Unchained Light
Roleplaying Log: Unchained Light
IC Details

Moonstar and Shadowcat commence a stealth op to retrieve Alison from where she's being held in the Celestial ship. Then a number of things go wrong/right, including Tony Stark.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 17, 2019
IC Location: ???
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 19 Nov 2019 03:49
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: Cyclops by Warren
Magneto by Alison
Associated Plots

As promised, it was not difficult for the location of Dazzler within the Celestial ship to be pinpointed. The tough part was preparing for what would effectively be 'a blind drop into unknown enemy territory, while relying entirely on people who you SHOULD know but who you've really only just met maybe a few hours ago.'

The Blackbird, with its protective hex, can at the least get in pretty close to the Celestial ship, over the peripheral wing of it which Caliban indicated as their target's location. He couldn't say much about where she was within it, though, other than to indicate that she was roughly in the middle of a particular spar jutting out thousands of feet from the body of the main vessel.

"Quick and quiet. In and out. Radio back when you've secured her," are Scott's parting words. Okay, who's actually in charge here?? "We'll bring the Blackbird back around to your location for a drop-in. You see any intel worth grabbing along the way, grab it."

Cyclops has no comment on whether he might be expediently using the dimensional team as a disposable probe. Surely not. Shadowcat #2 is too valuable an asset. Right?

This almost feels like a typical X-Men mission -


The Blackbird (kind of).

Familiar faces (kind of).

And of course, the insanity of the mission they're undertaking. There's a high percentage it's going to fail, but maybe just maybe the X-Men will pull another miracle out of their respective hats.

At Scott's parting words, Moonstar slides a glance over his way, "Be ready to pick us *immediately* when we call."

With that said Moonstar looks over at her team, "Ready when you all are. Like the man said, we get Ali and we get out."

With her speech now given Dani steps over to Kitty, "Ready when you are, Kitty.", and a hand is offered to the other woman.

They have a position, they have a mission, and most importantly of all, Alison is in that ship. Kitty is prepared for this. She's leaving Lockheed behind for both stealth reasons and, well, to keep an eye on things on the ship while they're gone. It's not that she doesn't trust Magneto, it's that she really doesn't trust Magneto.

For some reason, there's a little bit of blindness there on the idea of Scott betraying them or sending them off to what is a possible slaughter to see what happens. He wouldn't do that, right? Right?

Much like she would to the Scott of her world, she nods, taking in his information. A hand reaches out to touch him on the shoulder. "Don't worry, we'll get her and then we'll be back," she tells him confidently, as she knows he has been very torn up about what happened to the Kitty and Dani of this world. What happened to Dani is still something she is curious about, but has yet to bring up. That's not her question to ask.

Instead, Kitty, in her Shadowcat outfit is ready. She reaches out to grab onto the others. "Okay everyone, rules are, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can, since I can't guarantee when we're phasing through things. Once we land, let's get in and get out. Stay close to me, because as soon as we get Ali, Dani'll make the call and I'm then going to just start phasing us down through floors. This place is dangerous as eff and I don't want to spend more time there than is necessary." She takes a moment to make sure everyone has processed this and when they're ready, she jumps.

It's a thing of precision for the Shadowcat. She has to make sure she's holding on to everyone, make sure they're on course and also make sure that when they fall through the ship at the speed that they are that they will find a place to land that is not between floors or walls. Her own phasing ability will help with that, as she can make a sort of air cushion for herself, but much like paratroopers, it will take a lot of calculation and thought to ensure her team's safety. Luckily, she has done all the thinking and calculating and starts their slow down right above the hull. Passing through the alien shields gives her a moment of discomfort, but she's focused and intent on bringing her team in safely.

Tony Stark was going to finish his portal.

Seriously he was.

But then there was a thing with a dragon. And Hydra got up to hijinks again. And then there was some kind of invasion thing. Things got busy. But he /did/ finish the work on the portal! He really did.

Only to find all the principles of the portal plan had already left without him. How he found that out involved a delivery of information, quite a few shouted words and a curse of 'damn you beard bro!!!' raised to the heavens.

He's allowed to be dramatic at times.

Once he figured out the exact spatial location of the dimension in question though, punching a hole there was fairly simple. At least for him. The smart one.

Once he arrived is when things got complicated.

After information his army of fanatically loyal alien bug people that the army would not be required at this precise moment, but if he didn't come back in a few days to go get Huitzilopochtli and come find him, he set out to track everyone down.

…which of course means he sees everyone disappearing Kitty first into a big, strange, imposing looking ship.

Not giving in his initial desire to try to shoot a hole in it was difficult, but became somewhat easier when his scanners return a power level of 'WTF ARE YOU THINKING' from the passive systems. Especially since he isn't in one of his heavier suits.

He might have tried it then.

"Well. Just have to improvise." He mutters to himself as he pulls out a bit of dimensional tech, a bit of portal tech, a bit of magitech and starts well. Fiddling. It'll be fine.

Fine is a relative term of course.

The suit he /did/ decide to bring with him…was one of his stealth models. BECAUSE HE DOES HAVE THOSE. Which is why the holographic camo seems to work.

"JARVIS punch me into whatever com-net they have on them when we get inside." He mutters as he tinkers. "This should work."

Which is when he flies as the truly massive ship with the truly scary shields. His last thought of course before he activites the hastily thrown together device is 'I got to get me one of these.'

And then /blip/. Dissipeared.

Hopefully not for good. But its Stark. Its hard to tell.

The breakneck drop yields the group through the shields — and into something they have never seen before.

They land into a husked-out corridor that shines chitin-black as a beetle's shell, prisming radiant colours to the eye that wanders too long. It extends endlessly into amorphous darkness on either sides, alleyed with shadow. Rising tall, as if built for unknown creatures twice their size, the hall ribs like a trachea, rounded and curved, shining in a wet way —

— steel, but not. Organic, but not. A monstrous fusion of the two.

Light hums on. Not from a single source, but ambient, bathing all in a constant, green light. It flares in response to their movement, lux adjusting even to the way they breathe. Less a ship, and more a working body, designed to cage whatever organisms deign to live within its limbs.

Most surprising of all, there are none of Genesis' forces waiting, surprised at the intrusion and ready to capture. Things seem, for Kitty and Dani, strangely quiet. Empty. Has the entire force abandoned ship for the assault on DC?

The shields, meanwhile, quantum entangle under Tony's techmagic, allowing a brief cessation of existence — like a backward version of Kitty's phasing, that they negate themselves out of existence. It happens as briefly as a heartbeat, just enough time for him to get through.

He ends up inside a great, monolith of a room, with edged walls rising like a pyramid, over fifty feet up from the ground. There is a hole for a ceiling that tunnels toward the sky. The silver moon peers inside, bathing everything in shades of dusk. Organic texture mimics folds of flesh spiring up the walls, the brightly-lit consoles, the stations with grotesque open mouths that drip some resin, white as diluted milk, down into collecting chalices. Webbing sculpts some six-foot control into a hard and fibrous plexus, where geodesic crystals hum, slotted into alien generators.

The question is: touch and take?

JARVIS does his duty, linking the available communications together: X-Men, say hello to a sudden Tony Stark.

"Sir," asides the AI, however, "I regret to inform you that the craft has adapted to your method in. It… appears to be alive."

There is also a chime over Tony's display.

"I appear, as well, to have located Miss Blaire's H.I.V.E."

A radar blip casts their current location: the western wing of the craft, not too far away.

Dani and Kitty take the dive out of the Blackbird and fall.

It's not a trip that Dani can say she enjoys or would want to do again - especially when they buzz through the shields - but it must be done, and so Dani just keeps her eye on the target (the ship) as the two descend.
Once the two are through the shields and the various walls and floors of the ship, to land in that corridor, that Moonstar finally takes another breath.

And with that breath Moonstar also looks around herself. At those walls of not-metal, at the light that turns on with their movements and the general alienness of the ship around them.

"Where is everyone?" Dani finally asks ever-so-softly, even as she squints at those oddly shining walls, "It's too quiet. I don't like it. In fact, let's not touch anything unless we absolutely *have* to."

And while she gives that warning it doesn't stop Dani from looking down either ends of the corridor, "Caliban said the West Wing, so let's go west."

Which means down the dark corridor they go and while there's no enemy currently in sight, that doesn't stop Dani from lightly nocking an arrow to her bow as they begin to move.

It takes her a few moments once they land for Kitty to regain composure. This took quite a bit of energy and ability and so she needs a bit to recover even after realizing that she stuck the landing.

"I'm—-I'm touching the floor right now," she tells Dani with a grin. She can't help but quip about it now that they are safe within the ship.

After a few moments, she stands a bit shakily and then bounces on her toes, shaking out her hands and taking a few deep breaths. Okay, she can do this. She just parachuted from a plane into an alien ship and managed to get them to land safely. That is quite an accomplishment and so she can believe in herself and her own judgement again. "I'm going to assume they are pod people until they are necessary. Why else is can no one get into or out of this ship without permission?"

Shaking her head, she gives a look, "West Wing? So, are we going to meet Martin Sheen or something?" Then, she shakes her head again, this time more emphatically. "Sorry, I'm deflecting. Yes, let's go west. We've gotta find Ali and get out of here." She doesn't draw the sword at her hip just yet, she's more focused on keeping her hands free to grab Dani and phase if needed.

The com is quiet. Of course it is. Its a stealth mission. Who would go and just chatter when its a stealth miss—

"Hey!" Its a familiar voice. "This thing on?" A pause from Tony Stark. "You all left without me!" A longer pause. "And Strange. Really? I'm totally judging everyone. Also what the heck is this mess? Its like I just got eaten by a Giger painting."


"Also also. Ali's stuff is in the west wing of this thing." A pause again. "Tipple also, I'm going to need a way out and I'm assuming that you have one. I kinda melted my toy I used to get in. So meet you in the west wing."

Oh yeah. That is pure Tony Stark.

He surroundings though. Those are what has his attention even as he starts towards the door. "JARVIS, scan like. I don't know. Everything. Quietly." A longer pause. "You think if I broke some of this stuff off to take home it would. Like. I don't know. Warn everything that we're here?"

"Do you want to take that risk, sir?"

"Not really. But if some piece gets broken off when everything inevitably goes south I'm totally taking it."

"I shall remind you of that when everything goes wrong, sir."

"Was that sass?"

"…of course not, sir."

Stalking across the room on near-to-silent metal steps the holographic camouflage hardly causes a ripple in the air. He /does/ look for any loose bits to take home, but he doesn't start getting scrapings from the wall. Yet.

Yet is the operative word.

Kitty's sass draws a quick look from the Cheyenne woman and maybe even a flash of a grin, "That was the best show.", is her only very quiet remark to all of that deflection, as Moonstar quite understands why that deflection is being used.

Then comes the stalking down the corridor. Everything's quiet, everything is going as well as it could be, up until the comm suddenly blares to life.

Is this thing on.

That voice and Tony's words bring the Cheyenne woman up short, enough so that she pauses mid-step. Then, "*TONY*", which is totally whisper-shouted versus actually shouting, "What - oh nevermind, that's a dumb question to ask."

Then at his remark about what this 'mess' might be, Dani adds quickly over the comm, "Don't *touch* anything."

'Is this thing on'

Kitty looks to Dani at that declaration with exasperation and exhaustion. "Here? He's even here?"

Then, through the com, she can't help herself, "Yes we know that already Stark what are you even doing here??"

Dani is already reprimanding Tony but, she can't help but do it herself. Then again, she also looks to Dani. What is Tony doing here? The memo to not touch everything is met with an emphatic nod.

To Dani, she gives a long suffering look. "This just got so much more difficult."

And so, JARVIS scans.

What becomes immediately apparent — other than the strange reveal that this alien craft is less a technological feat, and more a biological organism — is that its interior runs in three wards, all linked together by an internal spine of that throat-shaped corridor. One ward, north, links to navigation and engine command. One ward, east, where Tony currently finds himself, is part of what approximates engineering, where the craft keeps all its exotic, bio-sci creations — studded with rows upon rows of great pods that resemble dusted ivory oysters, their cellophane membraces closed, breathing, over unseen internals.

The last ward, west, marks a habituation zone, possibly where the unknown Horsemen and rare, exulted few make their homes — all those that merit Genesis' grace.

As for all three wards? Nearly empty. Some potential of life at the navigation ward, and, of course, one blip of life where Alison's H.I.V.E pings nearby.

The scan, however, distorts for Tony.

"The craft wishes that I integrate with it," warns JARVIS, some off-cadence in his voice. Strain, almost, or the closest approximation. "I am restricting it from my execution functions. It seems to be whispering a — psalm of some context." The AI pauses. "I cannot source the language."

Either way, it forces him to restrict his scan.

"The gems are of an unknown element. It appears they are integral toward function of the engines." JARVIS scans. "High possibility of detection upon removal. The, ah, substance of equally unknown origin appears to run the veins of this craft. A veritable lifeblood, you could call it. Possibility of detection upon removal: low to unknown."

Thanks, JARVIS.

But, similar to the AI's scan, Moonstar's psychic ability cannot parse nearby beings: no minds, no souls, only emptiness. However, this ability does cloud over occasional, as every so often, it feels like a swarm of millions of minds are nearby, before they disappear again.

The craft. Alive, but not. Does it have a mind?

The hallway carves itself onward, skeletally, to Dani and Kitty's journey. The silence and half-lit darkness close in on them —

— until, as the throat-like hallway starts to swallow them out into a larger, pyramid-like room, equally webbed with moving, pulsing veins, equally chitin-black, but reaching out into a larger expanse of something — that almost approximates familiarity. Grand windows that afford majestic views of the skies, layered with apocalyptic clouds. Places for seating. Places for kneeling, for supplicating, for worship.

Something occasionally shines, studding out from the walls. They look familiar, like ornate feathers, however as long as their forearms, yet at closer look, they are buried one-foot deep into the techno-organic walls, shining razor-sharp.

It does not take long to find another. And another. And more. Those feathers, whether accidental or deliberate, number more than accessories to this room, until one can reasonably follow them like some winding path. Eventually, they lead to a second, more narrow hallway, where they all converge in, almost webbing a gate that one has to be exceedingly careful to maneuver through, lest they be skewered through in a dozen different places. Death, if someone is not careful.

Once through, it opens to a single, darkened room. No door. No door needed.

There is little inside. A hastily-formed bed that looks more like a nest than anything else. A wall that opens up to an expansive balcony, letting the irradiated wind blow in.

Razored feathers everywhere, fusing a lattice work down the dome-like walls, facing out in a thousand fatal points. Larger feathers, as long as a man is nearly tall, cutting down from the ceiling.

The bedroom is an Iron Maiden, and the only body inside is Alison Blaire's turned back, standing on the balcony, facing out to watch the sky breathe back.

That long suffering look from Kitty is mirrored by Moonstar.

Oh the trouble they are all in now.

"Let's find Ali quickly." Murmurs the Cheyenne and once more she strides down that hallway, towards the west. As she walks, every so often Moonstar cocks her head slightly to the side in a listening pose. Along with that tilt of her head she likewise frowns in both consideration and worry, "There's something … weird going on. It's like the buzzing of bees as a thousand thoughts suddenly appearing out of nowhere only to disappear again."

And it's obvious that whatever 'it' may be Moonstar doesn't like it. Not one bit.

As the two find their way through that hallway and then into the next room, Moonstar can't help but mutter, "Gods. I feel like we're being swallowed alive." Of course once the expansive room is seen Moonstar automatically looks up and around herself. Taking in the chitin like walls, the large windows, and everything else to behold, "Gives the sense of a church, doesn't it.", but then that glint of metallic embedded in the walls draws her eyes. There's a frown as Moonstar considers what she's looking at, as the pattern of the metallic feathers draws her eyes down and takes shape into some kind of obvious 'path'. "I suppose we have to follow it."

And so, Moonstar suits actions to words and strives not to impale herself on the metallic sword-feathers as she carefully navigates the razor-edged maze.

It's only as they approach the rather pointy-filled living space that Dani's footsteps lighten considerably and that nocked arrow (and bow) raises upward in automatic readiness.

Especially when her gaze falls upon Alison Blaire, or rather the back of the songstress.

For the moment, Dani doesn't quite raise her voice in greeting yet.

Kitty follows Dani. While she doesn't have the same abilities of the other woman, she also feels as if something is very wrong with this ship. It felt strange to phase through it, but it also felt less like phasing through alien technology and more like phasing through something almost organic. What does that even mean? Also, are the walls breathing??

"If they're about to launch a huge assault on DC…where is everyone?" Kitty observes, just as softly. "This place feels abandoned." And it looks like it should be inhabited. There is furniture, rooms, they just are strangely lacking in any sort habitation.

As they move toward the room, Kitty reaches out and puts a hand between Dani's shoulder blades. This is a room filled with pointy objects and an Alison who may also be brainwashed and dangerous. She wants to be able to phase Dani at a moment's notice, just in case. However, she's careful to not interfere with the woman's ability to fire that already knocked arrow.

'Quickly' Dani had said. She turns her head down the hallways to see if Stark is close to arriving to give them back up. Then, she calls out to the woman whose back is turned to them:

"Ali?" It's not just a greeting, but almost a probe. Is this the Alison Blaire they know? It's almost hesitant.

Now normally the passage of Tony Stark would be /very/ well…obvious. Blaring music and high explosives make the man of iron very easy to track. At least in most cases. In /this/ case its different. Holographic camoflague blend him into the surroundings, noise cancelinng tech in the boots of the suit leave his steps nearly silent.

"I missed you both too. We can save the champagne and meeting party later. Once we find Miss Lightbulb." Yes. That is what he calls Ali.

"JARIVS, yeah. No interfacing with strange technology. Might want to restrict that scan too." The inventor replies to his AI as he makes his way though the hallway. "Also…" Back on general channel. "…this place is half organic and half not. I don't like it. Just so everyone knows. And I found the engines, should I leave some fun suprises for the engines." A pause. "And /no/ I didn't touch them."

The man though turns down hallways and follows the rudimentry map he has, and when Kitty looks back he half-decloaks so she can see him wave.

Scary isn't it. Quiet Stark.

All those many, shining blades — all quilled ornately as bird's feathers — hook out from the walls, flaring their razor ends. They make the large, domed room look, in one glance, like the rows of fangs in a giant, gaping mouth.

It makes obvious one truth: they have arrived in Death's private domain.

Few, save Genesis himself, are admitted entrance to such a sacred place, to even glean first glimpse. In the flesh, it is nothing like Warren's old homes — decorated, lavish, steeped with old money decor. This place is dark, grotesque, alien, and most striking of all, empty.

Empty, save all those blades, a magnificant front row look out on he battered skies, and Alison Blaire.

The sound of her name off Kitty's lips gives her pause; slowly, she turns to face them, bemused — even surprised. And it is Alison, back from the dead, and, unlike Warren, looking identical to how they saw her before. Less tired under the eyes, perhaps, and wearing a simple, white dress.

Her blue eyes run their faces. Kitty. Dani. And then, as Tony is the last to arrival — she finds him, staring forward, even with his suit half-cloaked. Tricks of the light never fooled the Dazzler's eyes. Him here is met with her quiet, stunned shock — a human in a place like this is impossible.

"I… watched the videos from here," Alison says, slowly, cautiously. "You both died here." Her eyes dance between Dani and Kitty. "And you —" to Tony, "how did you…?"

Realization seems to hit her. Surprise eases down into uncertainty. "He told me as much. That you all came here. You came here for him? For me?"

Kitty's question of where everyone is at is a good one, but for now something to be thought upon later. Especially as Tony's voice is heard across the general comm line. Almost dryly the Cheyenne says, "I'm glad you didn't touch anything."

Then all of Moonstar's attention is focused elsewhere. It's such that Dani misses the initial arrival, or half arrival, of Tony Stark.

In Dani's mind right now she's simply trying to ascertain whether the Alison that stands before them is, in fact, their Alison.

Her words about the videos and that they both died causes Moonstar to slide a quick glance to Kitty, and then over to Tony too, as she spies the stealthly suited man not too far from them.

But then her attention returns to Alison as she speaks those last statements and asks those last questions of hers.

"*Both* of you." Dani finally speaks up as she answers, and with her words the point of that nocked arrow drops downward slightly, "Of course we're here. We've come to bring *both* of you home. It took us a minute to realize what happened to the two of you, but as soon as we did we devised a way to get here so we could bring you and Warren home."

With Warren's name obvious worry might be seen in Dani's eyes and heard in the tone of her voice.

"You didn't touch anything? I'm amazed." Kitty's retort to Tony is almost amused. As he approaches in his stealth mode, she turns her attention right back to the woman on the balcony. She gestures toward him to get close. Should she need to phase them out of there in a hurry, she wants to make sure they are all within grabbing distance.

The way forward is quite literally a prickly situation. It would be hard to manage it. She could phase them all forward in order to avoid any sort of possibility of touching any of the dangerous quilled blades. For now, though? She'll keep her position next to Dani, hand still gently placed there.

They both died here, she tells them and Kitty catches the look Dani gives her. "We were told."

Dani's answer as to why they are here gets the addition of a nod. Her own expression is one of matched worry. Warren didn't like his name being said and was outright enraged when Ali's was spoken. Is it because she still remembers their home dimension? He keeps her safe here in a taloned room.

"Please, come with us Ali. We'll find a way to help both of you and get all of us home."

"Yeah, well when half the ship looks alive and JARVIS says its singing to him it kinda gives even me pause." Stark shoots back towards Kitty. His eyes take in the room, the decor, the wings, and there is a slight wince. "…well Warren's love of wings hasn't changed." He mutters to himself as he flexes one hand, vaguely disturbed by the organic metal. Disturbed to the point of avoiding touching most of it at least until he can work out just what the heck it is.

There is a smirk at Dani for a moment, almost heard on the other side of that helment of his. Then Alison turns towards the little trio and Tony's helmet flows away, it doesn't clamshell, it flows. He's getting better.

"Well. I mean. Of course I'm here. Do you really think just being in a different dimention would stop me from coming and getting you two? Not that I ever believed the whole being dead thing." A beatpause. "I mean, you and Warren would do the same for me right?"

He shrugs for a moment, arms crossing over the chest of his armor as he makes it visible. Painted in dark shades of purples and steel instead of his normal red and gold. True stealth. Who knew he knew the meaning of the word. "Now come on, like they said. Lets get out of here and figure out how to get everyone home. Right? I mean how hard can it be."

For those silent, foreboding moments, the resurrected Alison Blaire remains quiet. Her eyes constantly dance among these three faces — as if still believing, herself, they're all real, they're all here — she thins her lips, and absently fidgets together her fingers.

"The thing is," she answers, voice low, toneless in a way it's never been before, "I'm never going back there. How could you ask me such a thing? How could you expect I'd ever return to that Hell?"

The question is somewhere between plea and accusation, as Alison's blue eyes rake between Kitty and Dani. Then Tony — Tony speaks, and her eyes turn to him, the look in them leagued with a distance never there before. Never this pronounced when Alison Blaire looked on… humans.

A hum rattles along the walls. Scuttling of little legs. No bigger than insects, making noise only by the vibrating of their wings. Tiny bees that look on with black eyes, their bodies reflecting no light. Tony's system would recognie them — the H.I.V.E he built — but now their operating system is mutanted, corrupted, fused together with that techno-organic metal, forged into something else.

He says she and Warren would have done the same. Alison does not disagree. "We would have," she answers, brief, almost bitter. "And that's why we were murdered."

Alison says no more words. She simply acts, quick, sudden, pointing one hand and aiming on her foremost threat. Laser fires from her fingers, needle-thin, to attempt to burn out — blind — Dani's eyes.

"Our Savior told me of your opposition," she snaps, her voice gone steel-cold, no emotion on her save for the fanatical light at her blue eyes. "You are traitors. You work against our survival!"

Famine erupts in a burning corona of light, so bright it hurts the naked eye to see. She discharges it in a concussive blast of energy, meant to knock their bodies back — and, if they are not careful, into those walls lined in hundreds of blades.

"Brainwashing. WHY IS IT ALWAYS BRAINWASHING!" Only Tony Stark would think to complain in the face of a laser.

While Dani can't outwardly acknowledge Kitty's touch, there's a gratefulness there for it.

They really don't know *what* is going to happen here.

But for Dani, there's a sense that it may not be good. The razor edged 'feathers', the room itself and the creepy ship are enough to foretell some of that.

Alison's seeming confusion doesn't seem to add any warm and fuzzies either.

With the songstress' words it just seems to confirm the absence of a happy reunion.

"Because it's our home." Dani is quick to say, when Alison asks how they can ask her to come home. "It's not perfect, but it's where we belong -" Her words trail off as she hears that vibration and hum within the wall and quickly Moonstar glances at said wall, but not for long. Not when Ali speaks again, this time to Tony and with those words Moonstar returns her attention to the woman.

"Ali you need to -"

But whatever else Dani was about to say is lost as Alison moves in sudden and savage manner. Moonstar has enough time to shift slightly, a step to bring her closer to Kitty, and that tiny step is the only reason Danielle Moonstar loses one eye this particular day versus two.

One of Alison's needle-thin laser hits home and it burns the Cheyenne's eye out. It's quick and brutal and (thankfully) self-cauterizing, but that doesn't mean it isn't painful. It surely does as Moonstar screams a terrible sound and staggers a step or two before her knees give out and she sags towards the ground.

And while she's incoherent for those initial seconds (minutes) from that horrible wound, there's still Kitty there and it's her touch that is likely the only thing that saves the Cheyenne woman.

Though it doesn't save her from the blistering fanaticism of Famine.

While Kitty has quite a few quips to give back to Tony, that fades away as Alison starts to speak again. That takes all of her attention.

Perhaps it is because of Kitty's faith in her friends that she doesn't start to see the signs earlier. Of course Ali would be upset about what happened in their dimension, of course she would be traumatized. How could she not be? The hum, the scuttling of legs, that can all be attributed to strange ship they are in. They are here to rescue Alison Blaire and she is going to do whatever she can in order to do that.

"Ali, I'm so sorry about what happened on Earth, but can't you see how hellish it is here? Look below you, look at how many people have been killed here."

Kitty shakes her head, pleading now, "Alison, pl—-!"

It happens so quickly. Kitty's hand has remained on Dani's shoulder, but her focus has been on talking to Alison, not thinking she would attack them. The needles of light shoot forward and the phasing mutant reacts as immediately as she can. She first phases Dani, but it is too late. Her grip on Tony is tight and the trio immediately become ghosts. The light flashes around them and Kitty squeezes her eyes shut in an attempt to keep herself from being blinded. Still, through her eyelids she sees a flash of red before she opens them again. The blast will pass right through them.

"Dani!! Hold on, hold on, okay?" Immediately, Kitty turns her gentle touch on her friend to a hold as the other woman starts to sink toward the ground. Stepping forward (yanking Tony forward if she needs to do so), she makes sure her hand is touching Dani always, but it will wrap around her waist and hug her to her side to help keep her upright.

She looks back at Alison with anger, but more than that, heartache. This isn't Alison, this is Famine. Still, she tries: "Alison, think about it. How can you be fighting for survival when everyone around you is dying?"

Then, she starts to sink through the floor.

"This is where we go loud right?" Stark has plenty of quips, even as the lasers begin to burn and sear the air around Alison. "You know. Sidebar. I'd /really/ like it if someone TOLD ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON." And then lasers and screaming from Dani. "…but we can table that for now."

The faceplate snaps shut again as his arms come up, holographic technology of the suit spinning up to form angles shields of counter-light. Channeling blasts away from the suit even as Kitty reaches out to start to phase them, shouldering his way to the front to cover the pair of more relatively fragile mutants.

"So! Was the plan come in. Chat a little. Fly everyone back and have some laughs about this later or was there something more substansial. Like tasering the brainwashed rockergirl and trying to magic some sense into her later!"

This is shouted even as he starts to phase.

"Also as a side note if you don't come back than the assholes that started all this mess /win/ and thats just not cool for anyone. Right?" This towards Ali.

"…ah sir, I think your gift to the young lady is here too…"

"Wait wha?" And Stark looks up to see his little robogifts. Eyes go wide for a moment. "My god! What did you do to my gifts! They look…" A pause. "…ok they look kinda awesome with the whole menacing black thing going I should try that later. But seriously if you don't like the taser and run plan we should leave. I'm pretty sure with the right frequency from those she should be able to cut the ship in half."

…of course Tony made the Bees. Because things can always be made worse.

See what I did there.

"Our home?! A home to you traitors, but not to me. Never again," sneers the monstrousity that used to be Alison Blaire, reforged to the will and madness of Genesis.

This creature wears her face, speaks with her voice, but looks nearly unrecognizable — nothing about the patient, gentle Alison Blaire is left, iced into an unfeeling coldness, one that does not even bat an eye to the terrible, horrible sound Dani Moonstar makes when she screams.

The sound, however, is not missed. Unleashed into the air, it seethes light into Famine's light field, drunk down and absorbed. It reflects off her face: she is satisfied, at a visceral level, to have fed off her old friend's pain.

Her concussive blast, however, is made negligent through Kitty's phasing. Famine seems nonplussed, though her light does not dim, burning off her. It hurts to look too long. Alison was never this bright.

Alison was always holding back.

"Humans took everything from me. Everything! Everything I made for myself! Everything I bled for, sacrificed for! They worshipped me, and tossed me away!" Famine steps forward, bare-footed, glowing. The synethetic bees respond to her movement, baying their mother with the hum of buzzwing wings. "They tortured me! They pushed needles into my ears! They murdered me! And you want to protect them? Defend them? Choose them? You turn your back on higher teachings. He is our Savior, and Genesis is the only path back to grace."

Kitty's rebuttal comes answered with a sneer. "Only the weak will be culled," she answers. "It is his law. You and Stark with you — how many times have your weapons been used on us, Tony — are weak."

Her blue eyes linger on him last. "Our Lord has won the moment he decided to eradicate humanity from the universe."

Escape seems to be their first act — at least, to usher the wounded Dani to safety. Famine's eyes narrow, and she simply orders: "Sing."

The bees lift into the air, and they SING. Just as Tony designed, the H.I.V.E begins eliciting a sonic scream. Fortunately, any pain from the sound does not come. Unfortunately, it's because Famine's field is drinking the sound down, absorbing without any clear limit. She surges with light, and the room suddenly detonates with heat and light — fatal to flesh, where it not phased. She sends a riotous light attack straight at the floor to open it up and help them through, falling a good thirty feet to the next level, if not saved by Tony's jets.

Famine is swift at their heels, apparently able to levitate, her power beyond all of doubtful Alison's limits. "How long can you hold your breath, Kitty?" sing-songs the ex-Dazzler.

Everything around them is light and sound and then free falling. Kitty keeps a firm hand on Tony and Dani, hugging the latter closer to her in order to take as much weight as is necessary to ensure that she doesn't lose her grip and lose the protection of her mutant abilities.

The explosion of light causes her to squeeze her eyes shut again. She doesn't want to burn out her retinas. Again, behind her eyelids everything turns red, as if turning her shielded face directly into nearby spotlight. Everything around them burns, including the floor and she is not braced for the sudden lack of support.

How long can she hold her breath? It's all about timing for Kitty Pryde. She just needs to make sure if they're going to keep falling, she'll be able to get them all to hold their breath at the right time. "This isn't you, Alison!" As she says this, she's trying to slow their descent, depressing the air around them to make it easier for Tony to help catch them. "Please. Please. I know you're hurting, but how is hurting other people going to help? Alison, do you really want to kill us? Will that help ease your pain?"

It's possible to get through their brainwashing. Piotr did it, if Scott wasn't lying about that. So, she tries, she keeps talking to Alison and not to Famine.

If it weren't for Kitty's arm wrapped around her Moonstar would have collapsed.

For now, however, she stays somewhat upright thanks to Kitty's hold. All of her weight is there as the Cheyenne woman struggles with her injury.

The pain, the shock, the reality of this whole crazy situation.

As for those reassurances from Kitty they fall on deaf ears.

Likewise all of what Tony says is unheard.

Even Dazzler's words Dani isn't consciously aware of. Instead all Dani hears is loud static that buzzes horribly loud in her ears as her brain tries to adapt to half of her field of vision now gone.

The absence of light. There's only darkness. Blackness.

Up until her good eye explodes with brightness with light and much like Kitty, Moonstar closes her eye away from the burning brightness of Famine.

At this pont Dani could simply disengage from this battle, let it all play out without any further intervention on her part - who could blame her, right?! - but she can't. There's still a part of her that remembers all her training, all that conditioning, and it can't let her do that. It won't. There's a job to be done. They have people counting on them. Ali. Warren. Carolus. Gwen. Jean.

It's what causes Dani to stir in Kitty's grip and finally the Cheyenne partially raises her head.

And while she turns her functioning eye to Kitty, Moonstar keeps her head turned enough to try and shield the injured side. Her hoarse voice pipes over the comms, so everyone can hear her, so they all understand the fragment of a plan that's forming in her head.

"Tony." Begins the woman, "Tell me you recorded when Moth visited you last. About the virus that infected Warren's wings."

The TO virus she means. The TO virus that Magneto confirmed to them that originated here.

"Show it to her. Let her connect the dots." Finishes Dani, her voice low and harsh.

And now to Kitty, "If that doesn't work I'll psionically shiv her. You just need to get me close enough."

Tony /did/ warn them that she would have the power to cut the ship in half. He said it. He warned everyone. For the record he /totally/ said something. No one can say he didn't. Stated for the record.

He's a bit worried about staying alive at the moment to articulate that record though.

"Phasing things is SO STRANGE. I mean its like tingly all over and I don't know if I like it." He isn't gobsmacked enough to /not/ sass everything though. He has to be nearly dead for that to be true and he is still very much alive.

But then /everyone/ is shouting. Or in Dani's case painfully suggesting.

Now Tony Stark will admit, to himself and not to any other living soul, that he might not be the /exact/ smartest man on Earth. He might not even be the best inventor on earth. There might be oh…like 2 or 3 people that know just as much if not more about power armor than him. He might admit to himself all of that, but one thing that is a science fact is that there is no better multi-tasker on this side of the galaxy.

…at least mortal wise. Immortals cheat.

Jets flare to life to stop the freefall as the suit tilts its head up towards Famine. It tilts to the side just slightly as Dani's suggestion then one of the shields that was a second ago catching the light turns into a holographic screen. A screen of unmodified security footage of Tony Stark a Ghost Spider and a Moth Guy talking about what happened. "I know you're not dumb, Ali. So I'll just leave this here for you to watch. The summery of it all though. Warren? He was poisoned…by a technovirus. The same stuff the ship is made of I'm guessing. You two are being /played/ by whoever this is. Your 'savior' isn't anything more than a conman. One that killed you both to convert ya. I'm pretty sure the power armor that came afterwards was from around here too."

…does he know that? OF COURSE NOT but it fits into the ego of 'no one else can have cool armor but me in my world.'.

A chip is ejected, flung towards the remains of her room. "Here. Watch on the big screen later…but…" And even as he was reworking his shield into a viewing screen just to show her the proof.

Well he was doing other things too.

"…since I'm /pretty/ sure you're still not going to listen to me…JARVIS. Program Too Much Diva if you would."

…and pannels on the back of the suit snap open to reveal…speakers? Well in a way. The harmonic systems of the suit suddenly pairing with the sonic scream of the bees to…negate both. A bubble of silence around Alison as he raises a hand towards her to target said bubble.

That might at least buy them a bit of time.

…and likely piss Alison off but HEY SHE'S ALREADY MELTED THE SHIP HOW BAD CAN IT BE.

Light, sound, and worst of all, heat — it is burning, scorching warmth that tides off Famine's field like a small sun in itself. Light possesses infinite properties, and this Horseman — unhinged, augmented, enhanced — seems to wield it in full, fanatic confidence, with all the violence and none of the doubt what was Alison Blaire's gentle, hesitant way.

The air ripples as microwaves seethe off her body, making it nearly too hot to even get in close contact of Famine — not without bubbling flesh, cooking all the liquid inside the body in a flash-scald. Lit in a brilliant corona of white light, the once-Alison looks more unearthly deity than human, worsened by the way she leisurely floats after them, her photonic charge so great that it maintains even its own momentum.

H.I.V.E buzzes around her like six small moons, the techno-organic bees orbiting their mother, feeding her with sound. A mutant transducer whose power was never found to reach an upper limit —

"This is me, Kitty," she answers, voice cold as ice. "This was always me. Suffering. Hurting. Dying, every single day, as they took and took and TOOK from me. As they did from you. And yet we pulled ourselves apart to FIGHT for them?! I gave them everything! Everything! Everything important to me! They abandoned me like I was nothing! They tortured me, Kitty! Does that mean nothing to you?!"

Whatever it is of the Horsemen, the corruption feeds off what is there — what is real. And enough of Alison, through the heat and light, comes with the tears shining in her eyes. "I'm not Alison," she declares. "The name they gave me. Our Lord gave me my last name. You call me Famine."

Arcing lasers hiss between her spreading fingers. Staring at the three, possibly deliberating the possibility to nuke them on the spot, Famine — pauses, partially overhearing Dani's words to Tony. She holds in the air, confused — before something flickers across her face, and the programming mutates confusion into outrage. "How dare you speak of our Lord—!" she begins to hiss.

But there is little time — even less to the quick, strong cadence of Tony's voice, cutting the distance between them with fact. Famine looks on with widened eyes, which turn toward that screen — she recognizes Carolus on the feed, one world and lifetime ago, relaying something that should not be possible. No, she thinks. Genesis is here to save them. Here to free them. Here to grant them a future. He gave back Warren's wings. He gave them new life.

Warren's wings, rotting away in that room. Warren's body, unable to heal it. Nothing they tried that could make it work…

Famine falters, her hands shaking, her expression twitching — fighting something as Alison Blaire, foremost a creature of reason and logic, tries to connect it together. "No… it's not… He wouldn't… it has to be lies!"

It's enough of a hesitation. Enough that, when Tony transmits his command to H.I.V.E, the sub-routine taking over their corrupted bee-drone minds, the Famine-and-Alison can only react with an incredulous look.

They turn on her, still orbiting, but now entombing her in a soundless cage. Her light dims and smothers. And, first thing's first, unable to maintain the charge to keep up her flight… Famine falls.

"Of course I care." Kitty shakes her head, knowing she's not doing well at this, but not really having any other way she can see forward. "But that wasn't humanity as a whole…it was a group of evil people who aren't in this dimension." She takes a breath. "We didn't abandon you. We came here for you because we love you. We love Alison Blaire."

Tony executes Dani's plan and she can see it working, seeing the logic work its magic on the brainwashing. There's a hesitation, the first one they've seen and that gives Kitty hope. Alison is still in there, still has a way through. They just have to see it through. Maybe the Care Bear Stare is not the way you get through to Alison Blaire, that's they way to get through to Kitty Pryde.

They move closer and closer to Famine as Tony rockets them toward the borealis surrounding her Kitty slowly starts to shift the weight of Dani, just in case they really broke through and they need to grab Alison and phase through the ship quickly. Come on, Alison, Kitty thinks, Come on.

Silence envelopes Alison as Tony finds the harmonic equivalency to the bees and she takes a breath of relief. The light, so bright that she had started to become accustomed to it dims and she has to blink a few times in order to adjust. Then, as her eyes focus again her focus pinpoints on Famine as she falls. Immediately, Kitty pushes Dani into Tony's arms. They're phased and to unphase puts Dani and Tony directly in Famine's path of powers as they move out of the bees.

Without asking permission and without much other thought other than instinct, Kitty leaps forward from Tony - for once and only this once, it may seem - trusting him to keep her teammate safe. She angles for Famine to catch her midair and then phase them both to cushion their fall through the hole in the floor. They'll land hard, but they should be alive.

When Tony plays the recording of Carolus and Gwen's visit Dani visibly sags in relief.

Sure she figured he had it, because Tony Stark always manages to have everything, but to see the proof there is heartening.

And so too is seeing some of that logic cause Alison to hesitate. Enough so that the songstress calls their footage lies, which prompts an immediate response and refute from Moonstar. "We're not the ones lying to you!"

And when that blessed silence comes and the light around Alison Blaire dims and then dies, Moonstar can't help but once again feel that relief. Up until Alison falls and then Kitty makes her move.

Dani finds herself playing the part of the hot potato in this equation as she's shoved over at Tony.

"Kitty, no wait!" She yells even as a sense of intense deja vu sweeps over her - how many times has she shouted similar words in the last day - but that doesn't stop her from adding, "Get us to the ground!"

"No, I thought I'd just hover here and check out the surroundings…of course I'm getting to the ground!" Tony Stark reacts to surprise with sass Dani. One should know this by now. In fact it might be a bit heart-in-mouth just /how/ fast he does since he just cuts his thrusters to drop like a proverbial stone.

Now /he/ would be fine with that landing, but in deference to his half blind passenger he does feather the thrusters to make the landing soft enough to keep the one eyed Cheyenne from hurting herself worse.

His attention is on Alison though as he watches Kitty tackle her out of the air. This could end so badly. "I'm a lot of things, Ali. But you know I don't lie to you and Warren. I mean if I did you'd know. The proof is all right there. Whoever this Savior is, he might have given Warren new wings but he made his old ones rot off first." Then there is a pause.

"Wait Warren has new wings?"

As if in answer, in the far distance, there is a rending shriek.

It sounds like wind being sliced by ten thousand swords flying at supersonic speed.

"…oh." A long pause. "Oooooh." A longer pause. "Yeah that sounds bad." Tony Stark making the understatement of the century.

H.I.V.E under Tony Stark's control do their work. When Kitty makes that reckless, trusting dive towards Famine, there is no great resurge of light or draft of heat to meet her. None of those light powers, held in check in that dome of silence, save for a too-normal, too-real woman, who cannot possibly hope to fly under photonic propulsion.

But Kitty's selfless act connects, and she grabs her old Excalibur teammate, phasing them down through that dangerous fall. The hole melted through the floor is, thankfully, wide enough to give them a way down, and one level below is more of that ridged, veined, webbing techno-organic flesh of the craft. Fortunately, the fall is between twenty and thirty feet, painful to land but not deadly, that opens up into another cavernous, dark tunnel — far less habitable than the upstairs, possibly used as the craft's below-deck storage.

That ambient green light flickers on, detecting nearby life and offering them scant illumination to see —

Famine, strewn limply beside Kitty, giving a weak cough as she wincingly shifts back to life. Her eyes turn, possibly realizing what just happened — looking on Kitty for what she just did — before they turn, lashing up and over on the jet arrival of Tony, Dani carried with him.

The mental programming still strains to keep her, to convince her rightly of Genesis' law, but it runs up against a new gate — Alison's lingering mind, and its inclination always toward reason, truth, fact. She spent weeks struggling in that hospital, trying to figure out what could be happening to Warren's wings.

It makes too much sense. She doesn't want to believe it, wants to stay here, wants to be happy, wants to look toward a bright future, wants to trust in Genesis and believe in his love —

But, instead, Famine leans to one side and violently wretches, throwing up a small mouthful of cloudy liquid — diluted milk in colour, like what Tony saw dripping from the veins of this craft into vessels. Her mind and body reject it, breathing heavily, left wiping her mouth and shivering as if suddenly cold.

In Famine's wake, returns Alison Blaire, with her first, raw words: "Oh, God. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

She looks up, less of that glazed, incandescent light in her eyes, and with fresh tears running down her face. Stricken, Alison looks from Kitty, to Tony, to — the violence done on Dani's face. She goes pale, as if having her first, conscious thought free of the control, and begins to tremble with nauseating realization what she just did. With Genesis' voice out of her head, she can think —

That scream cuts the distance, so loud the ship thunders to hold it. Alison forgets her own guilt to this approaching reality, which is much, much worse. "It's me. I promise. We — we have to get out of here. If he finds you, he'll kill you all."

'Kitty, no wait!" Poor Dani. Kitty had actually been rather rational and less foolhardy since they've gotten to this dimension. Apparently there's something a timer of her doing something foolhardy. And by now Kitty has dropped too far to hear the reprimand.

The impact Famine and Kitty make on the floor below is not exactly a crack or a crash, it's more of a simple impact. There's a pained push up, Kitty making sure she keeps in contact with Famine. They're still almost hugging and the Shadowcat does not release that hug until Alison turns to the side and starts to retch up the cloudy liquid.

Then, Alison looks at Kitty and suddenly Kitty is crying reaching forward to hug Alison to her tightly. "Oh Alison, oh thank God. It's okay, it's going to be okay." Then, she winces, realizing she may have bruised a rib or two in that fall and lets the hug loosen again.

As Dani and Tony lower, Kitty gives another sigh of relief. They're all together. Tony didn't drop Dani. Things are looking up. Then, there is the scream. Well, that moment was over quickly.

"Okay, everyone grab on and I'll count down, then hold your breaths. I'll get us through the shields. You know the drill."

That harsh drop of Tony's causes Moonstar to clench her jaw tightly. Sure, she's not new to flying in any sort of way, but that sudden drastic descent causes Moonstar's stomach to do several sommersaults.

"Very *bad*." Dani murmurs to Tony's remark when the suited man hears the scream of those metallic wings.

A sound that Dani can now say she's quite familiar with.

Thankfully, for Moonstar, Tony's landing is a bit lighter in nature and as soon as the two are on the ground and Dani upon her feet, her attention shifts straight over to Kitty and Alison.

Relief sweeps across her features at the sight of Kitty all in one piece, but when Moonstar looks over to Alison there's more than just relief in her expression.

There's wariness as well.

Still, Alison has returned and for now that's enough - it has to be enough - for Dani and it's what allows her to tuck her emotions behind that professional mask of hers. "Let's move. I'll radio for our ride to pick us up."

Which she immediately does, "Get ready. We're coming out."

"Well look at that, sometimes stupid head first dive hugs actually do work." Stark comments as they land and Alison pukes up whatever was on her insides. There is a narrow eyed look given the goo before he shakes his head. "Same makeup of whats powering the ship. That's whatever he's using to control people." he murmurs to himself as he almost absently reaches out towards the damaged walls. Nanotech flows into new forms to create a sword, the razor heated edge of the weapon slicing clean though several of the feathers that used to make up Alison's room.

Those feathers go into a box, a box that is less of a box and more of 'scrap metal spot welded into a box shape because oh god I don't want any of that goo or feathers touching my systems.'

No touchie touchie.

"So. I guess we're leaving. You sure I can't just blow things up a little bit before we go?" A pause. "Wait ride? You're working with someone from this crazy world?" A longer pause. "Oh god. Its crazy X-men isn't it. It's /always/ crazy X-men. Or Brotherhood. Or something like that…"

That reassuring banter aside, Stark's mask does flow back to reveal that smirk of his, bright eyes smiling down at Ali as her and Kitty hug it out. "Yeah, well. Welcome back, Alison." A pause. A cough. "Remember all this next time you decide I need to be shot out a window."

…because Tony Stark is not allowed to have feels without making it with sass.

"Now!" A pause as he gingerly holds his box of ill gotten gains. "Which way is the exit?"

For all the fuss that wound up happening when they encountered the nascent Famine, it almost seemed at first that the disturbance managed to go relatively unnoticed given the vastness of the ship, and its strange emptiness.

Where was Genesis? Where were the rest of his forces?

Of course, that sudden distant shriek of techno-organic wings slicing air soon puts an end to the thought that they could have escaped entirely unnoticed. Perhaps Alison was bonded to Warren in some way. Perhaps Genesis himself sensed the severance of one of his Horseman, and sent Death to investigate. Either way — their welcome has long since been worn out. Even the ship itself seems to breathe more malignantly around them, as if stirring slowly to some ancient lumbering anger by the damage they've done to its innards.

It makes their exit phase from the ship more — difficult than the entry. That unpleasant journey through its organic body, and its unsettling shields, feels more cloying this time, more sickening, as if the vessel were attempting to stop their departure. But they make it through — and as promised, the Blackbird is waiting below, cloaked and ready.

Their drop puts them square in the middle of the upgraded vessel's bridge. Scott himself is in the pilot's seat, though he doesn't at first speak because he's busy getting the Blackbird the hell out of dodge.

The reason becomes clear soon enough as — as they pull away from the underside of the Celestial ship — a glimpse can be caught of a silver-winged figure streaking through the air and disappearing into the ship from whence they came.

Where are the rest of the forces? It's a question Kitty wondered when they first arrived, but has since slipped her mind. There's a lot of other things currently filling it. First and foremost, getting everyone out of here in one piece. Phasing through this alien craft with one more person would already make it more difficult to Kitty, but now the ship seems to be fighting back.

When Dani puts in the call for the Blackbird, the brunette wastes no time. Immediately, she tells everyone, "Deep breath everyone, I don't know how long this is going to take. Hold on tight." And then, she is sinking them all through the floor.

As is always the case, it's harder to get out of a place like this than in. Kitty had gravity working in her favor before, after dropping. Here, it is all her pure strength and abilities pushing and straining against what feels like a malicious force. It's as if she is oil and the ship is water, it keeps pressing and pushing her upward despite her fight.

By the time she reaches the outer shields, her lungs are straining for breath and she is dripping in sweat. The effort it takes to push them out of the ship is made all the more clear as when she hits the air, it's almost like they are ejected like a champagne cork.

Still, Kitty holds onto their group and keeps them phased until they reach the Blackbird, timing things so that they will make it through the top and land in a sprawl on the bridge's floor. To Scott's credit, Kitty did not aim them this time, it was all his piloting that got them to this precise place that they hope means safety.

Exhausted and coughing, Kitty remains on the floor, taking deep, painful breaths.

Half-cognizant, going through her own small torture that is sorting herself free of conditioning — feeling herself think, the first time in weeks, free of Genesis' control — Alison spends too many moments shivering in boneless, mindless shock.

Though it does not look it, or even feel it, Kitty's hug helps. It is warm, and grounding, and achingly familiar against such an alien ship, that Alison surrenders, unable to bring herself to pull away. She does not return it, not after a nervous twitch of her hands — not yet able to trust them, especially around her old friends.

What she just did to them…

Tony's familiar face waters her eyes, like a heartpunch of home after so much. But he offers only a moment of relief, because —

Even through the shock, Alison's turned eyes cannot miss the wariness in Dani's wounded face. Her remaining eye. It makes her sick to see it. She did that. Any inclination to just weep and beg Dani, Tony, Kitty to please forgive her is arrested to something far more damning.

It's not quite fear in her face, on her voice, for Alison to hear that scream of metal wings. No fear for what Death would do to her, not directly — just to them. Rip their friends apart, and then — take her back to Genesis, perhaps. Back to have her mind taken again. His mind taken, just the same. They need to free him.

"He has wings," she says quickly to Tony. "But that's not Warren. He's fast, he's so fast, we have to get out. We have to get out! There's… no exit we can find in time, he'll be right here, we have to —"

Alison doesn't need to say it. Shadowcat already knows.

She looks over, terrified at the prospect of what awaits them — they're in the sky, possibly awaiting fall, but the alternative of Death is much worse — and obediently breathes in and holds it. H.I.V.E's drones obediently hide into her clothes and hair. And then she phases along with the group, looking wide-eyed at the way the alien craft flows past as they ghost through it, though her attention is always toward that incoming scream of wings. It is an extra stab of pain to feel like she's abandoning him, but it's not just Warren, and to save everyone, to save him — it can't be like this.

Feeling helpless that all she can do is be a weight to Kitty's phasing, Alison watches the craft leave them behind, exposed all to the open air — and a fatal drop below. What now? she fears. Tony can jet them to safety, maybe, but Death will catch them without effort, and then —

A jet flies at them, blurringly quick. No time for even a panic response, Alison simply exists within it, phased back into the flesh, and strewn unharmed along the floor. Kitty's painful heaving is her first thought, and she turns to her friend, already reaching to try to brace her, better to help her breathe.

"Breathe," she whispers. Looking up, the words are meant for everyone. She looks up, desperate to see Dani and Tony in one piece. Dani, almost one piece… Alison's voice catches like broken glass. "Where are — he's coming! He can still reach us!"

The call for extraction only takes seconds and then Kitty commands the group to hold their breath.

Once more Dani pulls in a large gulp of air and then holds it. They go through the creepy ship, through the shields around said ship, and then fall into the path of the patchwork Blackbird.

Much like Kitty and Alison, Dani likewise finds herself down upon the floor and for a minute, the Cheyenne stays there. This mission has taken much out of her, even without the loss of her eye. It's enough that it takes Alison's prompt to breathe for Moonstar to actually react.

She manages to sit up and after a second Moonstar takes stock of the situation - at everyone nearby.

She has to turn her head awkwardly to be able to look at everyone, but she checks on each person - Tony, Kitty and then Ali.

"Ali." Begins the Cheyenne, but whatever else she might have said is cut off by Alison's last fearful words. And that fear causes Moonstar to snap at Scott, "Get us out of here now."

"Yup," Tony sees the Blackbird coming. "Called it."

He only has a few seconds to act smug before the phasing starts but by god he is going to take them to do just that.

There is a glance at Alison though, looking at the worry and the fear there. Not things he expects to see from her but these are trying times for everyone. "Don't worry, I'm pretty sure these two have a plan." A glance at Kitty just before the phase hits. "You have a plan right?"

And then phasing. Oh god it is even more uncomfortable.

Making a face even as he lands on the solid interior of the Blackbird the genius inventor shakes his head. "See! Look! A plan!"

Which he hopes is leave very fast. Which is actually looking like that is the exact plan judging from what Dani is saying. A glance around before he hooks a thumb at Dani. "What she said!"

A half-second pause.

"Also I'm dead in this timeline right? Because it is /always/ awkward to meet yourself." He takes a moment to think. "And if I am dead, please tell me I went out in a glorious last stand and not something /super/ dumb."

Scott's head turns slightly to Dani's snapped order. He doesn't look inclined to hop to anyone else's orders. "It's all right," he says presently, rising after putting the Blackbird on a presumed cruise control away from the Celestial vessel. It's a high speed cruise control, at least. "The hex guarantees he will not see us."

He keeps his back towards the viewport, even as a shriek of fury echoes from the hanging alien ship in their wake, and that silver-winged shape darts back out and vanishes among the clouds on the hunt. Scott clearly has no interest in seeing what mockery has been made of his friend.

His visored features take in the condition of the team, the ruin of Dani's face, and the sudden addition of Tony Stark — who gets a slight double-take even from the dour Cyclops. "Another one of yours, I assume," he says, his visored gaze turning towards Stark. "Because you are dead in this timeline. You died holding off Apocalypse over the Midwest." There's a heavy pause. "With some of your Avengers teammates. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch…"

Scott goes silent abruptly. Never know when the lurking father of those two might be about, listening.

He shakes his head. "Good work, at any rate," he says, surveying Alison. "You achieved your objective. Now you all need to get to medical. Debrief after," he says of Kitty and Dani in particular.

And if he seems impervious to any high-running emotions — especially those pointed in his direction — well, it's because he's Scott Summers.

"Ah Scott, I'm glad to see in every single reality I've been too you always have the bedside manner of a bowl of wet cardboard." Stark says as he glances around at the strung out, wounded, and exausted team. "Dani here needs a medical bay." While he pops back via portal to get some actual toys for her new eye because oh god that looks like a total loss. "And…"

And then it hits him. "Wait, Peaty and Elsa Von Tentacles were my /trusted companions/. I mean one of them /was/ hot in red but still…" A longer pause. "I mean really though. Next think you're going to tell me is that you're working with Mister 'I control the power of electromagnetic force without even knowing the science behind it.'" A pause. "…I really need to find a way to shorten that one…"

The forementioned 'objective' turns her eyes, looking deer-in-headlights to catch first glance of Scott Summers. Alison looks up on the face of her old, old teammate — looking nothing here like she ever remembered him — with a mix of hope and reticence.

Mostly hope. With him, there might be more of a chance to get Warren back. Warren, whom she left behind —

Talk of a 'hex' gives her pause, uncertain if she's hearing it right — hexes only come from one place — but, in the end, Alison has nothing left in her to question, survey, or complain. She's running on fumes, physically, emotionally, mentally, because how else do you possibly feel coming out of a weeks' long fugue state, controlled by another being entirely?

She is silent for now, passively gleaning everything going on; certain Kitty is fine after that save, and squeezing her shoulder in a brief touch of 'thank you' and 'I'm still sorry', Alison stands to… Dani calling her name.

"If we're safe," she finally says, somber, "Tony's right. Let's get you — medical attention. Please." She doesn't dare linger closer, or even try to touch Dani, lingering uselessly because what else do you do when you caused it.

Meanwhile, Tony speaks on. And on. And on.

And on.

After his last words, there is silence. A weighted sort of silence. A pregnant pause, looking nine months in and ready to crown, by the way some new entrance has caught Alison's eye, and left her staring.

There's a shift in Tony's armor, like a slight excitation of the electrons in every atom — not abrupt, or even painful, but just enough to know its movement is not part of the usual program.

"'Magneto' is usually sufficient, Stark," replies an old, dignified, familiar voice. Erik Lehnsherr, in the flesh, occupies the doorway to the cockpit, his pale eyes slanted on Tony with a withering look. He glances back to Scott — not impressed by far — and sniffs, passing by, gone on his way.

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