Oct 22, 2021 9:05 PM
in which we coerce a bell into learning mind control
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Edie is, frankly, not thrilled with their current situation. 

The years since Charles Xavier's death have not led her to forget everything he ever taught her about telepathic ethics, particularly the fact that the exact kind of behavior this place openly encourages is very specifically a no-no. 

Not to mention the fact that she's hardly guaranteed to be the most accomplished telepath here, or the fact that there are plenty of ways other than telepathy as she knows it to get got. The two of them have other concerns besides holding onto their principles. 

However, those concerns do not involve avoiding starvation and desperately attempting to aid any fellow refugees they can find while dodging genocidal killer robots. Sometimes the devil you don't know really is preferable to the devil you do. 

 

The array of minds spread out before her is astonishing. One of them is so high-fidelity it hurts to look at. Several of them are various less remarkable flavors of not quite human. One of them is a puzzle that she realizes, with a start, is some kind of fully sapient artificial intelligence. One of them is vaguely unpleasant, and passively psychic in a way she is, fortunately, able to shield herself and Emily from; against her own telepathy, the woman's mind feels like a buzzing swarm of wasps. Not very pleasant. The woman turns in Edie's direction and glares, to which she responds with only a raised eyebrow. 

One of the minds feels like fire, and when she peeks closer to get a sense of the person's likely threat level, the very first thing she runs into is a wall of DO NOT WANT. This person is NOT comfortable with ANY form of nonconsensual mind interaction, and Edie withdraws guiltily, feeling like some kind of nonsexual peeping Tom. 

The auditorium is relatively full, but the two of them are still able to find seats adjacent to each other but nobody else, turning to face away from each other so as to widen their collective field of vision. 

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This one is humming to an extremely ugly baby. She is doing a thing she seems to expect to prevent her from being mindread, at least at home, but it doesn't work on Edie at all. She wants to sing but it seems like under the circumstances that might parse as hostile?

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The AI is pensive, holding quite still. HIs imitation of a human is very good, though.

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The fire-minded girl is VERY STRESSED OUT. She's also wearing fire-reminiscent fancy clothes.

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This one, on the other hand, is totally nonchalant. She already has her arm over the shoulders of her neighbor.

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Who also looks really happy to be here and is whispering to her affectionate, red-eyed seatmate.

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Hovering above everyone and sort of generally freaked out is this intensely psychic...horned...vaguely humanoid creature. 

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Another woman's mind also feels of fire; her mind dances with strange inscriptions which encode meaning more deeply than human words. 

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There are several people who seem more rather than less hostile, but this one has to be the worst in terms of perverse creativity. 

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Edie backs hastily out of THAT mind for COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REASONS than from Fire Girl #1's. 

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It isn't long before a figure appears in a flash of light. 

Every physical feature of this person looks different to each of the assembled students. They look perfect. Gorgeous. The platonic ideal of Sexy Dom, for whatever that happens to be for any given person. 

"Your attention please!" they call out. 

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Attention!!!

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This is going to suck. This ALREADY sucks and it's just going to KEEP SUCKING.

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Wow. What are you supposed to call this guy? "His Lordship" is taken.

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This SO INCREDIBLY SUCKS. 

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Huh, this has to be some kind of illusion, there's no way what she's seeing is in some way actually physically instantiated within this room. Sexy, though. 

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What the fuck, why does whatever weird teacher spirit thing this is look exactly like Lan Zhan!?!?!?

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Wow he really hopes that everyone is seeing something different and this being did not decide to single him out by resembling Lan Xichen!!!

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"Thank you." They clasp their hands, still beaming. "While I have many names, the one that all of you shall know me by for the following year is Mesmerra—Dean Mesmerra, for I am the founder, administrator and absolute ruler of this school." Pause for effect. "I am a god of mind control. That's not bragging! I am not merely deific in skill, but a literal deity who draws power from every instance of mind control in every single world I touch. And the number of those is always growing." They toss their hair a little, not quite smug, merely supernally self-assured.

"Welcome to Mind Control University. Ours is an intensive program, and by the end of the year every single one of you will have the power to bring nations to heel with nothing but your own will and a box of scraps. Of course, this is a competitive program as well, in more ways than one—some of you will no doubt be Emperors and Empresses in your own right before the year is out, while others...may be pets, or toys, to the others. Remember," they wink, "do unto others before they do unto you! But there are, of course, limits," They say, turning serious. "Rule number one is that you are not permitted to sabotage your classmates' studies, be they your rivals or pets. Subtlety is key—you are here to learn cunning and finesse almost as much as raw power. An attempt to enslave one of your classmates, discovered before the attempt is complete will result in your would-be pet being freed and a penalty laid on you, and no, I won't tell you what it is. there are so many possibilities, and even I don't know beforehand which one is going to be most appropriate. Any mind control instances that occur relevantly adjacent to a child must ensure that the child takes no physical or mental damage from the affair. Also, the library, classrooms, and cafeteria food are absolutely off-limits. Attempting to enslave one of your teachers isn't against the rules, and in fact will result in instant graduation magna cum laude if successful, but you will not be successful, and will no longer be off-limits to them. Don't do it." 

They smirk. "Any questions?" 

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Beka raises her hand, since somebody over there is thinking that's what you'd do if you had a question.

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"Is there a rule against, uh, trying to attract the attention of stuff from people's worlds?"

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"There is not. Nothing I do not permit will be able to enter the university from anyone's world, although communications should operate normally; if one wishes for whatever reason to attract the attention of an entity hazardous enough to be hazardous under the circumstances, that's considered fair play."

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The rule about children is annoying but what can you do. 

"Are there any children to worry about besides that baby?" she asks, gesturing at Beka. 

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"The University facilities include a 'town' surrounding the campus, made up of neighborhoods taken from each of the universes you come from. Except yours," she adds, gesturing at one of the young men, "we've discussed why. Many of these neighborhoods include children, and you may do as you wish with the adult inhabitants, so long as you obey the rule about children and you don't bring townies onto University grounds without permission." 

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A man with long blond hair raises his hand. "Do the magic classes involve making pacts with the Devil?"

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