Good Plan II: Now With Extra Fire
Roleplaying Log: Good Plan II: Now With Extra Fire
IC Details

The team gathers on the Blackbird to hash out their approach on recovering Death-Warren.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 21, 2019
IC Location: ????
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 22 Nov 2019 16:26
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: Cyclops by Warren
Magneto by Alison
Associated Plots

The mission to retrieve Alison went — well, for given values of the term 'well.' The objective was met, and some new intel was gained on Alison having been freshly transformed into the new Famine — but Danielle Moonstar lost an eye in the ensuing clash.

A stray Tony Stark was also picked up along the way, when he popped out suddenly from a self-made portal, salty as hell about being left behind.

With Dani currently receiving treatment in the medbay, Scott took it upon himself to gather the scattered dimensional team for a debrief in the Blackbird's mission room. Those who didn't go on the retrieval mission had received a quick sitrep on the end result, but otherwise the Cyclops of this world seems content to let the team take more of a lead on their own affairs than he might have been with his own people.

Well, other than to open remarks in this way: "This is an excellent opportunity. We know for a fact Apocalypse is down one Horseman now."

When the team had returned, Ghost Spider had somberly welcomed everyone back to the uneventfully eventful Blackbird.

Even Tony! Especially Tony.

"Hey, uh… sorry for ditching you, Mister Stark." She had said. "We kinda-sorta got stuck in wizard stuff."

And then the waiting happened. Oh, Gwen had been fine for a short while. Quiet looking around the extra-large airship, hovering around Dani in the medical area, 'sitting' on the walls and cieling like it was not even a thing.

But steadily, progressively, having been on standby had *gotten* to Ghost Spider. Until, finally, she had given into temptations and started wandering more actively, poking at consoles and touching buttons. Oh, she did so quite intelligently and intellectually, but it was still messing with panels and checking displays like a teenager at a Kinkos.

"So… It was a good plan, but do we have one for fixing our current host of problems? If Mister Stark's here, can we just come and go as we need to? No need for wizard 'time to go' tricks?"

Her lenses pop hopefully wide. "That'd be cool, because I'm just about out of meat sticks and fruit snacks."

As a member of the stealth team that phased into the alien ship and helped take Alison out of there, Kitty is here, watching and listening. She watches Scott in action and mission briefing, her view on him slightly changed. Perhaps it shouldn't be, but it is. After coming back from the ship, she's seen this world and those on the Blackbird in something of a different light.

"It also means Apocalypse will be looking for a new Famine." This is not a new revelation, but one that she feels must be spoken aloud. "So we should be extra careful against their particular brand of brainwashing."

Glancing about the room, she shifts, wincing just slightly. Lockheed rebalances himself on her lap, spinning a coin in his grasp that he hasn't let go of just yet. It's something of an annoyance for Kitty, but she hasn't yet brought it up.

"We should find the best place for Warren to meet us, where we can distract him and talk to him and try and get past the brainwashing."

Tony Stark had every right to be salty! Leaving him behind when they went to go get his oldest friend. I mean he doesn't have many and if he looses Warren who else is going to tell him it is a great idea to put wings on basically everything.

No one thats who.

He would start listening to /sensible/ people and then where would the world be.

"I'm pretty sure that even down one they could still wipe the floor with at least a few of us. Not to mention one of the ones we aren't trying to kill." Comes the voice of the inventor, leaning against the door with his arms crossed. The only armor that seems to be in evidence is part of a gauntlet, one that he's using to display a holographic image of a shattered metal wing-plume that he stares at with intrest.

"I mean. That /is/ the plan. Not killing him. Right?" A glance at Scott. "Right." A longer pause. "Good talk, Scott."

Then there is a smirk aimed towards Gwen. "And yeah, you can totally go back for snacks. I mean how do you think I keep getting surprised." A slight pause. "How do you feel about insects? Like…grasshopppers specifically. Big ones. For no applicable reasons." A flash of a grin that might not be comforting is aimed at Gwen before he turns back towards Kitty. "From what I can tell the brainwashing business is only half traditional conditioning, the rest is chemical. They get injected with something that makes them more pliable, and also might boost their powers. Not quite sure yet, hard to study the stuff when I can't really touch it."

Also there is a thumbs up towards Lockheed. Tiny Smaug is building his hoard. Tony approves.

"We'll need to take advantage of that quickly. If his access to potentials is as good as it looks, it won't last particularly long. A few weeks, perhaps." Carolus Sinclair says, from the far corner of the room. He remained behind to reduce the liability of the situation moderately, but he has — occasionally — offered some tactical insight along the way, conversing passingly with whoever happened to be around him.

On the occasions that he's been alone or close to it, he's been muttering to himself in the confines of a cocoon. But this seems to be something that he's avoided to the best of his ability. Those with the senses required to hear him — or who were simply nosy enough to stop and listen — would have found themselves listening to a sort of personal identity mantra.

I am Carolus Sinclair. I was born on…

There has been no evident panic through these times, however. Atlas has simply been managing his situation in the only way that he knows how to, which doesn't count for much on account of the fact that he isn't a wizard.

To Kitty, he replies, "He's very ambulatory on his own. I don't know how much caution he'd show if I just appeared on his radar right now, but I think he'd probably hesitate at least a little if it was too obvious. We need someplace that's close enough to where he is to be too tempting to pass up but not so far away from his slower support that it feels like our ideal white room ambush site."

"Ants are better." He asides to Tony, flatly.

Magneto, for his part, occupies one seat at the table, wearing his dark clothes and favouring his helm — he has not removed it once since they've seen him, and Jean Grey may be the reason why — his intent pale eyes half-swathed in shadow. Arms crossed, his impressive presence is… somewhat more benign than memories hold him, a fiery general-turned-warlord whose voice held thousands to his cause. He is a different man in this world, far more quiet, far more sullen. But he is listening.

Meanwhile, even though the freshly-resurrected, freshly-reclaimed, freshly-reunited Alison Blaire is back among these ranks on the Blackbird — she has not been an easy face to find.

For the initial days, the apparent ex-Famine, however broken of Apocalypse's control, remained sequested on Cyclops' orders — just to be sure there was not any latent programming that could have her turn on the team. She consented to same, rather willingly, and even when Scott was finished with his checks and scans… Alison still did not take significant steps toward integration.

Despite her larger-than-life pop star persona, she was always one of the more reserved, private players on both X-Men and Excalibur, and especially now, Alison keeps to herself. Perhaps needing the time to just reorder her mind, after having it occupied by someone else for so long, corrupting all her higher thoughts into a perverted worship for some landed god. Perhaps needing the space just to center herself free from more than one trauma. Perhaps, especially in the wake of Dani's lost eye, just… not trusting herself around others. Knowing what she did.

"The control… lessens the farther Genesis is away," speaks a new voice. Alison, late to the party, but still here — lingers discontently at the doorway. She looks practically unchanged from last look at her one world ago, save for the haunted way about her eyes. "If he had been on the ship, I doubt any of you would have gotten through to me. It's partially him, partially the craft — we have to get Warren far away from all of it. It'll be different with him. I was just a soldier. He's favoured. A top lieutenant."

"We're going to have to fight him."

Phoenix has mostly kept to herself since arriving; all the better to recover from and process the trauma surrounding the journey. Nonetheless, she claimed a seat around the table as soon as the room was available and has thus far spent the meeting with her hands tightly braided before her and a gold boot heel drumming against the base of her chair.

"Nevermind the conditioning, its strength and all the other variables we don't have: think about who we're dealing with."

Quiet and firm, she takes a moment to scan the table and see how her conclusion lands before continuing, "A good half of us are pretty adroit at talking and fighting at the same time," with a touch of dry humor that bleeds right out once the time for it has passed, "so it shouldn't be the biggest reach… but if you haven't taken the time to think about that, yet…"

Maybe it's not a new revelation, but it's one that ought to be spoken aloud.

"Getting into his head is— if it's even possible, it's not going to be easy; the same'll go for the others, I'm guessing, so quick and painless subdual is out of the question on my end. Still…" Her eyes drift towards Tony, and she thoughtfully begins, "… if we could give him a really target rich environment, maybe— "

Her eyes snap towards Alison.

"How far," she wonders, quieter than before, "is far, here?"

"I prefer wasps." Ghost Spider replies with an almost automatic cadence once grasshoppers and ants come up. "But that gives me an idea."

Ghost Spider raises a hand, gesturing around the room with her fingers. "Mister Stark being here, and Dazzler being back with us gives us some advantages, you know?" Gwen begins, and her tone has the weight of 'ok, she's back' without any doubt in it. "And we really really want Warren to be with us, and as far away from Shiny and Chrome and his flying super-brick. We want to divide them, but not divide ourselves. Which means, well, a trick, right? Like directional sound."

Pointing at Tony as he smugs - which is all the time, but especially now - there's an energy to her motion. Eagerness. "With Alison and Tony, maybe we can get something really loud and obnoxious through Apocalypse's shields. We probably can't ace him, but shoving a loud enough bomb down his business will give him something to chew on. Something worth personally protecting. If we time it right - say, after we dangle Atlas out in a nice, evacuated area - they'll have to choose. If Warren defends the ship and Apocalypse shows up to teach us manners, we bail. If Warren shows up and Apocalypse defends the ship, we mug him for all of his mind control metal and get the heck out of here."

A big, heavy shrug follows Gwen's plan. "What could go wrong? Beyond, yes, all the parts where it's a terrible idea and it will go entirely wrong, yes, beyond those."

Scott starts to say something, annoyed, to Tony's sidelong 'not killing him, right?' remark, only to be cut off by the 'good talk.' There is a brief beat of silence.

"I preferred you dead, Stark," is Scott's comment, delivered in that same serious tone which makes it impossible to tell whether he has actually made a joke or not. "It was quieter."

As for the rest of the conversation transpiring? "The Warren I knew had no caution at all when it came to his own life," he says flatly, "but this isn't my Warren. It's not yours, either. I don't know what Death would do, but I would certainly err on the side of caution and avoid too obvious of a trap."

He leans forward to bring up a holographic map at the center of the room, considering Gwen's thoughts on the matter. "Well — you're actually in luck on them currently being separated. Judging from past patterns, the ship can be counted on remaining here until a major offensive move is made. Travel time is insignificant to the ship even on its own, and they have a teleporter who can cut that down to nothing. He usually uses it to jump the ship instantly over the city he's going to bombard, moments before he actually does it."

The map centers on New York, a pulsing dot representing the Celestial ship hanging over the city's southern reaches. "And due to the fact he's just lost a Horseman, he'll probably be in recruitment to get back to a full set before he makes his move on DC. Meaning Apocalypse himself will have returned to the ship, and will remain there until he's concluded."

The map pans out, shifting south, towards DC. "In the meantime, we just got intel today that Death has been sighted on the outskirts of DC with other highly-mobile forces. Softening up the defenses in advance of the main assault."

He glances at Magneto, seated at his side: then at the rest of the group. His gaze pauses noticeably on Alison, and lingers… Cyclops clearly still wary, despite all the tests run to ensure she was clean. "That's where I'm taking my team next," he says bluntly. "I want to be there and dug in before Apocalypse arrives. His delay in having to find a new Horseman gives us that time, for which we're grateful… and if you can take Death off the board entirely, so much the better."

He shakes his head. "The only advice I have to give is to keep him far from Apocalypse and — try to reach him. Piotr reached Kitty, just before the end. We've had telepaths try to get in their heads before, to make it happen, but… it's not pleasant for any party involved. Whatever Apocalypse puts in them, it warps their minds. Shields them."

Stark just smirks at Scott at the announcement. "Yeah you missed me I know it." Then though things get a slight bit more serious, especially when Alison and Jean show up. The former gets a pat on the arm from the…only human in the room. Man. That is a touch awkward. Even if Stark isn't fully human any more by most standards.

Not like he's going to dwell on it now. "Well of course we'll have to fight him, but fighting and killing are pretty much different kinds of fighting. And yes, that is one of my professional skills. Talking and fighting at the same time. I'm damn proud of it. Almost as proud as I am about everything else I can do. Almost."

Yes. He talks too much and he doesn't care.

A glance then towards Carolus and Gwen, though there is a quirk of an eyebrow as she offers Atlas as bait. But hey. What is a little near death among friends. "If he's far enough away from the ship and tall, chrome, and completely insane…that would work. Someone ties up his fast movers, he focuses on something, Warren tends to do that, and we can engage him while trying to talk him down or beat the goo out of him."

There is a glance at Ali. "Sorry, but you know he's not going to listen to reason. He never did that on a good day." There is a smile there for her at least before he turns back to the rest.

"Also I'm assuming these mobile forces are…what? Drones or flyers made of this strange techno-organic metal stuff?" He frowns. "Too organic to be metal, too metal to be organic, not enough properties of either to be useful." He mutters to himself before letting his eyes scan the room. Then a low pause. "…you know…if you can make it more one or the other…" His brain tails off thinking on this before it snaps back to current talk and focuses on choices of bugs.

"Oh good, well there are /some/ wasps and ants. Mostly beetles and grasshoppers. But yeah, if you want to go back its fine. Just tell them the Sun God sent ya and you're a friend of Huitzilopochtli."

Gwen feels an odd twinge of 'danger', and quirks her head at Tony.

"Oh. Oh! Right right, you don't know. Carolus swallowed a… wizard… thing. A bit of Warren's soul. So that's why Death really really wants to apply his job title to Atlas."

She nods firmly. Yep! This is better! All those words in the sentence she constructed were ENTIRELY REASONABLE.

Carolus nods towards Alison, antennae bobbing lightly as he does so, "I'm glad to see that you're back. We were all very relieved when we learned that you weren't actually gone." He doesn't really know the details well enough to understand that some scientific necromancy happened.

"Wasps are the worst, but they're not good snacks." He asides to Gwen, completely seriously.

His attention turns back to Scott, "Warren can be impulsive and he probably will be, but I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. If we can get most of what we want without tipping our hand, I'd prefer that to risking it all to attempt for everything we want. Especially since he has a third party interfering with his personality. That's probably the more dangerous variable than Warren deciding not to follow his instinct."

The mothman waves both right hands towards Gwen, "Yeah, didn't ask Doctor Strange enough questions. Kind of on a time limit now, ego's fraying apart. Either way, if I step foot out of this place Warren immediately gets a fix on my location and can come screaming after me for his soul fragment."

"Which," he taps an index finger against his knee, "is /still/ less hypothetically horrible than pursuing an exit through what I am quite certain is an aztec deity. Is there something you'd like to tell us about your friends, Tony?"

He may or may not be joking.

"Oh no, nothing like that." Stark drawls. "They think I'm an Incan Sun God." A beatpause. "They think Impulse is the aztec one. The only actual deity got stabbed in the heart with an obsidian knife. Very dramatic. Its perfectly safe now, just…try not to do anything god like while you're passing though. I'm getting a big enough pantheon there."

The pat to her arm earns Alison's eyes, brightly blue. She glances up at Tony, not reproachful, but a little unsure. She does not pull away, but she also doesn't try to touch back. She doesn't trust her hands.

Alison's eyes turn at Jean's voice — it seems to break the guilty fog, and her fingers tighten unsurely against her opposite forearms.

"Far," she answers, then realizes how vague it sounds. "I knew when he was aboard the craft… like my head was full of him. Within a city, intrusive but not as all-encompassing. When he was cities away, it was like a whisper. It gave me opportunity to… think."

There's apology in her eyes; she doesn't know how better to phrase it. How does one dig into the logistics of some celestially-imbued mind control?

Her attention inevitably skirts over to Gwen's introduction of a plan. Alison offers its skeleton no immediate opinion; her expression is blank, wan, tired, possibly in many ways still struggling to keep up with the details of it all. Her gaze cants briefly to Carolus, hearing him as a safehouse for some aspect of Warren's soul. His greeting meets her acknowledgment, a flicker-down of her eyes, then back. 'Weren't actually gone,' makes her look briefly pained, but she says nothing for the moment.

Though Alison knows she has to. She speaks up, slowly, "If… we're baiting him, I need to stay near Carolus. Wherever I go, and it's loud enough, Warren will eventually come for me. It's not… you're not a shell of yourself, with Genesis. You are, but you aren't. You're you, in many ways." And the kicker. "I came here dead. Warren was already Death when he brought me back to life. Genesis didn't do that. He did."

Her lips move, but further words do not come. Perhaps this explanation is already too much for Alison to speak at length. None of it helps her visible discomfort.

In the end, she concludes: "Scott is right. Genesis locks our minds from intrusion. But, as I said… we're not totally gone. Tony, Kitty, and —" this hurts to say, "Dani got through to the core of me, by knowing what's important to me. And when was Warren ever guided by his head? Tony knows this well." Alison's expression twists, not humoured, only rueful. "You have to reach his heart."

These mobile forces are… what?

"Mutants," is Scott's grim answer for Stark. "Some are mobile because they're flyers, like he is. The rest are heavy-hitters accompanied by a teleporter to give them that mobility. It's not a big team. I'd take my team to run interference to keep them from engaging you."

Carolus stares flatly at Tony, raises both sets of arms, flutters his wings, and then eases them all back down into a resting position. He replies, "I am certain that it will be positively easy not to present myself as some kind of divine being to those who might believe it on passing contact."

He begins to reply to Alison, then stops in his tracks when she comes about to admit that, in fact, she was dead when she got here. It elicits a dual response from inside of him, one part merely himself— grievously offended at the facts he knew of Alison's, drawn back to thoughts of the man that probably did it.

It occurs to him, briefly, to ask for confirmation. But the thought is dismissed out of hand as horrible and insensitive in the moment. It can wait, especially with what they have ahead of them right now.

The other is the little bit of Warren inside of him, which is a lot more… /angry/ than Carolus himself can recall experiencing directly. It's much more intense and sharp, in a way that he would find impossible to articulate.

He inhales deeply and begins to mutter to himself, "I am Carolus Sinclair, I was born on the eleventh of October…"

Kitty listens to all the information as it is presented. Her eyes continually drift to Magneto every now and again warily, as if she's worried he's going to go steal the silver.

Then, she takes a stock of what is going on. Counting things out on her fingers, she starts to list what she knows. "Okay, so we need to be far enough away from the ship and Apocolypse that his brainwashing wifi is at around two bars. Then, we need to keep him from killing us. We need to get the piece of Warren out of Carolus before it subsumes his personality, but we can't let Warren crack it out of him like bone marrow. We also have to ensure that Apocalypse doesn't pick a new Famine in the interim. And we also have to get to Warren's heart."

That seems to be all her fingers. She frowns as she thinks this all through. "To get through to Warren, it seems like the best people to try and talk some heart into him are Alison and Tony. The rest of us can be on distraction detail to make sure he doesn't, you know, kill them or anyone else."

Looking to Carolus, she tilts her head. "I'm not sure if I've ever gotten an answer about how you get the piece of Warren out of you. When is it safe to give it back to him? Only when he's tossed off Apocalypse brainwashing? What if you give it back to him willingly when he's weakening? Will that give him a last minute piece of conscious to make the right decision? Or will that strengthen him?"

Something unseen grazes Alison's hand, then sweeps up to squeeze grip her shoulders as she shares the story of her arrival.

"What about duplicating the— " Jean begins once her eyes have shifted from Alison back to Stark, only to pause for a tick because:

"this is going to sound completely ridiculous…"

With quick breath in, she pushes a glove into her hair. "Okay, so: Warren can find Carolus wherever he is, right? Because Carolus has a piece of his soul embedded in him…"

The telepath's eyes shift towards Atlas for a sympathetic moment, but she doesn't stop.

"… like a tether. So, just — ignoring a lot of the details of what what I just said means: we know that Carolus emits a signal that Warren's capable of receiving, and compelled to follow; could you isolate it, given time? Do you even— are there tools for analyzing something like that? Duplicating it? The more distractions we can put between him and Carolus, the easier it'll be to…"

She lets the thought trail, and shortly afterwards her attention shifts towards Kitty.

"I've known him since the beginning of — this, of the costumes, and peril, and… … I'm going to play it by ear," she quietly states. "I'll know the right thing to do once we're there, and it's time to do it."

"It's magic, so it's at least partially symbolic. I figured I'd just throw it up. But frankly, I'm improvising here. I have no idea how it works and Doctor Strange didn't give me a how-to manual on the manipulation of spiritual fragments." Carolus answers, bringing both sets of hands together in a folded position and closing his eyes.

"Going to have some questions for him after this."

He tilts his head in Gwen's direction, "I like the idea of slipping something nasty in past their defenses to keep them occupied, and maybe help keep some of Scott's people from taking the brunt of it while they run interference. Do we have anything that might work for that? Maybe… I don't know, a loose sentinel or two that nobody has annihilated too badly?"

In response to Jean's suggestion, he says, "I wouldn't be surprised if souls could be identified as some kind of particle, but I'm not sure we have the time to isolate it and spin out a fake, if that's even possible."

Privately, he imagines that Magik could probably come up with something close enough to cause confusion, but it would probably be composed entirely of demons.

A glance at Carlous before there is a slow not from Stark.

"Oh yeah, totally going to be a new member of the pantheon." Then at Gwen. "Two of them. Eh it'll be fine. Its not like you'll have interstellar insectoids following you around hero worshiping you. It'll be fiiiiiiine."

This is what living with Tony Stark is like.

A glace at Kitty though as she ticks off questions and there is an eloquent shrug from Tony. "Sounds like magic thing. I only know about stuff when magic and technology cross. Usually I leave soul stuff up to the actual magic guys and gals." There is a pause though as Jean brings something up and he tilts his head to the side to regard Carolus.

"Wellllllllllllllll…" There is a thoughtful look. "…I couldn't do it fast. I mean. Unless I took a sample of my own nanties, repurposed them to take a sample of whatever fragment that is inside you…" A nod towards Carolus. "…wait do you both have one or just you?" A look towards Gwen for a moment. "I mean its just a theory. I'd need at least…" A pause. "…a couple hours to think on it."

A longer pause.

"And I can whip up some kind of fighting robot if you give me a bit as a distraction." A longer pause. "And if your people…" This a nod towards Magneto and Scott. "…can figure out how to kill the organic part of the techno-metal. Like a counter-virus or something, then it's just metal and…" Again. A nod towards of Magneto.

Look. He's helping.

Gwen's lenses narrow, wavering weirdly. "Yeah, no, the opposite problem."

A full blink proceeds it. "Sorry, what?"

The squeeze to her shoulders — Alison lifts her head, the motion a bit blander than usual, but something in her eyes, her face, definitely seeking.

She knows within a heartbeat from whom it sources, and her bearing yields slightly. Nothing spoken aloud, but still borne in her body language: thank you.

"We don't need a tether to start this, if that's what worries you guys," she interjects, voice soft. "If I call for Warren — for Death, he will come for me. Come alone for me, I know. He may already be looking for me." May, will, is. Her eyes turn with memory.

He had promised her, fiercely, violently, may times back on that craft—

"It might be enough to isolate him. Then Carolus can be used to maintain his focus. He needs to be far away before anything is attempted at Genesis. If he's able to call back Death to him, and he's within any sort of reach —"

They'll have lost this chance.

Magneto, in the meantime, sustains his stony, austere silence. That is, until one pale eye tics toward the Iron Man. He ruminates that.

Then: "Finally, the first useful sound out of you, Stark."

There is a smirk towards Magneto. "See, I knew you'd warm up to me…" And then his mind clicks towards Dazzler. "…so…what you're saying is…we need a private room to talkfight him in?"

"Have Alison call him."

Scott's interjection is quiet, but with a certain finality. "If there is something of Warren in there, then I know the one thing he'll respond to immediately — leaving behind everyone else if he has to — is a woman calling him." It could be a funny remark, if it were coming from anyone else but Scott. Scott just sounds perfectly serious about the assessment.

He closes down the holographic map. "Besides, you don't want to tip him off. Using Carolus right off the bat to draw him in, it's obvious. Alison out there, sending the distress call first… he doesn't know nearly as much about that scenario. He knows she's gone, but he's not clear how or why, and he can't be sure whether her calling him is a trap or not. Maybe she fought free, and just needs to be picked up."

He pauses. "I don't think Alison and Carolus should be the first thing he finds when he gets there, though." He nods to Jean. "As you said — the more distractions between him and his goal, the better. Make him run a gauntlet of you. Go at him from multiple angles. You all bunch up in a group, head on, and it'll be too easy for him to focus fire you."

He doesn't even seem alarmed by Tony enabling Magneto. What a world.

"Something to hit the ship wouldn't go amiss, either," he admits. "It'd doubly guarantee Apocalypse doesn't stir himself from it at an unexpected time."

Kitty levels Jean with a steady look. "Yes, I know. But, when we first got here, you flew off and left us behind." There's little accusation here, merely a statement of fact. "I am sure it was disorienting and hard on you, but it doesn't lead to thinking that a reliable part of a plan." As the redhead she says that she's not sure what she has to do but will know when she gets there is met with a bit of a tilt of her head. "Hence why I think it best to put you on distraction. You're one of the only people here, I think, that can go toe to toe with Warren power-wise right now. And when you know what you need to do, then you can do it."

Turning back to the others, her expression toward Tony is sour. "Maybe let's not build any self sustaining robots just yet, Tony." She gives Magneto a hard look and then back at the inventor. "Who knows what they might be used for once we're back in our own dimension."

Frustrated, she thinks for a few moments. "I can stay with Carolus, keep him phased when necessary to ensure that Warren doesn't get to him." She frowns, a bit at Carolus' answer. They know so little, have so little ammunition. Then, she looks around her. "….can we get Warren onto the Blackbird? This place is cloaked from Apocalypse, right? We wouldn't need a ship distraction then. They wouldn't be able to get at him here. And he would be in such close quarters that he can't swoop. And then we can do that terrifying thing Tony is talking about with his wings so we can even control those." She's spitballing here.

"I'm not sure a private room is a good idea, becuase he's got wingspan made entirely out of swords, and probably has some weird metal…"

Ghost spider twirls at hand at the wrist. "Ssssstuff."

Hopping up and down lightly on extensions of her toes, Ghost Spider turns her head towards Magneto. "I'd prefer a city, but basically anything that's not an open plain would be good, wouldn't it? Make his flying more complex, give us stuff to bounce off of and toss around."

The suggestion of fighting Warren in the Blackbird gets a curious lens-squint. "I mean, I'm all for it - but it's binning the ship to do it, isn't it? He'd totally thrash the inside."

"That's not something we can ask them to do. This is a place of, if not absolute safety, near absolute safety for them. I doubt that removing another lieutenant is a fair trade for it." Carolus interjects, on the topic of trying to lure Warren into the Blackbird.

"I think the best plan is…" An adjustment in clear consternation falls upon Ghost Spider, her shoulders tensing, head dropping, weight bouncing from foot too foot slowly, and arms crossed tightly across her chest. "… well, all of them. Getting into his head through Carolus. Having Alison draw him to us. Having Mister Stark bomb Apocalypse, and Scott's team drawing away his guys. It's the whole idea of an attack from every angle, just… Drawing them into our-!"

Her hands come together as she talks, unfurling from her chest as her fingers work without real thought, as she focuses on what her 'best idea' is. When she ceases talking, she holds up a glistening cat's cradle of a spiderweb-line spun lightly about the tips of her fingers. "-web."

She's clearly shocked at the own complete stupidity of her SPIDER WORDPLAY. "Yeah, yeah, I had to. We've got a little time, we don't have to fully commit. If Cyclops can take out another horsemen, or some of their supports, if Mister Stark can put a dent in Apocalypse's ship, if we can get Warren back -" Gwen stops, before her shoulders release, and she stands back up more straight, the anxious draining out of her steadily. "-*when* we get him back, we can find something that works, and hit that as hard as we can."

"So we can leave this place with all our friends and teammates, and a little better then when we got here."

"It's important to remember this isn't the Warren you are accustomed to," Scott says quietly. Cyclops, encyclopedic on his team's strengths and weaknesses. "Confining him used to work — and even then he'd trained to compensate for that. Now… we've recorded his top speed at Mach 4. And we haven't yet found anything he can't cut through. We can't stage combat in the Blackbird. He will destroy it, and this craft is too vital."

He nods towards Ghost Spider. "Your summary's fair," he says. "Stark, you don't necessarily even have to be present to disrupt the Celestial ship. A remote combat drone of some size will suffice. Especially if you can work with Magneto and develop something that can be used to cause some havoc to that techno-organic metal, on top of that."

Were he their native Cyclops, he might have interceded in the interpersonal conflict brewing on the horizon. But he isn't quite — and this isn't quite HIS team.

A smirk at Kitty. "Don't worry, they won't be self sustaining. I'm not using my nanties on them. Those are nice nanites anyway, they don't like fighting. They keep me alive." Stark just leaves that one alone, elaborating on magic just makes it not as magic.

There is a nod though. "But yeah, I can think of a combat drone. Maybe a delivery system for some kind of virus to counteract the non-metal in the ship long enough to give it problems. That I /defintally can do. The plans…well…you all seem to have that handled."

"The Phoenix won't be suddenly ripped out of me twice, Kitty."

Jean's tone hardens around the sentiment, a determined fact for a fact from the woman who grew out of letting herself be treated as a liability when she was still in blue and gold.

"This isn't my first time, or my fiftieth; I'm going to hold up my part of the mission to the best of my ability, just like everyone else will. If that means distracting him, fine — I have thought, plenty, about what it's probably going to take to bring him to his senses — but I'm not gonna not try the other thing, too. I don't know which one's going to work the best, but I'm going to try."

After slowly exhaling, she glances between Scott and Stark while tactical options are discussed.

"What if I— … nnh—

"… what if it was layered," she mutters after a moment, volume picking back up to normal levels quickly, "with a strike from the local Phoenix? Would he buy it well enough to split his defenses, and make whatever you could do with a drone count for that much more? If Dani's…"

She lets the thought hang. Cyclops is an encyclopedia, and this isn't quite anyone's first X-Mission.

"… but if she's not up to it, you could work something out holographically, right?"

"Scott was quite willing to risk Dani and my lives in order to remove a lieutenant for them without a second thought," Kitty tells Carolus while still just watching Scott. "We were basically probes, and he encouraged us because he could then see what happened. It was a win win position for him. If we went in and never came back, well, he gave us what we wanted. We volunteered to get Alison and we're going to get Warren back, but I want to make sure he's not just encouraging a plan so he can toss us out again to see what sticks."

As for this place being vital, she nods. "Yes, I know, Just…" she sighs. "Why haven't you tried this before? Staging an attack on the alien ship to distract him while sending out others to reclaim those brainwashed by Apocalypse? If you have, I don't think it's worked before. That ship is alive and you know that. It didn't want to let me phase out of it. It fought me. Also, it was weird in there. We didn't see anyone inside except for Ali. Why is that? There was supposed to be an attack on DC. Where were the people who were supposed to do that? That place was empty. Either Apocalypse was okay with us taking Ali or something else is going on."

Kitty looks to Jean, frustrated, tossing up her hands. "Will it not? I don't know what Apocalypse is capable of Jean. I know his ship was alien and angry and…mean. Can he try and extract the Phoenix from you? What if he decides you're the next best Famine? He took Ali, he took Warren…if I were Apocalypse, you'd be my exact next choice."

She takes a breath, realizing she's not helping, that she's doomsaying. "I'm sorry. I didn't…I'll just…" She stands, looks to Gwen, that optimism of leaving this place better than how they found it. She used to feel optimism like that. She takes a breath. "Yes, let's do that. I'm sorry."

For her part, Alison seems just as likely to drift off into her vacant silences. Discussions of strategy were always the times she was most vocal, ever appreciative of the application of tactics to steamline and boon their abilities —

But right here, right now, it's transparent to see she's not all there. Here in the flesh, determined to play her part in the next step, adamant to have Warren's mind returned to him the same way it has for her, but —

Not all there.

The world is a little dim, she finds, absent of Genesis' false glory. Not even Gwen's spider-speech seems to wake her up.

Kitty's questions, however, test a lot of her trauma-silence, because there's a lot of them — some of them that Alison, herself, is painfully equipped to answer. "Genesis —" she seems to have issue calling him 'Apocalypse', after his god-like name sung for weeks on high one way in her thoughts, "commanded his forces off-ship. He wants to take DC in one strike. As for not using his craft — I don't know. He didn't tell me everything. I was very new. I do know it's important to him. Vital, even. It gives him the ability to cross dimensions." And why was Alison alone on the craft? "Death… insisted I remain behind for that one. It was… still too soon after he brought me back."

She offers no interjection to Scott's gameplan, appearing to accept it: her lips purse in a silent spiritual preparation.

"Oh, there's one thing —" she says, a little weakly, to the running list of Death's celestial augmentations. Apology couches her demeanour; Alison hating herself a little more for not thinking of this sooner. Even if it's been exceeding hard just… to think.

"His wings. They're living metal, but they're also him. He can make them secrete a poison. A toxin. It paralyzes on contact." Her expression draws in, grave. "I've seen it negate abilities. Don't let the feathers touch you. They don't even have to cut you."

"Other Father Scott's strategic decisions surrounding us are the only rational course of action in this screaming dumpster fire of a universe." Carolus replies to Kitty, waving two left hands towards the local Cyclops and opening his eyes again, "Given what we know and what he admitted to knowing about Apocalypse's M.O., there was a nonzero chance that our entire team was an infiltration plot from the start. Simply taking the risk to stop and help us could've been a critical blunder. The fact that he did it anyway tells you everything you need to know about his character."

"His worst-case scenario is probably either Magneto or a select segment of us ending up drawn into Apocalypse's circle as replacement Horsemen, or back-up Horsemen candidates." He concludes, shutting his eyes again and settling into what seems to be a breathing exercise.

Nodding animatedly at Jean's suggestion to add Boom 2: Now With Extra Fire to plan 'boom blue badman', Ghost Spider is about to add in her suggestions on how to work it in when she notices her speech bouncing off of Kitty - and Alison.

Gwen only has one wisdom to share, raising a finger with a self-assured one-fist-on-her-hip, one-finger-raised pose. "Well, look at the brightest side. The paralytic toxin probably won't matter, because the wings cut through anything, so if he flies through you - you just die!"

She jazzhands, adding with an utterly flat deadpan "Woo-hoo."

Tony, lost in thought of ideas of TOTALLY NOT SELF DRIVING ROBOMURDERDRONES, snaps back at the jazzhands.

"Alright. I like this one. We can keep her right?"

More emotive men might have been moved by that spoken defense from Carolus. Scott, by contrast, averts his visored face. Perhaps in a long-standing habit of finding it difficult to internalize praise. Perhaps something else.

"You want your people back," is Cyclops' simple and eventual answer to Kitty. "I've given you the means to do that, within the limits of what I can allocate to you away from my own people. Your goals happen to align with mine. Perhaps that might read as expediency to you. But this is war, and a soldier risks his or her life in war. This is not new."

He turns his attention, thoughtfully, to Jean. "I can't guarantee anything from my Jean," is Scott's eventual reply. "But if you were to layer a holographic image over the drone, it might work to distract him. I can say that any disruption to the technology of his ship will command his immediate and full attention. It's his greatest asset."

"As for where everyone was…" Scott lifts a shoulder in a shrug. "Many of his resources are deployed, either encroaching on new territory, or holding existing territory that is critical to sustain his forces. Those that remained on the ship — you wouldn't have been likely to encounter them in the areas of the ship which you were infiltrating. Habitation, engineering…" He shakes his head. "They would have been concentrated in navigation, nearer the bridge. A lucky thing that Dazzler wasn't being held near the central areas of the vessel."

He glances again at Magneto, before his gaze returns to the team. "Ultimately I leave the final shape of your game plan and its nuances to your commander," he says bluntly. "But if it were my recommendation, I would have you send Dazzler out first. Have her beacon Death. Deploy the rest of you when he's already en route, so he doesn't notice Atlas and realize a trap until he's already separated."

He glances at the moth-man. This is where normal people would be apologetic for basically using a man as bait. Scott, though — he's Cyclops right now. "After that, Atlas will become a target for him as well. Between him and Dazzler you should be able to position him in such a way as to maximize the efficacy of your lineup." That being a small nod to spiders needing, well, stuff to swing from.

"She's already gone, Kitty."

That fact's harder to state and it leaves Jean staring at the table once it's out.

"We all want to bring him home safely," quietly comes once Kitty's finished saying her piece. That one's not so bad, at least.

"And we all want to make sure that that all of us make it back too… and we," her eyes lift and pan across every other face present, "are the only people we can count on to make sure that those two things happen." Once she's focused on Kitty again:

"We have a whole other world to think about, on top of trying to clean this one up a little," she says, reaching - physically if she's near, psychokinetically if not - to touch the other mutant's hand. "One that isn't so far away from going the way this one has, without us there to stop it; the only thing that'll keep me from being with you for that is running out of options for getting everyone else out."

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