounds interesting. I dare say that even if your memory was erased I bet you'd get it back again." He smiles, "And I'm pleased by this. Madonna....so...you have children?"
Mantis shakes her head, "Not in the conventional sense. Do not crease your brow so at 'whore', Master Kilroy. This one learned much, of humility and of the flesh, of which this one is half. This one is sorry that blame weighs upon you, the sickness of cause and effect has many victims. This one does not particularly care to be worshiped, but it is necessary to create peace. Apparently, this one's very lack of desire to be worshiped counts as a qualification," she smiles softly.
Kilroy considers. She's precognitive and then decides that she's likely speaking of an event yet to happen. He's seen enough of them. He's known something was coming for quite some time which is why having it taken from him drives him to distraction. "You know what....she...yes it is a she whoever she is...every time she's erased a memory, its been just me and another person. Maybe a team....talk to this Adam Warlock. See if he's up for a psychotically dangerous trip to free a psychotically dangerous fruitloop I'm descended from." But the stakes are more than that. Time has been tampered with. Disjointed. Upturned. The rails are coming off the tracks.
Mantis smiles slightly and somehow her tea cup has been refilled, although you don't recall the waitress returning, but then maybe she did, or did she bring two glasses to begin with? At any rate, it steams across the pea green of her face (she likes pea as a color, although many humans seem to have bad associations with the term), "This one believes Adam Warlock himself has been referred to as a dangerously psychotic frootloop. By himself, if I'm not mistaken. Or perhaps another him. He has a view of those. Some of the Hims are even capitalized," she says. "But this one will seek out Warlock. Some people find him off putting, because he's so strange and unusual. But, then, I myself am...strange and unusual." she says, flicking her antenna. Kilroy says, "I'm the same way, so who am I to complain?" He looks her over. She might be part plant but the curves are all there. Still, he nods, "I appreciate it. MY father met versions of himself, but I haven't yet. I've been told there aren't many of me. Does...it hurt? Seeing so much? I can see a coin anywhere in the universe in time or space, but that's just one spectrum. It looks like the veil is a lot more...lifted for you."
Mantis purses her lips, genuinely considering, "Once, yes. Distance is required. Perspective. To understand that fluctuation, that change, cannot be prevented, and need not be bad, even if, perhaps, it is not desired. To know that someone for whom this one had come to care, that they...he...was fragile and mortal and bound to be broken. Yes, this was painful. But this one learned. This one is always learning," she says, pausing a moment out of respect for her own emotion and the man who brought it, whether he be alive or dead. She isn't certain which he is, in this world, but, then, she's never sure which world she's in.
"Part of this is why this one refers to herself as such. To be 'I', you would need to meet me, whole and complete. But this one is never whole and complete, never I, for there are other selves on other paths. And this one tries, always, to tell the truth."
Kilroy says, "There is a fascinating movie I recommend you watch called, "The invention of lying"...but to some their minds are locked in the sunlit world, only seeing that which is without magic or wonder...to them, they believe they are honest. But is mickey mouse or the lone ranger or sleeping beauty any less real in the cosmic sense of things? You can be an 'I' if you accept that the I is a construct...but...we're getting into weirdness. Though I suspect we both kind of live there." He orders some coffee himself. The money has been moved. But there are other things to do now. This might entail interesting things. "This one who might or might not be...what's his name?""
Mantis smiles, "This one calls him the Swordsman, though he surely has other names," she says, "Real in the cosmic sense...mmmmmmmmmmm, this one, thinks, perhaps, these things can be real, but constructed, different. Without soul. The image of the mouse to which you refer...this one finds it unnerving. Disquieting. The empty smile that never ceases, the eyes that never blink. Consuming wealth in endless quantities, mostly from children."
Kilroy says, "Well there is that, yes. I kind of fight that nonsense. Actually that bank," he points to the wagon spoke nearby, "Is about to divide itself into smaller less evil chunks. But before he was ruined, the mouse was an affable everyman. The world is vast enough in time. It turns and continues turning. Soul is in all things if you can awaken it and listen to it, though I totally truly understand why it might not seem that way to someone so awake to the world as you. I'm afraid I haven't heard of the swordsman, but I wish you well in your quest to find him."