It Gets Everywhere
Roleplaying Log: It Gets Everywhere
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

There's so much to hate about sand. It's coarse, and rough, and irritating… and it's everywhere in this X-Men Danger Room run.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: January 25, 2020
IC Location: Danger Room, X-Base
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 29 Jan 2020 03:12
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits: GMed by Moonstar
Associated Plots

When everyone arrives in the Danger Room it sits in its rather inert state. White walls, white floor, white ceiling.

It stays that way until suddenly Danielle Moonstar's voice echoes from the sound system above. "Here we go."

That's all the warning she gives as she reaches for the console before her.

With each press of button, or touch screen, the Danger Room fades from existence and the scenario comes to life.

It shimmers into existence much like a heat-distorted mirage. The group is greeted by both heat and sand, endless amounts of both, and a quick scan of the area around will show several things in the distance. Sand dunes, a lot of them, big ones, small ones and little lumps scattered throughout. Between a half a dozen smaller dunes a building of some kind can just be made out. Its stony facade is faded just enough to easily blend in with the surrounding sand. Only its square-ish outline gives away the fact that it's not a naturally occuring shape.

With the scenario now active, Moonstar's voice is heard once again as she sits comfortably inside the control room, "Your goal is to get to the building and destroy whatever's inside it. To make this even more fun it's a timed mission run too."

And with that said, a holographic clock appears high in the 'sky' and immediately begins ticking downward.

* * *

Warren was in the Danger Room early. Perhaps even earlier than Moonstar herself arrived in order to set it up. The reason for that is clear enough in the way he looks, at the moment: he is running an experiment, and letting himself exist in his full Archangel state, blue and armored and metal-winged. The experiment will be to see how well he can stay in that state, with its advanced abilities, without either losing his mind or having to retreat back out of it.

Risky business, but there is likely no safer way to 'practice' this than in the Danger Room, with a complement of teammates available if something goes weird.

More quiet than usual as a result of the concentration necessary, Warren stands largely inert, wings mantled around him like a sleeping bird, up until the scenario goes live. The familiar hum of the Danger Room spinning up seems to wake him up too; he rouses, his eyes scanning the surroundings as they take form. His techno-organic wings twitch as he takes in the environment, the pinions spreading restlessly.

"I'm gonna head up and see what I can see between here and there," he says, opting to start with his most familiar role as scout, taking off in a flurry of bladed wings.

* * *

Nathan Summers; seemingly the fusion of a man and a T-72 tank outfitted for desert patrol. He wears a breastplate that appears to be molded from the ablative plating of a futuristic destroyer. It's surface is festooned by and pouches containing magazines loaded with ammunition, personal explosive weapons, and mines.

Reaching upwards he taps left side of his head a muffled sound spiking across the X-Men's comm-frequency and then clarified when he speaks, "Testing. One. Two," pause, "Good copy." As if some other part of his body were concurrently receiving the message he was sending.

As Warren spreads his wings he reaches to his bandolier and produces a slim metallic disc. Once removed from its place upon his person it comes to life with a hum and sends scatter points blueish light about the area. He tosses it towards warren like a frisbee as the young-man takes flight.

The bottom of the disc reads 'DOWN TOWARDS ENEMY' so that which end is the functional end is not obfuscated.

The weapon he wields is almost a meter in length. A massive unwieldy thing. He cycles the fore-end as if it were a gigantic shot-gun and then nods towards the others, "Clock is ticking." Cable reminds and then he begins forward.

* * *

Hisako Ichiki: Shorter than a tree.

Hisako showed up on time - perhaps a little early - and had exchanged greetings. She is in athletic wear and she did some warmup squats and stretches, occasionally glancing at Warren along the way. The question on her mind is not hard to infer, but she does not actually ask it. Not here, not yet.

Instead:

"That's pretty straightforward," Hisako muses aloud. "But I guess we have to work with the concept, or we'll get tangled up in our own thoughts." She spreads her arms out and sticks out her chest a little. A moment later, like a switch coming on, the Armor itself appears, voluminous and expansive. "Copy," she answers Warren. "I'll -"

And then she leaps ahead, ahead of Cable. "Draw fire -"

She moves to the left, away from the probable line of advance of the two guys. Towards the building, she shouts, "Hey bad guys! I'mma knock down your dumb building! Get mad about it!"

* * *

Laura is a bit of a try-hard, as many would know of her by now. So much that she's often in the Danger Room when others are out enjoying leisure time, training here (and working on beating Logan's various scores!) instead of playing videogames, socializing, or otherwise approximating a normal life. So, no surprise she's also on the earlier side, leaned against one white wall of the place and waiting while everyone else arrives and the appointed simulation approaches its start. Well, until about a minute before hand. At that juncture, it seems that curiousity gets the better of her. She walks up to the wing-shroud / lump that Warren has made of himself, so conspicuous in the center of the room. A quick circuit investigates, and then she reaches out, very close to poking him…

Then the sim fires up, and she's back leaning on the wall acting like nothing happened.

But since they are actually starting, she reaches down to grab a pack she's brought and left there, throws it over her shoulder, and starts toward their staging point in the center of the space. Sand. Objective. She pulls something from the pack, small and handheld (and actually a detatched scope from a rifle), gives a quick peer through it toward the target, then stows it and starts jogging. They're timed, so no reason to dawdle. "Copy, what is-" she begins to echo back to Warren, presumably awaiting orders.

But… Hisako.

It's kind of not a bad plan, though, and she immediately veers off a little the other way in her jog, her approach using the terrain, with its rises and falls, to mask her approach as best as possible while pink-and-glowy does her bit.

* * *

Warren's appearance definitely took Moonstar by surprise, but much like Hisako, Dani didn't ask question.

Honestly, she actually felt hope at seeing him there and like that. This is what they talked about, after all.

When the winged-man leaps into the air that heat seems to follow after him, as the severely dry air rises from the baked earth below. From his vantage point he gets a much clearer picture of what's around the group.

The short ansewr is 'nothing', nothing overtly dangerous seeming. Nothing that screams enemy. Only the dunes, and hills of sand, and that broken building nearby. What can be made out of that crumbling building is the sheer size of it. From the ground it doesn't look big, but up in the air it's actually sprawling. Along with the building one can make out sprawling walled in 'courtyards', though very little of those walls really remain.

For Laura and her scope, she likewise gets more of an eyeful than those relying on just regular sight. She can likewise see the age of the building as well as a few broken and shattered statues near the missing 'front' doors.

And while everyone approaches the building in their various modes of travel, it's Hisako's who arrives their first as she bravely runs to draw fire. Only there isn't any fire, at first.

Instead she gets about half-way toward those broken doors before the sand itself reacts.

Between one of her armored steps and the next the ground beneath her becomes fluid and immediately the sand takes on an almost liquid feel.

Quicksand, possibly, but oddly it grasps at Hisako's boot/foot with a life of its own, to try and YANK her under.

At the same time a loud thrum fills the air. It's more than just noise as the air itself begins to feel heavy.

That sense of weight is possibly a warning to those that might understand, before the electricity within the air suddenly solidifies and within that blue sky lightning arcs downward. Several bolts zig-zag downward to strike at Cable and Laura. Warren isn't spare either, though the bolt of lightning that arcs for him reaches upward from the ground.

Reaching for the metal that lays within and upon each of them.

* * *

Warren assuredly notices the curiosity directed towards his new 'state' by some of the team. Perhaps he even noticed Laura scattering away, interrupted mid-poke, when he uncloaked out of his shrouding wings and stood up. He does not say anything at first, because in Archangel form his brooding factor is increased by two hundred percent, but eventually he does offer, "I'm okay. Just… doing practice runs."

Better to get a feel for it now, then be unpracticed and lose control and turn into a murderous salad-shooter midway through a mission that matters.

Still, he starts himself off easy with the familiar role of flying ahead to scout, and to keep an eye on the movements of the team. Warren easily catches the disk as Cable tosses it up towards him, turning it over in his taloned grasp — and then rather hastily turning it back 'DOWN TOWARDS ENEMY'-side down again when he perceives the notation. "Is it a bomb? A scouter?" he asks, over the comms. A pause. "Both?"

He starts to say something else, perhaps remembering Laura's rigid proclivity for defined mission parameters. Hisako jumps forward and starts hitting her taunt button, before the first syllable emerges. "…Not the worst tactic," he admits. "Keep beelining for it, the others can take more roundabout routes while you draw attention. I don't see anything between us and the building."

He peers ahead. "It's pretty big, actually. Flat overall, but takes up a lot of square footage. A lot of interior courtyards have been exposed by the damage." He squints, looking closer. "There's some divots in the sand right in front of the building. Spaced out regularly. Maybe it's mined — "

But the team doesn't quite GET there before other defenses start to kick in.

Warren spills air from his wings instantly to dive towards Hisako, intending to pull her free of the sand, though that means when the lightning forks up towards him he's plummeting towards it. He cranks a hard left to avoid the bolt, though that means he's delayed and has to come around for another pass to get at the sinking Hisako. "Reach up!" he prompts, trying to grab her in passing.

* * *

"Both," he communicates to Warren.

An astute observer would note the shifting of the sand, Cable's forward momentum is buffeted by invisible force which shifts and compacts the sand before his footfalls. This allows him to traverse atop the difficult terrain created by loose sand as if it were a well-cared trail. His footfalls are slow reading steps. His hurry, despite the ticking clock, less than a jog.

"Acknowledged," he replies as Hisako rushes forward. The cybernetic portion of his brain uplinks to the device Warren carries. The biological portion connects to their minds as the Askani'son bridges the gap of man-and-machine to create interface-as-impulse.

The barrel of his oversized weapon pivots across the field of fire. Seated in Nathan's shoulder his torso directs the aim of the weapon to create as strong a potential firing platform as possible.

Half-Man, Half-Machine. Festooned with weaponry. Cable makes for a good lightning rod. The electromagnetic sensors within his body detect a sudden change in air pressure. The movement of the signal through his body is fast — but not fast enough. His cybernetic cortex just receives the signal when the electricity arks from the sky.

*KRAK-A-BOOM* Lightning connects. A heavy form is thrown backward into the side of a dune — smoking.

His biology goes haywire. His heart skips a beat. He slips into bradycardia but the techno-organic potions of his body are more shielded than the rest. Portions of his brain and neurology discard the electrical charge through the surface of his metallic skin. They immediately dump adrenaline into his system. He reaches upward with his human hand.

*KRAK-A-BOOM*. Lightning spills over an invisible faraday cage as his mind re-ionizes the air around him to ground the electricity into the shifting sands. Cable shifts to stand.

With his cybernetic hand he pulls a thin metal rod from his pack. The object grows in length as he slams it into the ground. THRUM it cycles on. The thick conductive wire waivers back and forth in the air it's function a reverse tesla-coil. Calling the static of the area to its surface as techno-organic roots plunge deeper and deeper to ground it into the virtual sand.

* * *

"Agree, boobytrapped," Laura echoes back on the comm. "Or even concealed-"

It ends up being somewhat moot, since the downside of Hisako's plan of running right into things is, well, that she runs right into things. At least she has successfully scouted the enemy defenses. "It looks like you have identified the defenses, Armor." GOOD JOB!

All of this, simultaneously, has prompted Laura into a more rapid approach, breaking into a labored run (as she fights against the poor footing of the sand uphill) and then a more rapid descent where she half-runs, half-leaps, half-slides (the math totally checks out) her way down. Her own stealth is abandonned here as well, in favor of quickly reaching Hisako and Warren. If their situation deteriorates, she's more useful up close, while otherwise it still accomplishes the main goal of closing on the compound. There is no sense bogging down in a fight in the sand at the doorstep of their actual objective.

Thus her rapid movement discards the previous concern with stealth. In the grand scheme, as durable as she is, she's not much worse a decoy (save for not being as garishly visible), so presenting another target is little-

Oh and they've got her on ZAP-O-VISION /anyway/.

With her descent only partly controlled, and given the near instantaneous nature of the discharge combined with her own internal lightning rods, the lightning strikes are hard to avoid. She barely flings herself aside, but the route the thing takes through the air snakes to catch up with her, and she's tagged mid-leap.

"Nnnnggh-" comes a snarl of pain, and she ends up convulsing, landing less ceremoniously, and rolling a fair bit of distance down the hill. But the roll is in the right direction, and maybe that was the point of the last-second dodge. This stuff probably can't hurt her seriously in the long run, so it becomes about minimizing the impact it has in slowing her down.

"Nggh. Source. On discharges. Cable?" It seems like it might be more a tech thing.

* * *

Hisako takes point.

She could defend this but it's something to come up in the post-Danger Room session, assuming they don't all horribly die in a malfunction — but how often can that happen, anyway? Either way, she moves to get in between the dunes on her downward moments, even moving back occasionally to throw off the next leap. Walk without rhythm and you won't attract the Worm.

Until you do.

Hisako abruptly sinks downwards, looking down with momentary disbelief as her Armor'd boot is drawn downwards. She pulls against the sucking force - tips forwards -

The armor sinks down into the quicksand, giving Warren a brief look. There is a fraction of a second of hesitation now— because he is not quite, exactly, what he was — and perhaps that moment dooms things. She throws up her arm and grasps Warren's - but she is already below the hip line in the quicksand. It continues, swallowing her with peristaltic vigor and every sign of delight. "No!" she says, before she PULLS Warren down - pulls him against the sand, against that rough, coarse tension - against that material that gets evereywhere, that legacy which will be in time all that remains of Earth, if it is not spared. She pulls, in fact, harder than she has to.

Does she not want to die alone?

-=-=-=-

A black void.

"Uh," Hisako says.

The black void is faintly lit by red - the psychotronic effusion of Armor's psychic fields is a distinct color if she doesn't change it. It's not unique. Ask Psylocke. Ask many others.

It's still a surreal effect. Good for night vision.

"It's like being under the whole planet," Hisako says.

"Hi," she continues, feeling extremely uncomfortable because her chest is mashed up against Warren's at a twenty-degree angle.

For what happened is: She pulled him inside. There's air in the Armor, after all, more or less. Though it won't last. Then again, what does?

Hisako looks past Warren, feeling her face burn a little. She had a cheese omelet for breakfast with green onions and she regrets it right now. "I don't think we got turned around," she says, "so I'm going to go all out, like, the way your left wing is pointing. We're on a clock, right? One - two - "

-=-=-=-=-

k-THREE!!

The front of the dune that had had Hisako Ichiki in its back erupts forwards, moving upwards as a single secondary stomp into the sandfall throws the glittering red figure of Armor upwards, arching her back with her hands on the hips of the larger man in front of her. She continues to look over his shoulder as she turns around, rolling the armor onto its back and saying, "Okay!"

The air they got was impressive, and with Warren's wingspan extruding out of it, there is a lot of extra lift to be got.

"Fastball special!" Hisako says. She tries to push Warren up as the first step to getting the armor-proper's hands on him for a throw.

But that's two steps.

This wasn't practiced. But hey, that's what the Danger Room is for!

* * *

The lightning continues to strike whether from the ground up or the sky downward.

And while those electrical currents feather outward to try and strike at the four again, Cable slams that lightning rod into the ground. Once activiated it forcefully drags the lightning off course to be absorbed by the pole itself.

This allows for a little bit of breathing room for the team below.

Laura's question is a good one and if Cable has the ability to scan the area he'll find the answer is quite simple. The source is beneath the ground and it's something big.

As for Warren and Hisako, while down there within the sand's grip, all is indeed quiet. Only as the two struggle to free themselves do they possibly glimpse something odd - it almost look like rocks. Large sand colored rocks. Only as they near one of those 'rocks' something about it shifts and then moves, and two overly large bug-like eyes suddenly stare back at them.

And when the two burst out of the sand-trap something follows after them.

Actually, it's a lot of somethings.

Those evenly spaced divots suddenly explode outward with enough force to thrown sand *everywhere*.

The things that pop out can easily be described as 'creatures'. All of them stand upon two legs and look vaguely human shaped, however closer inspection will show they've all been merged with something else. Lizards, it looks like. Some have scales, while others have fangs and claws, while others look even more monsterous. Each carry rather archaic seeming weaponry in their hands - swords, knifes, spears - and every blade hums with an electrical charge.

The creatures take only a few seconds to get the lay of the land around them and then each pair up and attack.

Two jumps for Laura, their spears extended outward to stab.

Two jump for Cable, their swords ready to slice.

Four jump for Armor and Archangel as they burst from the sand and one set has spears while the others those swords.

For all, the clock in the sky continues to count swiftly downward. They've now burned through half their time.

* * *

Over his many years as an X-Man, Warren has trained a great deal in what used to be one of his main functions, because it was one of the few things he and his mutation were strictly good for — rapid extraction and repositioning of his fellow teammates. Now, with the physical enhancements of Archangel on top of that, it should be a trivial matter for him to grab hold of Hisako and haul her off like a particularly large, armored fish.

Except the sand is really tenacious.

His grip on Hisako's arm holds, but the rest of him stalls out, the winged mutant arresting in the air with a jerk and a furious beating of his pinions. The quicksand claws at them both. He strains, before with a certain grim realization, he eventually seems to give up and let Hisako pull him down with her. It might be an odd decision, viewed from a outsider's perspective, but the X-Men are first and foremost a team. You tend to know the capabilities of your teammates, and to trust their judgment regarding them when they do Odd Things.

Of course, that still doesn't stop Warren from giving Hisako a rather quizzical look, lit faintly by the red of her psychic armor fields.

Hi, she says.

"Hi yourself," Warren says back, with a wink, because he's mashed against her and he can't help his basic nature even after all the other things about him that have changed. Blushing activates his automatic impulse To Tease. Thankfully it stops there because she's nineteen and they have more pressing matters to worry about.

"I'm pretty sure that's the right way," he agrees, because he has the bird superpower of knowing which way is up. "Go for it." And she does, with an impressive explosion out of the sand dune that puts them both airborne, his wings open and catching even more air —

Fastball special! Hisako yells.

"Wait, that's a Loga — " Warren has time to say, before he is FLUNG. He does have the presence of mind to clutch the bomb-scouter Cable gave him so that it doesn't go off accidentally while he is thrown clear towards the front wall of the building. If the lizard people happen to be in his way on the way — and if they happen to be under Hisako when he drops her and her heavily-ARMORED form — well, so much the worse for them. He sweeps his wings forward to act as a drill through the stone, because after they get through the attacking lizard people, they still have to get into the building also, and he might as well make some progress on that.

"Nngh," is his comment on the entire ordeal, and on the extremely hostile developments from the divoted sand. Over the comms: "Lethal force authorized."

* * *

The roots of the lightning rod move as deep into the virtual sand as the environment allows. The impact upon the hardened 'floor' of the DANGER ROOM and begin to crawl across the surface as if seeking the Shi'ar technology beneath. Finding the edges of a floor plate their movement stops and microscopic tubules extend outward rooting the pole to the floor.

'Cable, source on the discharges.'

"Multi-Spacial fusebox," Cable's deep gravely voice comes across the comms, "Working on it."

The sand flies outward like water crashing against rocks. Bug creatures jump outward with slashing swords. The lightning rod crackles, its polarity reverses, jagged bolts of electricity arc into the creatures to no effect.

Cable depresses a trigger.

THOOOM

There's a burst and a creature is atomized in a flash of plasma. The second creature is thrown several meters aside. When it impacts the right-side of its body has melted into white-hot metal. The left-side scrambles erratically like a chicken without its head. Basically harmless.

Something in his brain *pings*.

Anchoring his cannon in one hand he pulls a futuristic sub-machine gun from the drop holster on his right side. It doubles in size once freed from its holster. He begins to lay down suppressing fire towards other creatures.

Concurrent with this he confirms the earlier signal he received.

The tendrils of his lightning rod begin to counter the electromagnetic signal of the fusebox. Attempting an overload.

"Tick-tock," he says brrrrt spraying charged shrapnel down-range but slowly making his way forward. He's not got the speed of the others. He's holding what he's got.

* * *

It takes a moment for Laura to haul herself up from where she finally rolls to a stop, and by then, a little army of… lizard men? Has risen from the sand. This earns a little bit of an eyeroll. Is it because it makes the whole simulation seem a little cheesy and sci-fi? Or is it a testament to the fact that they DO frequently end up fighting things this nonsensical?

The Jury's still out, there.

What is certain is that his is Laura's favorite part of these simulations, for obvious reasons. Things with weapons! Fighting! And they're not even terribly human-looking, so they're probably even Murder_OK. Maybe? She's really in the mood for some spontaneous intestinal surgery, here.

"Lethal force authorized."

Oh hell yeah.

So, as the young woman rises, she readies herself with the ever-satisfying and oh-so-familiar 'snikt,' even the twinge of pain that accompanies the emergence of her claws weirdly satisfying in its own way (yeah, yeah, /that's/ an issue for another day). But the adrenaline helps, post-jolt, to focus and clear her mind. And Laura smiles.

Then she's moving, like the little hellish murder-bot she was raised to be, swift yet strangely eratic, her slimmer, lighter frame always a far more acrobatic counterpart to 'dad'. All in all, it plays out in a couple seconds:

She charges #1, but then jukes at #2, barely avoiding #1's spear (rather than slicing it apart, which she'd do if it was a little less zap-y).

*snikt*

#2 thrusts, and she rolls under the weapon.

#1 starts to turn to follow, and its thighs slide off its shins, the motion revealing the fact that a toe-claw already cut its legs off at the knees as she switched directions.

Laura comes up in a burst of sand, claws slicing up through #2's body -the long way-.

#1's torso hits the ground.

By then, Laura is up and moving for what she expects will be Warren's hole.

* * *

HISAKO ICHIKI: WELCOME TO THE X-MEN. HOPE YOU SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE (the experience is being flirted at by Warren a little bit, as a treat)

"Is it true that you had like just, metal loops and coming out of the wall? I'm sorry I said ," Hisako half monologues as she stares dead ahead at the approaching building, dune, whatever - the wings swing around and Hisako is about to cry out 'you're gonna break them' until it is revealed that, right, duh, she thinks: Metal.

She lets go, presently.

The impact doesn't bug her. The fact that two lizard-people-things immediately rush her and start stabbing at her armpits does.

"What -" Hisako says, before she says, "Oh, right, duh, right," because their spears are digging inwards. One of them actually sinks in between some of the interlocking planes as Hisako gets back to her feet, and while the spear head does not reach her own, personal, mutant flesh, the point, so to speak, sinks in.

Hisako grabs that spear and hoists the lizard-beast up. It skree-onks in Hisako's face.

She twists at the hips and smashes it into its friend, then twists the other way and smashes it into the wall of the building hard enough to make the structure judder, however faintly.

"That felt weird," Hisako says, before discarding the spear and approaching the corner nearest to her to begin smashing at the structure. Not at a load bearing member, yet, she hopes.

* * *

"Oh, jeez!" Hisako says as she sees Laura coming through the rye (the rye is lizard people remnants)

* * *

Both Warren and Laura are like scythes felling wheat. The lizards have very little time to scramble, or even attack, before they find themselves in literal pieces.

Combine that with Cable's own rather flak-heavy attacks and the creatures begin to drop in startling numbers.

As for Hisako, the two that try to stabbity her find themselves bluntly dealt with and for now, everyone has a little bit of breathing room. Enough for Warren to break through the building, Laura to jump inside, and Hisako to begin smashing alongside as well.

That causes great rents to appear upon the walls of the buildings, as those cracks and tears branch outward from the force used by all.

That force is what causes one of the walls within to slough away, revealing something more to Warren and Laura. It reveals an opening and the opening itself is made of some kind of black material. Possibly some sort of metal. That opening leads into a hallway. A familiar hallway to one Warren Worthington the Third.

As for Cable's lightning rod, those tendrils burrow down towards where the energy can be located it. They burrow into the first layer of the machinery and attempts to short the fuses that control the lightning. Only it doesn't quite work. Oh, the lightning does lesson, but only as the SHIP below begins to awaken thanks to the thread nearby and above.

It awakens enough to send out countermeasures against the lightning rod. Spidery black filaments rise up from the buried celestial creature and enwrap the tendrils of the lightning rod, then it proceeds to try and absorb the technology into itself.

So that it can control it and use it as it needs to.

A different thrum now fills the air, the kind of sound that signals an awakening as the ground beneath all of them begins to tremble.

For Dani, she sits within the control room and simply watches, though every once in awhile she reaches to touch a screen, or a dial, but mostly she just keeps an eye on the team below.

* * *

Perhaps the flirt would have been more effective in his regular Angel form. Or maybe the effect is still about the same, because let's face it, Archangel is just 'him, except blue and with techno-organic armor all over the place.' "I'm really not going to dock you points or anything for cursing," he says frankly in reply to Hisako's apology, about two seconds before he drops her.

A moment later, he rips through the wall and into the building itself, creating QUITE the cratered opening for the others to jump through. Tick-tock, reminds Cable. "Yeah, let's move. Time's over half gone. The objective to destroy should be in here somewhere…" Warren says, before his voice trails off.

It trails off because he's noticing what it looks like within. And because he's noticing something else resonating through his blood, now, as a simulation of a certain Ship starts to move about below. Seems like they found their objective!

His talons twitch.

Archangel lifts his head, silvery eyes unfocused.

"That ship… kill it," is his singular opinion and order on the matter. His wings flare open, the bladed pinions rattling in triggered fury. A moment later, he's rocketing down the hallway, no doubt searching for a way down to confront that Celestial ship directly. If he can't find one, he seems liable to make one.

"Kill it!!" He probably needs a minute.

* * *

As the number of lizard creatures begin to thin Cable turns and starts towards the structure after his comrades. The enormous canon is pointed out in one direction out towards the desert its stock anchored against the shoulder of his ablative armor while his human hand directs the smaller SMG in the other direction as if prepared for a simultaneous attack from both fronts.

When he reaches the structure he lowers the smaller weapon which collapses in upon itself as he re-holsters it at his right-leg. Concurrent with this movement pouches upon his chest begin to open and objects which appear to be a hybrid of claymore mines and a Cuisinart 4-slice stainless steel toaster slide out into his waiting hand. A practiced movement arms three such devices which he sends outward to cover two-hundred and seventy degrees around the building.

The lights upon each flicker in unison as they sync to one another and connect with wifi controller in Cable's brain.

BELOW THE SAND, black tendrils begin to piece the housing where the stem meets the roots of the lightning rod. The moment its sensors detect a breach it uses the stored power to prime its fusion-core and the device SELF-DESTRUCTS as its drug towards the outer hull of the ship. The explosion fusing virtual sand to virtual glass as it rocks the outer hull of the vessel.

"Get us a way inside," Nathan says to everyone present, "I can overload the power plant." This ship and Graymalkin share similar designs, "I've got your backs."

* * *

Laura has no time to — apologize? reassure? whatever is socially appropriate — as Hisako reacts to her somewhat more extreme measures. Perhaps it is a topic for one of their later runs, or for sharing over french fries (it is not). With the timer running, she is focused on rapid infilitration. Indeed, there is something familiar about the whole exercise for her, in its focus on mechanical efficiency. Her /old/ missions were always timed, too.

But the need for ULTRAVIOLENCE has momentarily subsided, and inside, she resumes a stealthier profile as she stalks the strange halls in the Archangel's shadow. Here and there, she sniffs at the air, or experimentally scratches at the material with a still-extended pair of claws. It's really only when Warren suddenly stops talking, followed by the tremors that shake the corridor, that she gets back on the comm.

"Situation outside?"

Then, echoing back to Cable: "Point of ingress within compound, but structure likely exceeds its footprint."

Oh, then Warren bolts.

"Lead has a target. Behavior erratic. Moving to support."

And so she does, breaking into a full-out sprint behind him, ready to leap into whatever he's throwing himself at. 'Kill it,' after all, is the sort of order she specializes in.

* * *

* OOC Time: Sun Jan 26 20:23:42 2020 *

* * *

Hisako seemed more startled than anything. Her head gets back into the game just in time for the entire location to erupt. The building perishes, more or less, behind her, and Hisako turns her head upwards to see a hallway - no, a glimpse of something else.

A deeper thrum. A shaking ground.

Hisako takes in a deep breath and a target is designated. Twice!! She crouches down low as the field round her legs compacts slightly, the foot shapes sprouting blunt protruberances - impact focusing points. Perhaps Laura would feel flattered if she saw, but they're all busier.

Hisako makes momentary eye contact with Cable then, even as there is a heavy subterranian THUMP from the detonation beneath the ground level. Cable gets a thumbs up.

Then Hisako turns and drives down the hallway. It's too close here to do the leaping trick, and Laura is already in the lead. "Call out if you can't bust a door!" she calls ahead.

Though, Hisako thinks, Cable probably has bombs and stuff. Do I really need to jump kick a door? Yes I do, she decides.

* * *

Cable throws those primed mines outward to scatter upon the ground. The creatures pay little mind to them, as they focus their attention on the fact that the group is getting away.

A handful of creatures follow the four into the partially destroyed building. The rest of the creatures turn towards the sand and begin to furiously dig, before they disappear downward.

As the group traverses down the rather advanced seeming corridor it's likely clear to most that they're being followed. Hisses and growls and clatters of weaponry can be heard, but for now the team definitely has a head-start.

Which is likely a good thing, as the hallway soon turns into something more. It leads to an entranceway and the door already open. To those knowledgable of such things it's actually an airlock.

When they step through said airlock, the scenary goes from advanced tech to something … more.

The room itself is cavernous, with the walls and ceilings arcing high upward. The interior is primarily black with the floor, the walls and even the ceiling holding an almost chitinous quality.

Also to note, the tremors that were so easily felt before are less so here. There's barely a bump to the floor even as the lightning rod explodes against the exterior of the sand covered ship.

Lastly, once fully inside the room it's clear a decision must be made. At the opposite side of the room sits two distinct hallways - one to the left and one to the right. One likely to the power source and the other to god knows where.

The decision likely needs to be made soon for from above the ceiling begins to shift. Looking up they'll find the familiar shapes of the lizard creatures, only now instead of buff colored ones, these ones inside are much like the walls pitch-black, and it really won't take them too long to start dropping down upon them.

* * *

Warren needs a minute, and he's sure taking one.

Distantly, he hears Laura reporting dispassionately on his 'erratic' status, but the usual abashment that would come from being labeled 'somewhat compromised' on a mission… doesn't materialize in his head. There's only the urgency to find and destroy that Celestial ship that was such an integral part of the gross change which has overtaken his life. Like an angry, trapped bird he flaps rapidly down the corridor as it wends its way downwards towards the ship he can sense stirring, and the wide sweep of his bladed wings might make following too closely a little hazardous… though if anyone could survive an accidental swipe from those pinions, it's probably Laura, to be fair.

I can overload the power plant, Archangel registers Cable saying. That, too, is heard but temporarily filed away. Up until he's forced to stop as the corridor splits.

Braking midair, hovering with slow beats of his wings, Archangel looks between the two nondescript directions, his feathers rattling audibly in frustrated agitation. Especially when he glances up and notices they've been followed.

"No time to stay here fighting," he says eventually, his voice taut — but marginally more under control. He's trying to keep it together, though just being in here at all visibly freaks him out. "Cable — if you can tell which direction the power plant is, go that way. Take Armor. X-23 with me on the other side."

* * *

OUTSIDE, the mines scan the area. Points across their surface dilate to reveal tiny missiles which wait for creatures to pass into their zone of control. One set has already passed while the others have made it past them into the building. They continue to the guard the exterior of the structure nevertheless.

Sensing the pack behind them he does a quick mental check of the exterior building's integrity. A charge could level the building and potentially cut off their pursuers. It might also eliminate the only exit they know that they currently have and trying to move several tons of rubble from behind a door would be too time consuming for an emergency exit.

Shouldering his cannon he fires twice down the hallway THOOM THOOM and then enters the airlock with rest of them.

The stark change in environment has not notable effect upon mankind's savior. He looks left and then right. Pulling a hand-held device from his equipment harness it springs to life the moment it is detached. Without looking at its display he clips it down near the right-side of his waist.

Cable's left eye dilatates and glows a deep crimson color. He closes his right eye and seems to look around for a brief moment as the scanner begins to map the interior of the ship into a tiny map upon a visual display visible only to his field of vision, "Armor. We're going left."

He triggers something on his weapon *THUNK* its magazine falls upon the decking as he removes another from his bandolier and reloads. Pumping the weapon's fore-grip as he starts down the left passage.

"What's your plan, Angel?" Cable says his voice going to their communicators as he gets out of vocal range, "Whatever it is we're going to have to exit in a hurry once the core overloads."

* * *

Maneuvering the corridors, X-23 is quiet and focused, and no doubt hyper-alert, just tuned in on every strange sound and smell. Strange probably defines it very well, in fact, because the most obvious thing to her is how alien and unnatural every sensation is. Someone, somewhere, should get a lot of credit for the amount of programming they've done with the simulator, to give it such a degree of versimilitude and such a broad range of exotic sensory data.

When they enter the large chamber, she quickly looks up to the ceiling: the visual camouflage isn't enough to fool her, although with how many shapes there are, the discovery may be a little moot. Still, she has to stop beneath them as the others sort out their directions: if Cable says the power source is left, then that means she's going the other way as part of team 'sharp metal body accessories.'

Forward!

Only once they're moving, she offers: "We can expect that those things will pursue. I can probably hold them reasonably in a choke, if you find what you're looking for."

* * *

Armor nods once at Warren's assignment, looks towards Cable, and falls in with him. She bears left as the weapon is cycled, extending one arm out to grant an additional layer of HELLISH RED MUTANT SHELTER to Cable as he gets the gunnery ready.

Her eyes turn round. It's living. Organic. "Looks infested," she observes, before she tilts her head - as if tracking motion - and finally shouts, "Above!" once she's most of the way towards the lefthand door of fate and danger.

(mostly danger)

* * *

Warren brakes mid-air and begins to issue commands. With that hover of his several lizard's turn their attention to him and with obvious intent they drop downward towards the winged man.

While they have weapons strapped to their bodies, for now the lizards simply rely upon more natural weaponry; teeth and claw. Though it's unlikely they realize just what a big bite they're attempting to take.

Cable's gunfire behind the group heralds lizard death screams, as the foremost of those creatures find themselves taking the brunt of his attack.

However, when the team breaks off into two separate units - Cable and Armor to the left and Warren and Laura to the right - both tunnels look nearly identical. The only difference is how the tunnels slope. Cable and Armor's tunnel leans itself towards the 'down' direction. Obviously going deeper into the ship.

For Warren and Laura, their tunnel goes relatively straight and flat. They're moving more towards the command center of the ship. Towards the bridge.

Both teams will find themselves followed by the ship-lizards, as they scurry after the four. Most of the lizards scrabble along upon all fours, much like the animal they're patterened after. As they gather close enough the lizards try to randomly pounce at the four. Trying to snarl feet and ankles, to trip them up as best they can and pull them under, into the dozens of claws and teeth that follow them.

The clock can still be seen, shining brightly against the black walls. It continues to tick downward and shows the team only has ten minutes more before the session ends.

It's really now, or never, and for Cable and Armor they find their way blocked by a heavily sealed (and locked) door.

Much like Cable and Armor, Warren and Laura will likewise find a heavily armored door. It leads to the bridge and it too is locked.

Now the question possibly is what's behind both doors? The power source that needs to be destroyed? A command room that's empty, or one that possibly holds the leader of this particular vessel?

* * *

What's your plan, Angel? asks Cable.

"There's a Celestial ship down here," Warren says briefly. "Objective is total destruction. My expectation is, if you overload the power core you should be able to take it out. If it doesn't go down, we bug out and figure out a better way. Groups are split so I can extract X-23 and you can extract Armor, in a hurry."

His voice turns dry. "Open to suggestions on better plans. We're still in the very beginning stages of understanding all this at all… but this is what we saw in the other dimension, and it's what I expect to see in this one." A pause. "Maybe — "

That's about when he looks up and notices a few lizard-like attackers dropping from the ceiling towards him. He flips sideways in midair, wings raking to a perpendicular with the floor, and sort of — spins. The result is what one might expect of flesh falling onto a spinning array of blades.

"Come on," he says, afterwards, a flick of his wings shedding blood, before he races down the corridor.

Laura's offering draws a brief nod. "We're coming up on the bridge," he tells her. "And those things are following. I might well need you to hold the entry for a hot minute."

First, however, the door. Before, Warren would have been completely stymied.

Now? Archangel cleaves it clean in half with a shriek of his deadly-sharp wings. "Watch my six a sec?" he asks, as he plunges forward through the narrow opening.

* * *

Cable doesn't ask any more questions. The destruction of the ship was the primary objective. His question was rooted in the need to split-up the team given that the location of the core had been ascertained. What he wasn't certain of is whether Warren's order to split the party was born out of a tactical necessity given his recent experience with a similar vessel in this timeline or if it was an impulsive one rooted in the recent trauma of those same experiences. They can work that out later, because right now…lizards.

Cable toggles a firing-selector on his weapon. He moves backwards with slow-treading steps to keep his balance. The canon stutter-fires in three-round-bursts of super-heated gas. It's calmly directed from opponent to opponent vaporizing large portions of their foes as they approach.

One lizard jumps as he fires at another. He raises his biological hand and the creature hangs in the middle of the air helpless as he continues to fire at those around it. Then he terminates it.

"Can you pry that door open?" Cable asks armor as a rocket-pod detaches shifts from its position behind his left shoulder and fixes itself atop his right shoulder, "Or should we swap positions?"

A lizard is suddenly lifted from the floor and its head impacts the bulkhead with a meaty smack as Cable feeds a shaped charge into the under-barrel of his weapon.

* * *

Moving on all fours, the lizards catch up pretty fast, and as offered Laura turns back to face them. More advanced training aside, this is really the single thing she's BEST at: pure, unadulterated grissly violence, particularly against hordes of faceless minions, be lizard, robot, ninja (what?) or otherwise. With claws out but her arms folded in a little 'X' over her chest, like some sort of meditative pre-battle stance, she stands ready for the first of them to arrive, approaching on the floor, walls and ceiling simultaneously, like a wall of lizardflesh.

"Holding here."

The first two that come at her leap off the walls more or less at the same time, and die together as well, as she unleashes her coiled muscles and slashes outward in both directions. Four half-lizards land behind her.

One on the ceiling drops just a fraction later: she falls backward, then kip ups into its chest, hindclaws-first, landing on top of the now-impaled body as she brings her claws to bear on the nearest on the corridor floor.

Four down. But it's only one wave, of what seems like a never-ending supply.

She continues through the into another behind it, and then sidesteps one dropping from the ceiling, using gravity to let it bisect itself on an outstretched blade. But two on the walls keep scurrying: she kicks out to tag one, but doesn't have the reach to get the other, and has to pivot and leap onto it, driving her upper claws into its back.

Immediately one's on TOP of her, landing on her back and holding on with its claws. Well, three of its claws, with the other driving a spear into her back. In real life, it would probably have gone clear through her abdomen. The simulator instead 'penalizes' this with both an intense point-focused impact from its hard-light fields (causing some intense soft-tissue damage and bruising), and a subsequent powerful shock. It causes Laura's knees to buckle, but she nonetheless punches backward, estimating where it's skull should be.

That's… 9?

Now they start piling up on her as she staggers slightly under the weight of the corpse on her back. X-23 lashes out, but now it's getting hard to count.

* * *

Hisako cannot project herself as well as many can in this armored form. Hence the name. She's not Tank or Mobile Gunnery Platform, although she may well be Waist-High Hard Cover in the language of the Askani (it's curiously precise on these things… well… maybe not.) The clock haunts them. Haunts her!

"Is this what celestial ships are really like? I don't know anything about them," Hisako says as a lizard leaps towards her - she gives it an axe kick just in time to see Cable seize and levitate one, which is promptly executed.

"… are these lizard guys the Celestials?"

But then she's given a challenge. A door.

"Gimme a second," Hisako says. She surges forwards and contemplates the door for a heartbeat, and then she squats down and raises up both hands of the Armor proper. It is a pantomime stance; the fingers of the exoskeleton narrow down visibly, at least at the fingernails, and Hisako wiggles them forwards, scrabbling with some skitter-scitter sparks and finally getting purchase. "Hah - that's half the battle," she mutters.

And then the pantomime continues. Her back stiffens. She leans backwards. Her shoulders strain against invisible resistance. Her legs squat down lower as her eyes narrow. Sweat beads on her forehead; the athletic training costume hides most of the rest of it but it is not just on her forehead. She's being watched, she knows.

Judged, perhaps. Her jaw tightens.

The door strains - complains - locking mechanisms try to bite down, and succeed, twice, before narrowly missing the third time. The door is breached asunder, cracked a full meter open and held there as automatic mechanisms jerk inwards, trying a total of seven times in rapid succession to latch before SOMETHING stalls out. Cable may want to shoot it to be sure, but the way is open. The exoskeleton flickers like cheap neon, but just once, for a moment. "Fuuuuooooh," Hisako exhales, before looking back and dip-weaving her way forwards.

* * *

The lizards drop in droves.

Whether by gunfire, crushing telekinetics, or claws, their death screams echoing throughout the Ship.

Along with the noises of death comes something more. The shriek of tortured metal.

Warren's wings literally slice through the door and what opens before him is definitely the bridge of the ship, and empty.

It's clear that Ship is still mostly 'asleep', but slowly it's beginning to awaken as console after console begins to light up. Crystals flicker and holographic screens flash to life. One particular console begins to ping and the sound of that rapid staccato bounces around the room. A look at that console might shed some light onto what it exactly is.

It's searching for something and soon enough it finds it -

Apocalypse.

That's who it's found and while this scenario is just that, lights and holograms, it still points to the fact that the Master of this ship is somewhere here on Earth. Asleep and buried, but here.

For Armor, the door is opened and when the two can make it inside they're greeted by a pulsing throom within the room. The power core of this ship is like a contained super nova. It's cycling upward and while not at full power yet, it won't take long. It's best to set the charges and *run*.

And even with all that's been revealed those lizards are still making their presence known. Specifically for Laura, as they grapple with the feral mutant. One particular lizard goes so far as to try and bite her calf with a hiss, resorting to more primal behavior than some of its fellow soldiers.

* * *

If asked, Warren would have talked about concerns like covering all the bases: about ensuring there's a team to sweep the other direction, just in case the core overload doesn't work, or there's a high-value target down the other path, or there's some important intel to be had. …That, or Warren might just have been traumatized after years of Scott simulations where there was always another problem behind Door #2.

What he might not be as consciously aware of is that the trauma feeds into it too. Leaving something undelved here feels like anathema to him. It's an obsession, to some degree, an inability to leave any sort of stone unturned when it comes to this entity that so completely warped him. He can't be absolutely certain the core overload itself will work, he can't be certain there might not be more to destroy in other corners of this place, he can't be certain of anything anymore ever since his wings were ripped off and replaced with alien technology… and he can't quite leave it alone. He knows it's a simulation, and yet… he can't quite leave it alone.

Whether that is an issue is a topic for another day.

In the here and now, Archangel rips through the solid door and lunges through in order to find… a familiar sight. The bridge of the ship is a place he stood many times in his sojourn in that other dimension, awaiting orders from Apocalypse; he navigates it with a bleak familiarity, even — in fact — able to pinpoint the small inaccuracies that come of another person having designed the scenario. His eyes find the pinging console immediately, and he plunges towards it, studying it as it searches for the mutant who "mastered" it. Or perhaps merely partnered with it —

Warren studies, intently, the location it is indicating. It doesn't mean anything, in this simulation, but in a real scenario it would mean quite a lot. Once he's memorized the data, he slashes the entire thing in half with a wing, on the off-chance it's going to start to try to wake "Apocalypse" up next. Then, for good measure, he takes a circuit around the entire room, a dipped wing slicing through every console he can find on the way.

"Clear over here," he relays over the comms, as he turns and flies back immediately to help Laura cut her way out from under the lizards. "Killed the bridge. Let's set the charges and go."

And once the two lethal-metal-body-accessories mutants get a bit of breathing room, 'getting them out' is exactly what he's going to do. "I'm going to fly straight up, through and out," he warns Laura. He's been with his new wings a short time, but he's yet to find something he can't pierce with them. "Hold on."

* * *

"No," Cable says in terse response to the question, "Celestials are taller," he explains as if the only factor which separated deviant-lizard monsters from ancient beings who designed the amino-acid chains which would serve as the progenitors of life throughout the galaxy was a few inches.

The Askani'Son begins to move backward again, "Good work." He continues to fire his weapon until the backplate of his armor impacts upon the jar. Then he sidesteps along the door to the gap and turns to slip through the meter-wide hole ….

….but he gets stuck.

"Are you kidding me?!" Mankind's savior snarls with sudden, uncharacteristic, frustration as the ablative plate he wears overtop his frame is too wide to fit through the hole. Mechanical arm still holding the weapon outward he fires several shots as he tries to fit through except that the armor has no give. It's too wide. He's too much man for a meter-sized hole.

Using his free hand he works several latches upon the armor. Doffing it and tossing his cannon to the ground. Beneath the armor he wears a ballistic vest that is loaded armored inserts and adorned with pouches. Most importantly it's thinner and has a bit of give. Pulling an over-sized pistol from a holster at his chest he SQUEEZES through.

Moving through the room he goes for the quantum-core's control panel. The technology is similar to what powers his own ship. It takes only a few moments to begin a cascade overload.

"Team #2," because of course he's team-1, "Overload in progress."

* * *

"Glob gets that too," Hisako says in passing -

After this, though, she gets a few body lengths ahead of Cable to help wedge the door open an extra couple dozen centimeters on their way away. It's not gonna be sheltering them much - and NOW, Hisako lags a little, so she's bringing up the rear. Just in case they're a little too slow.

* * *

It's probably nice that the simulator keeps things on the mild side: In real life, the multi-lizard pileon with Laura somewhere at the bottom would rapidly become one seething mess of blood and flesh, a big bloody tootsie-pop with a vicious ball of hate and adamantium at the center. Even as it is, the woman can be heard beneath the pile, snarling through the pain, which the Danger Room is now dealing out essentially non-stop, probably now close to its max-settings as it repeatedly pounds her with those little stabs of simulated force and pain-zaps over and over. The bruises heal almost instantly, but she feels it all as she tries to claw her way out, digging through the bodies as still-living lizards try and drag her back down.

One even bites her leg.

They NEVER learn about the toe-blades, it seems. She turns her foot a little and…

*Snikt* blade pops out (and goes in), *snikt* the blade retracts. One less lizard.

Dozen to go?

Fortunately, she has a guardian angel, and suitably, hers is covered in sharp bits. Flying in and shearing off the top of the pile in one go, alive or dead alike, she's able to crawl up through an open gap, kicking downward a few last times at ones that might still be alive in there.

"I'm alright," she declares blandly, despite Moonstar overseeing a brief torture session beneath the pile. Then, she confirms his escape plan. "Sure."

But then she just stands there. Uh… where does she stand? Does she climb on? Does she hug him? Its awkward, so she lets him pick.

* * *

Warren notices Laura's hesitation and immediately diagnoses the issue. So he instantly goes for the bridal carry.

She may hate him for it, but they'll be moving at Mach something soon enough, so she won't have long to suffer.

* * *

Torture session or not, both teams manage to complete their respective objectives.

Warren destroys the bridge while Laura kills all those lizards, along with protecting his six.

Armor helps to push that door open so Cable can squeeze through the opening to plant those charges.

As both teams make it back to the surface there's a sudden muffled *KATHOOM* as the charges blow, and the ground heaves with the explosion.

The clock that ticked so furiously down pauses on the red number two. They had two seconds to go before the session ended and with their success the Danger Room begins to shimmer.

The sand disappears, as does the lizards, and the bodies, and the sky above. It reverts back to its normal facade; the white room, and with the program shutting down an automated voice suddenly speaks: Mission Successful.

Only after their success has been announced does Dani finally speak up, "Good job, team. Let's hit the showers and then reconvene when everyone's ready."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License