Summary: A new mutant is made an offer she can't refuse.

Location: Central Park, NYC

Participants: Doctor Doom and Facet

Rating: PG

The sun has set in New York City and the few stars that dare attempt to shine through the city lights are dimme drastically by them. Facet, having just gotten off the bus from Westchester takes a walk out through central park if anything to just get her head on straight. Looking around the young girl finds a bench near a lake that isn't currently occupied by a a homeless person, and she takes a seat. The city lights reflect off the water almost as much as they cause her shimmering blue eyes to sparkle. So many thoughts flood her mind as she just loses herself in her focus.

They say it's dangerous to walk in Central Park at night, and moreso alone. Whoever said this, though, probably did not figure Victor von Doom into the equation. It's an incongruous sight, to be certain: the armored and cloaked form of the Latverian monarch, walking along one of the park's footpaths. None dare cross his path.
"It pleases Doom," the good Doctor narrates to no one, "to find that New York City has not changed a single iota." His armored head turns, looking over the park and the inhabitants who aren't hiding from him. "It remains the unrefined, crass, polluted pit that Doom would gaze upon in the most abstractly potent of nightmares -- if nightmares were to afflict one such as Doom." Doom pauses at a lake -- not far from Facet at all. His gauntlets clasp behind his back, and he gazes at the water. "Truly and utterly wretched."

It takes a moment for Doom to notice that someone has not noticed him. This is of course a tremendous slight to his ego -- not so much as to be injurious, but enough to register, which is frankly just as bad. The cloaked monarch turns his form to look at Facet, and his sonorous voice declaims loudly and clearly:

"A pity. Left to fend for her own devices in the so-called urban jungle." Doom isn't so much speaking /to/ Facet as /about/ her (and to himself), but the force his address still carries. "In Latveria, those who are so oblivious as to be mentally ill are given the utmost care -- how different this abominable nation is, and how staggering is the suffering of its people for lack... of Doom."

Facet is obviously startled by the sound of the man near her as she is snapped out of her state of such deep focus. She turns her head, to the man and a chill goes through her spine as her eyes meet the shrouded man in black for the first time. She has never seen him before. She didn't really watch such a lot of Tv to see him there. As far as she is concerned, the strange man is just another tourist. "Just because a woman is left to her own devices does not mean she is helpless, especially in this city. You must be from out of town so I guess we have something in common there. My name is Melody and its a pleasure to meet you sir. How are you liking the city?" Such naivity is rarely seen in this place. Not only is she oblivious to who this man is, but she is being friendly with him!

There is a long silence as Doom stares at Facet. Behind the mask, who knows what expression his face takes on -- his armored faceplate remains locked in a perpetual, grave scowl. Finally, he speaks, and it is with clarity and precision. "Speak candidly, child," Doom commands, his tone implying that this is not a request to be bartered with. "Are you truly so ill-informed that you do not recognize the visage of Doom?"

"Sorry I can't say I do. I am not from around here. I didn't really watch much tv growing up, mainly the local news and thats quite a distance from here so no. Never seen you before." Melody smiles brightly. She hasn't really gotten a good look at Dooms face, after all its getting kinda dark. "Don't mind me I was just thinking a little bit before I head home."

Staring at Melody serves an ulterior motive. As Doom's blank-faced mask gazes, the scanner arrays in it calculate the various oddities of her existence. Her bone structure is unique, perhaps -- and the X-gene has flared to life within her. Doom steps forward -- in the street lights, he is cast into sharp visibility, the green of his cloak concealing most, but not all, of his shining silver armor. "Then you shall be educated, child. For you are speaking to no mere man, no mere foreign visitor to this city -- but to the ruler of Latveria -- to the greatest mind humanity will produce -- to Doom."

Facet smiles, "Well its nice to meet you King Doom. How is your stroll through the park tonight?" Melody is really not thinking straight at this point. The week she had, most people wouldn't be thinking at all. Still she is quite courteous and perhaps a little on the bubbly side as it stands. She curtseys gracefully as a show of good will. "Interesting name. I didn't know Doom was Latverian."

Doom continues to analyze the structure of the girl before him, utilizing the fantastic technology of his armor to judge whether or not she may prove a useful tool in his stay in New York. "King?" Doom snorts, continuing to speak to pass the time. Idly, Doom recalls the last time he lent his aid to a cretin. She ended up running off and marrying another cretin. Perhaps this one will turn out to be more obedient. "No king could hope to match the authority that Doom carries. There is no title to describe the power that rules Latveria. There is only... Doom."

"I see, well you are starting to creep me out a little bit so I think I am going to call it a night." Melody keeps her eyes on the stranger called Doom as she slowly begins to move away from him. "Oh umm, just a thought but I thought Reed Richards was the current greatest mind humanity has produced. We had to read some of his papers in school, senior year."

"You dare speak so boldly to Doom?" comes the even, calm reply -- thundering despite its lack of volume. "Few possess such bravery -- or foolishness." Then, as Melody is moving away, she mentions Richards, and for a moment there is a dull, annoyed sound that emanates from deep in Doom's throat. "/Richards/ -- the greatest mind of humanity? Doom now truly understands why other nations deride America's schools so freely."

Something about the tone in Doom's voice triggers a thought in Melody's mind. A warning. As if everything within her was telling her to get ready. The only time she felt that type of warning before was right before her accident. Her Accident. She could remember it. Not the bits and pieces anymore but the whole thing. She looks at the man in the eyes, "I didn't think there would be a real issue. I mean we both are here in the US of A. Its a free country. As far as bravery and foolishness go, perhaps there is no difference between them. Maybe a brave man is just a fool hiding from his foolishness?"

Doom's eyes can be seen through the eyeslats of his mask -- the only recognizably human feature of the man's face. Even his gaze exudes raw power. "Doom has more salient points to discuss than a mere philosophical debate, child -- that is, if you have changed your mind about departing." Doom's voice is firm, commanding, as if to say 'yes, you /have/ changed your mind about departing.' "You are a mutant -- your skeleton clearly transformed beyond human compare. Yet you speak so plainly and with such naivete in all other matters, that you assuredly have no proper grasp of your own abilities." Doom doesn't ask if this is correct -- somehow, he just knows it is, because he's Doom, and Doom's always right.

Facet stands, feet firmly planted on the ground. Her eyes are locked in to Doom's gaze. Where Doom's gaze showed of power, her own shined with purity and hope. "I'm listening." She speaks softly. Deep inside she wants to run but her mind tell her to stay. It is true she is naive to the ways of the world. Wisdom was never her strong suit. She just listens now. No body motions. No nodding even if she wanted to. Just meeting the gaze of Doom and listening.

Doom recognizes when someone is held in the thrall of his presence -- he cuts an imposing figure in every imaginable respect, and does everything to engender this. "No doubt you have heard proposals already, child. From those who would seek to help you learn about yourself and your gifts. Do not trust them." The proclamation is delivered as bluntly as a strike from a hammer, and as casually as a known fact. "They seek to exploit you -- to corral you into their little teenage teams, to mold you into a soldier of their causes. One of the faceless many -- held firmly in their control." Doom lets his cloak open as he extends a gloved hand outward, bidding Facet take it. "If you truly wish to learn how to use your gifts -- how to be the absolute most you can -- then you will find no better teacher than Doom."

Facet is not shaken by Doom's gaze. The unnatural courage that once cause to find trouble and be the damsel in distress was now rushing through her body stronger then her diamond bones. "Strange, You speak of absolutes yet even a, childish, naive, plain speaking individual like myself knows that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Yes, I am the first to admit I am naive. It takes me an hour to find my car keys when I leave them in the ignition. Still To say those that do good are exploitive and looking to use me, if I may speak plainly King Doom, How do I know you don't wnt the same or worse." Her heart races now as adrenaline begins to pump though her veins. This isn't the first time she looked into the face of impending doom this week and somehow she knew it wouldn't be the last.

Doom is not shaken by Facet's rebellion -- his hand remains outstretched, there for the taking. Her bravery -- or foolhardiness -- is something he has glimpsed many times before. "Your question is valid," Doom says, his voice a calm rumble. "The other factions that seek to claim you need you. They replenish their crusade with the blood of the young, like any other military. Doom, however, is above such paltry necessity. Why can you trust Doom? Because, child: Doom has no need of you." The hand closes, and retracts to Doom's side. "Doom's is an offer made purely of altruism. You stand by your belief in these graven idols -- and yet affirm your naivete in the same breath. Doom need not point out the folly of this logic."

Facet smirks, "I hate to say it, but Doom, you are wrong. You see not one of them has claimed to need or want me. The only thing that has been claimed is the option to be trained to control my abilities a bit better. I have my choice of what I want to do then. In your wisdom you say you have no use for me yet here we are. You offering to train me. According to your own logic, no one does anything for nothing. Therefore you must have an angle. Given you obvious distain for Reed Richard, I am forced to believe that your angle is to have as many weapons to bring said super hero down a few pegs." Her words are sharp and to the point. While her own wisdom is quite limited, it is clear that she is quite intelligent. "How about I tell you the same thing I have told everyone else thus far. I need to consider my options. A decision concerning ones life is best made after some thought, even you must believe that."

Richards. There she goes again with Richards. Doom's mask is such that his teeth cannot be seen gritting behind it. "A weapon, to use against Richards? You flatter yourself far too readily," he notes dryly. The thought of using her against Richards had legitimately not occurred to him; but then, the things he uses against Richards tend to involve months of intricate planning. "If Doom has an ulterior motive, it is a desire to further the research of the X-gene beyond the parameters of what any other quarter can imagine. No matter, though. You plainly doubt Doom's generosity -- and moreover, you insult Doom with insinuation and accusation." The armored figure doesn't move, but then, he doesn't have to. He's just as imposing when he's standing still. "The decision is yours to make, child. Consider the weight of regret before throwing your life away."

"And you underestimate those of us you don't know. Yes I am a mutant. Anyone could find that out simply by watching the news. Not more then 4 days ago I should have been dead. 3 days ago I walked out of a hospital. As far as not knowing how to handle my powers, Well Duh! I only had them a week. So you want to study the X-gene? I am sure there are plenty of other mutants who wouldn't have a problem being a guinea pig for that sort of testing. I have a serious issue with being tested on. The last time some people 'tested' on me they pumped me full of drugs to keep me asleep in an attempt to use me for financial gain." Her tone is soft yet strong. It is becoming painfully clear that Melody is becoming less and less thrilled with this idea. "The weight of regret. Well I did put on a hundred fifty pounds in one day so I think I can handle that sort of thing."

"So be it," Doom proclaims, and with that, the monarch of Latveria turns back toward the lake. His gauntlets once more clasp behind his back, and he might as well have never had the conversation with Melody at all, for all that it apparently weighs on him.

Facet watches Doom as he turns turns away. She begins to slowly back away from him. Her eyes never leave the cloaked figure and nor would to break that gaze until he is out of her sight. There is something about him. Something truly dark and it isn't till she is far enough away that she remembers. When she was much younger, there was a news report about a very powerful man who was really power hungry. His name was, Dr. Doom.

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