By Way of Kenai, Team 1
Roleplaying Log: By Way of Kenai, Team 1
IC Details

In the large effort to recover a batch of missing telepaths, an investigator, an empath, and a SHIELD agent do their part. (Conclusion for the plot Penny for Your Thoughts, Part 1)

Other Characters Referenced: Iron Man (Cameo), Trigon (Not by Name)
IC Date: July 23, 2019
IC Location: The Wilderness Outside Kenai, Alaska
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 25 Jul 2019 11:36
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (Violence)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: NPCs by Ursa
Associated Plots

On the outskirts of The Middle of Nowhere in Alaska where the nearest city is Kenai with a population of 7,000, it's just endless stretches of picturesque landscape—-expanses of summer-blooming wildflowers and a frigid blue lake and snow-capped mountains rising in the distance. There's no cell tower and no bodies for miles and miles and miles.

Well, perhaps that's not exactly true.

A little two bedroom lake lodge has been built here, complete with a wood burning fireplace, a woodstove, a few solar panels on the roof, and zero reliance upon a power grid that could be made unreliable by weather and distance. A woodshed is stocked to the brim with wood. There's a kennel, too, with a pack of Alaskan malamutes lazily napping in the sun in the yard and a sled hung from the exterior wall under a protective overhang. A beat-up pick up truck is parked in a small garage not far off, at the end of a dirt trail that dares to call itself an access road and is probably entirely lost in the winter snows.

The rippling, moonlight-drenched lake is only visibly marred by one man made feature, a wood dock that stretches far further out than the little motorboat tethered to it requires.

If not for what it hides, this would be an incredible retreat for an introvert.

But it does hide something, deep down. The dirt road up from the dock is a little too packed down. In the distance, in the treeline, a very subtle comms array.

Still, for now, there's only one man in view with a weathered and deeply tanned face sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigarette and whittling away at a carving as he rocks on a rocking chair. He's in a beat up tee shirt, a pair of raggedy jeans, and boots that look like they've seen twenty years if they've seen two.

Grey clouds rise from the chimney, but it doesn't smell like woodsmoke. It smells of diesel exhaust.

Two mere weeks ago, a warehouse was destroyed on the outskirts of Kenai.

One week ago, a number of Stark-controlled satellites moved into position far overhead, beyond the naked eye of mortal man.

Three days ago, Tony Stark had a private meeting in his still under-construction headquarters in Metropolis with one Jessica Jones and Warren Worthington.

Four hours ago, several parties departed the Eastern seaboard under cover of darkness on a direct route to this very set of coordinates.

Twenty minutes ago, a bunch of heroes broke into Alaskan air space.

Ten minutes ago, two stealth planes landed in the predawn dark.

Five minutes ago, Tony Stark's plan goes sideways because something wasn't on the reconnaissance images that he'd acquired. JARVIS's warning of the impending arrival of military grade drones and missiles prevents him from going down as he'd intended. Instead, they send him upwards after one final threat to Warren Worthington: "If you forget Emma, I know where you live." And then he promptly blows the cabin apart with a stray missile, nearly tearing apart a single elevator shaft in the process.

Right now, the skies look like they are on fire. It is also very loud-Very, very, very loud-as Tony does what he does so very well: serve as the living, breathing antithesis of the word 'subtlety'.

The first team in - this team - has one mission: to get down the shaft, and then onward to sweep the right side of a complex that looks like the arms of a gracefully twirling sea star to recover all victims possible.

Jessica Jones abandoned any notion that subtle was going to be the way things went down about…two weeks ago, about an hour before that warehouse got destroyed. She looks absolutely unsurprised as she watches Tony rain fire and hell down upon them.

"I really fucking hate Alaska," she mutters.

"Getting us down the shaft is easy enough," Jess says. "If you don't mind hitching a ride on, well. Me. Uly, are there any…I don't know. Internet of Things style sharks with laser beams on their heads that are going to try to incinerate us as we jump down there? Or are we good to assume that's a normal elevator shaft?"

Prior to his experiences in Kenai, Alaska, Ulysses Stephen Arngrim really had no exact opinion of places outside of the bustling New York, save that they looked nice from pictures. His feelings have since then twitched back and forth like a bouncing tuner needle looking for a clear frequency, and now that he's once again here, he comes to a decision, at least for this moment.

"Nature, my true enemy."

That's based only for the lack of any real access to technology or the things that more importantly, link up said technology. On the upside, that meant that any actual tech putting out some kind of signal, whether energy or otherwise, would be easier to track.

And then of course Tony Stark foregoes all manner of stealth and basically announces to anyone in the area that they are in for Trouble with a capital 'T'.

At least someone shares his sentiment. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent glances over at Jessica with a solemn nod, still holding a device that might look more like a sleek version of a P.K.E. meter in carbon black finish. He makes a few adjustments as he eyes the screen. "Mm….no death traps that I can detect, but pretty sure that would've just made it more complicated to install this thing for all the additional wiring and power…" He blinks and looks up again. "Er. Good. We should be good."

"…I was going to say I can take a look." A rasping voice speaks up, barely audible beyond the post-explosive noise level that's going on in the background.

Behind Jessica and Ulysses, Raven hovers, thoroughly unfazed by the entrance Stark makes for them as she looks down the shaft.

A Titan? Here? It's due to the fact she has loosely connected with one or two telepaths and helped Tony confront a guy in Kiev with Impulse. The other Titans had been informed as well, but she took it upon herself to lend a hand while the others were handling other business. Along with keeping her mind on the mission, she apparently can care less about the majestic natural beauty that is Alaska now that it's completely covered in a thick curtain of smoke.

The blank stare beneath the hood lifts to gaze at the others. "I'll offer again. I can take a look— "

Her words cut off abruptly as she almost folds in on herself, feeling like she's been gut-punched. A knot in her chest forms, tightening as she draws in a sharp breath, holding her head in her hands.

"…They're down there," she breathes, trying to concentrate on an unspoken mantra. "We need to work fast."

The man who had been on the front porch in the dark, perhaps, might have considered doing something about the wrong stray person or two, but he is clearly outclassed in this fight. Just before the whole thing goes up, he’s racing for the dog pen to set them free and then he’s racing for his truck to load them in.

He wants none of this.

Which is good, as that leaves the way clear for the first wave of our intrepid heroes.

No outward transmissions here, despite the comms array that sleeps in the shadow of the trees. No distress beacons. But there is definitely the thrum of energy, carefully woven through something deep below and drawing power from a commercial diesel generator hidden in the woodshed, exposed as a wall of said woodshed collapses under a sudden fall of missile shrapnel from overhead.

Look out for falling steel.

Dodging bits of falling steel and throwing her arms over her head, Jessica grimaces. She pauses to knock a few pieces away from them with her forearms.

"I like fast," Jess says. Raven's hovering, so she supposes the young lady can fly down there without help. She glances at the generator, briefly considering trying to find a way to shut it off. But she has no idea what it's powering, no idea whether they'd really regret turning that off later.

So she offers her arm out to Ulysses.

This is going to suck," she warns him. Nobody likes flying Air Jess.

But if he takes her up on it, well, he can get the benefit of the hop, jump, and leap Jessica takes all the way down the shaft, falling with style, so to speak. If that thing is more than twelve stories deep she supposes this would be a bad idea, but how many people dig twelve stories straight down?

"A look like wha—"

Raining debris in the form of metal, particularly, is an excellent conversation diverter. Ulysses is a lot less subtle than the other two by way of panic as chunks fall, and that's only after a yelp from the initial sound of the nearby collapse. Likewise he throws his arms over his head, not that he's built as tough as Jessica, but gut reflexes are gut reflex. He ducks too, if that helps any more.

"Fast. Fast is good. Not here in immediate danger of collateral damage, definite plus."

So long as nothing untoward is picked up on his radar, he has nothing to report. Adjusting his earbud as it had come loose with all his moving around, he glances at Jess and the arm offered. …oh screw it. He reaches out, if tentatively because he has no idea how this is going to work but he hardly wants to be the one slowing them down.

Of course, depending on method and how far they have to go down, he just may be a bit noisy. He'll try very hard not to scream in Jessica's ear at least.

Raven nods, partially out of habit since Jess is doing them all a favor in the shielding department at the moment. With all of the distractions going on, conjuring her own barriers will take some work.

The timing for the drop is almost planned; unladen, the Daughter of Darkness takes the plunge, diving down the stretch of rabbit hole like it's nothing. A quick glance is stolen over at how Ulysses is doing, however, being reminded of how Zatanna is usually screaming in Red Robin's ear whenever he uses the grappling hook.

There may have been a small smirk, but it disappears as she continues to refocus and center her own thoughts the deeper and closer they get to the bottom.

Luck is a lady to Jessica and Ulysses tonight. The plunge is not twelve stories down. Someone who's good at counting might be concerned when six comes and goes, but - all said and done - it's only about eight stories.

Luck is not as kind to Raven. She is the one among them who will feel it: the increasing weight, discomfort, and disorientation of a strong psi dampener. …of something else, dark and ominous.

At the bottom of the shaft, the expanse of the secret facility has the feel of an ant tunnel. One main room-double the width of an average corridor at best-splits off into five tunnels with a slight downward slant. One of the tunnels is very short, offering a glimpse to a cavernous warehouse full of crates. The rest curve, their destinations out of view.

Bright blue-white light slices its way out of long, thin LED strips that run vertically down the walls, far enough apart to only provide adequate overall lighting at best. Cable pipes run along the walls like veins, painted off-white to only just stand out from the sickly beige walls. Touch screens are found every 20 feet or so, wired but presently dark.

The air is frigid here, hovering at a perfect 68 degrees. It radiates from vents in the ceiling. The tiles, dark and speckled like granite, have an industrial smoothness with metal in place of grout.

It is deadly silent, save the whisper-soft ventilation system, the hum of something mechanical, and the reverberations of the continuing explosions overhead.

And then, the tunnels all hiss closed.

Jessica hits the ground tooth jarring hard, then sets Ulysses down. "Jesus, this really is deep as a building. Who the hell digs this deep? What the fuck kind of operation are these assholes running? This is Hydra-level shit."

All the same, she snorts lightly as the tunnels close, and turns to Raven. "Which one is the one we want?" she asks, seeing the closed tunnels as no great obstacle. That, at least, she knows how to deal with. But not having to figure out which one would be a boon in her opinion, for a whole host of reasons.

If he'd been awkward about hanging on to Jessica at the start, by the time they land, Ulysses is pretty clinging to the P.I. like a limpet. It's only when he feels her hold around him slacken that he works his own limbs at release. Also, he totally wasn't screaming like a girl.

Adjusting his glasses, he looks around at the room they find themselves in before consulting his detection device. The touch screens along the walls are what draw his curiosity, and he studies the place for where the wiring might all converge.

"Someone who doesn't want to be caught doing whatever the hell they're doing," he mutters, looking over at Jessica. He jumps with a gasp when the tunnels close. "Wherever we go, keep an eye out for anything that looks like it might access a computer system."

Just as Jess says that, a bundle of black cloak lands and kind of collapses next to her.

The pressure is indescribable. It rests upon her shoulders, slowly yet purposefully sinking down to crush her out of existence. It's cold — colder than the temperature of the corridors they're in now. And dark. Too dark.


Staying on her knees, Raven does her best to keep her wits about her. "I'm not sure," she answers weakly, the P.I. a constant blur along her line of sight. "Everything isn't so great down here…"

The agent, however, has the right idea if she's heard right. A quick glance toward the warehouse tunnel gives her another bout of vertigo, but she tries to shake it off. "…Try the closest way first?"

Closest one it is. Not the one with all the crates, but the next one that looked promising. Jessica walks up, takes a steady stance, and then does the predictable and not quiet thing. She attempts to punch the barrier between them and the rest of the tunnel out of the way, simply sparing absolutely none of her strength as she does so.

But then, quiet was kind of out the window around the time missiles got involved. Or maybe around the time Tony got involved. Or maybe two weeks ago.

Let's not forget two weeks ago.

"Knock, knock," Jess mutters.

Ahaha…two weeks ago. That. Had been a thing.

Ulysses looks at Raven, shifting to offer her a hand up. "Are…you okay?" He's guessing she's not, but then all the more reason to be concerned. And then his heart rate spikes up again as Jessica goes pounding through doors. "Is it too late to reconsider doing field missions?" he murmurs to no one in particular, even as he double-checks his gear.

Cautiously he follows after their human battering ram, trying not to be so twitchy about…everything.

Hesitation. The hand that hovers slowly finds Ulysses', clawed fingers curling to get a grip as Raven gets back onto her feet. "Not quite," she replies somewhat flippantly, maybe somewhere within the realm of mild sarcasm. "Here's a tip: stick with whatever you do for a living. Being an Empath is terrible." As her posture straightens, she continues to breathe evenly, letting her hand slip away once she's balanced. "On a more serious note: there's too much interference. I know they're here, but nothing feels right…"

As the door is ripped open it reveals the first corridor as it twists down, spiraling gently into a dim glow, and echoing the sound of the battering ram's talent for destruction. They can follow the corridor, and addition LED strips light up to offer additional illumination as they go. It's clear that so much of the energy usage, despite the massive generator above-ground has been intentionally throttled at every usage point to put as little strain on the system as possible.

At the bottom of the hall, walls spread for a wall not terribly large - only twenty feet or so by thirty. It feels smaller, perhaps on account of one set of deep drawers on one of longer walls that Jessica in particular might immediately recognize as morgue drawers. The other wall is lined with upright medical refrigerators. In between is a work counter with file drawers beneath it and an autoclave on top. The glass doors reveal numerous things: meticulously labeled vials of blood; prepared and labeled slides, prescription medications. Saline bags, antibiotics, narcotic pain killers, and medicines that a trained eye might know to be the kinds used for various levels of anesthesia.

The rest of the shelves are filled with all manner of standard hospital fare, gauze and pads and medical tubing.

Hard transport crates for moving test tubes - presently empty - are also stacked up in the corner, molded plastic exteriors bearing raised letters that read in a bold sans serif: ESSEX CORP.

Downside? Their quarry isn't here. Upside? Neither is a welcome committee.

"Ugh, Jesus Christ," Jessica mutters at the ward. She shoots Raven a look of worry as she mentions the trouble she's having.

Then she takes a deep breath and starts opening morgue doors one by one. If one of the kids she's looking for is dead, and in here, then it's her responsibility to find that body, too.

And you can bet she'll be looking into Essex Corp later.

"They must really be 100% focused on what's going on above," Jess notes, as she pulls drawer after drawer with a highly unhappy look on her face.

"I've been sticking to and look where it's got me." His lips twitch in what might have been an attempt at a smile. Empath, huh? That explains a lot, and only cements the concern there.

No need to ask who wants to go down the creepy tunnel first, at least. Ulysses is quite fine with being after Jessica, his eyes trailing towards the walls that flank them, or more notably the drawers ahead. While Jessica goes to investigate those, he starts towards the refrigerators, pausing where the files are. With a frown, he tucks his handheld into a holster on his thigh, grabbing a digital imager from a pocket to take some quick pictures before he has a look at the contents of the filing cabinets.

"My bad feelings have bad feelings about this…"

Ulysses' attempt at a smile is understandable, at least. What he says also explains a lot about how's he's come to be placed in the situation he finds himself in.

That all dissipates once Raven also follows behind them, leaving her to stare silently at their surroundings.

"…Hopefully they are," she whispers in regards to Jess' comment. Ulysses has a good point, but they need the time. She's tempted to astral-project and let her soul self fly down the other paths, but she's uncertain about its success when the conditions have been wreaking havoc on her senses.

The drawers aren't entirely empty, Jessica will quickly find. But they aren't a Webber or an Ortiz or a Frost. They're people with shaved heads and faces that Jessica won't recognize. An old woman. A boy of maybe sixteen and another male in his twenties, maybe. Two of them - the woman and the boy - have their skull caps sitting beside their ash-grey cheeks. The contents that should be inside said skulls? Conspicuously absent.

It's only the three bodies, but there's room for so many more.

The filing cabinets are half-filled with notes. Meticulous medical records with ID numbers instead of names — folders filled with brain scans and genetic maps. Technical schematics.

Fury sparks in Jessica's eyes. She takes pictures of each of the…she can't afford to bring them out, but somewhere they probably have people who would give a shit. She takes a moment to inhale a breath and close each of their eyes, sadness swirling with that fury in a maelstorm.

She carefully closes the drawers next, and washes her hands, vigorously, as if she could somehow wash off the clinging film of, not whatever their corpses might be carrying, but just the sticky film of all the wasted potential and opportunities these senseless murders represent to her.

Seeing the others have picked up evidence, she says, "Let's move on," and starts towards the mouth of the tunnel so they can pick the next one over.

Ulysses grumbles at the lack of computer files; it would have been much easier to get copies of everything and he or someone else could peruse at their leisure. As it stands, he's not so eager to read too much of the content he's come across, but he takes a few more images and quick scans as sample, frown deepening with each folder he pulls out to flip through.

It was a mistake to glance back where Jessica searches, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent catching a glimpse of the remains within one of the drawers she pulls. He quickly turns his attention back to the hardcopies he's found, looking for any names that might stand out before closing things up and once again following Jessica's lead once she suggests they move onward.

If Raven senses Jess' barometric shift in emotions, she says nothing of it; within the lull following the tension, there's nothing to add. Not at the moment. Just a brief closing of her eyes in order to let the after images of what she sees pass.

When they begin to move again, she trails after the P.I. and the Agent like a shadow.

As Jess abandons the room and moves back up to the hub with the other two in tow, they will find they still do so unhindered. One of the other doors has been opened, on the other side, so perhaps that means that Team 2 has gotten in and begun their work. There's sound coming from that way.

But, there was a plan. And, assuming Jess sticks to it, there's still the other tunnel that is wholly their responsibility. A new door to heave open. A new risk to descend and meet, with little LEDs brightening with each section they move into.

The feeling is different here, like the feeling of being watched. And then the walls of that tunnel spread open, too, to something far bigger.

It's a large room with a low ceiling, ash grey concrete floors and walls that seem inspired by brutalist architecture, and terribly plain steel bars with mundane locks. There are twenty small cells, only half of which are presently occupied. The light is dim, the LED strips mostly framing the barred openings of the cells. There are maximum security penitentiaries with cheerier decor.

The occupants are young men and women in their late teens and early twenties, save one woman here who looks to be in her fifties and a man who is maybe in his forties. Of those who occupy the space, most of them are laid out on the spartan steel slabs that have been suspended from the walls to serve as benches and beds. Some sit upon the floor by the bars. One girl lies in the middle of the tiny floor of her cell, her face against the freezing cold floor and curled around a pink plastic hospital bucket where she's been throwing up and crying. Everyone but the older woman is awake, but lethargic and disoriented. Their arms and necks are covered in bruises of varying states of forming and healing. Bruises from needles. From restraints. From rough handling. The circles under their eyes are large and dark.

Welcome to another chapter of the horror show.

The weight of the psi dampener is strongest here, to the point that - were Raven any more pure a telepath or stronger an empath - it might make thinking at all difficult, much less utilizing any psychic ability. It's not hard to imagine that lesser psychics would find it impossible to punch through it, as well as the thick rock above, in search of help.

Unfortunately, here, the heroes are not alone. A dozen armed guards in plain black street clothes have been waiting in defensive position, and automatic weapons begin firing as soon as anything emerges from the winding corridor.

Jessica has little time to react to the horror show. Not with gunfire pinging their way. She immediately puts the door up like a shield, trying to keep Raven and Uly covered. She lets out a steady stream of curses, just trying to hold off bullets for the time being. From this angle she doesn't exactly have anything clever she can do; throwing the door would only take out a few.

"I hope you guys have ideas," she says grimly. "Because other than the spare pea shooter holstered under my jacket, I got fuck-all."

Her mouth is set into a grim line as she looks about wildly, just to see if any bright ideas leap out at her from the grim surroundings.

Spoiler alert: they don't.

That feeling? He hates that feeling. And as they move further along, and perhaps also the fact that there are sounds coming from another way, Ulysses eases out the ICER pistol he carries from his shoulder holster beneath his jacket. It only makes him feel slightly better, and at the very least he knows he carries it with Agent Coulson's blessing. Or…something like that. Not that he's a bad shot! He's just not really had a chance to use one under such circumstances.

He catches only a glimpse of what the large room ahead of them holds, although it's enough to remind him of what exactly he's doing here with these people. Drawing a breath between clenched teeth, he is just glad that Jessica has quicker reflexes than he does as he flinches with the barrage of weapons firing in their direction.

"I dunno if cutting the lights will give us any more of an advantage. They've got us pinned here—" he offers, chancing a look around Jessica's makeshift cover to see if he can snap off a few shots. "Ghost-stepping would really be useful right now…"

Raven doesn't get to take in the second hall of horror as well as she did the first one. Again she's hit with that feeling, the invisible weight that threatens to crush. Seething, the Empath hunches forward, taking on the force of the psi dampener with the burden of the telepathic collective, flinching the second they're fired upon by the guards watching the area.

She should be dead. She realizes this only after continuing to hear the hail of bullets bouncing off of the walls and the door that is (and used to be) their cover.

A gulp of air forces down a bout of sickness rising in the pit of her stomach. She's stronger than this, she thinks, or at least she can do better. If she can go up against demons, then she can help Jess and Ulysses survive gunfire. "Hold on…"

Setting her jaw, Raven rolls her shoulders back. Clawed hands lift, trembling despite the sheer amount of concentration she puts into her gestures. Under the hood, blank eyes brighten, lips parting as whispered words resonate in the air.

"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"

All of her effort is put into the darkness that climbs up from the floor, shadows stretching to create a temporary shield for the three. Portions of the black suddenly turn blob-like, crashing down toward some of the guards to wrap around them completely to make them stop.

That makes Ulysses blink. "…that works too."

As the darkness rises, spreads, manifests

Raven will feel an uncomfortable twist.

The room will — for everyone — feel as though the LEDS shine less brightly. Energy drawn elsewhere. And maybe it is. Maybe whatever Team 2 is up to is pulling hard on that diesel generator above.

Guards scream as the blob wipes out the left flank in a single inky movement and wraps them entirely and renders them silent.

The gunfire becomes less consistent for a moment after that, and then renews in earnest.

The few telepaths in the nearest cells turn their eyes in the direction of the commotion and then slowly dragging themselves away from the cell bars to try to take cover. All except one, one of the females in the sea of unfamiliar faces, that closes her eyes.

One of the guards shoots the man beside him in the leg soon after. Without room for so much as a breath, return fire comes and the wounded guard shoots the man who shot him. Except that he shoots him dead.

That telepath still at the bars, sinks her hands into dark hair and curls up into a ball.

Now Jessica thinks probably throwing the door is effective enough to bother with. So she does. Then she rips the cell door off from the cell where Helpful Telepath is, and flings that at them too. She doesn't expect that to be enough, but she does figure…

"You two keep them pinned down, I'll get these guys outta here."

She suits words to action by ripping off another cell door.

And if having spotted that someone just used the hated, dreaded mind control to help save their bacon and defend themselves has an effect on her (and most assuredly, it does) she nevertheless keeps at it. Her hands are shaking as she does, but she keeps at it.

"Come on, guys," she barks to the captives. "Time to check out of this shit hotel."

The power fluctuation that manifests in the lights above has Ulysses glancing upwards. He's quickly trying to pick his targets as he seizes the moment of distraction, from both the lighting and Raven's…whatever it is she just did. People can say all they want, metas are cool.

And then as return fire is renewed, the agent curses and ducks back behind cover, thankful for Raven's additional shield seeing as how Jessica uses her's as an abrupt projectile. The uneasy laugh that escapes Ulysses in response to Jessica's words probably isn't all that reassuring, but at least it looks like the agent means to do his best on that part.

As the P.I. moves in to help the captives, Ulysses takes aim as well as he can under pressure. There's a moment where he balks, seeing as someone falls dead when he hadn't been aiming at all. He quickly puts together what's happened, but figures he still needs to keep things up on his end all the same.

Then he can freak out later, granted they survive this.

Silent, but not dead. Unconscious is what Raven goes for, sticking with Red Robin's Titan protocol even when he's not present. And if she can continue doing that, it would be great on their end.

Right at the end of taking care of most of the first wave, she feels that twinge, feels the wrongness that seems to seep under her pale skin.

There are guards falling dead. They aren't the ones she handled.

Blank eyes search for the source, albeit briefly, only to flicker back toward the next round of guards that begin another round of shooting. Her focus strains, but she means to keep the dark barrier up for as long as possible, making sure that the Agent has enough cover while the P.I. does her thing in freeing the captives.

There are iron bars flying now, and that makes no small amount of noise. It reverberates loudly through the chamber, mingles with screams, sobbing, and gun fire.

But Jess barks a rallying cry, and some start trying to comply. They're unsteady, but they're trying. Eventually, she'll come to one of those cells and see a young college kid from Queens on the other side of the bars staring back at her, looking worse for wear but still very much alive.

There are fewer guns firing now than there were, but there are still some active. One of them in particular plows a line along the concrete towards Jess's feet. Another hits one of the touch panels, sending half the room into total darkness.

The room is so dark and so oppressive in that moment, and there's so much going on. It might be hard to notice a massive shadow in the far corner of the room where it is so dark that the black seems to consume itself in a roiling cloud. And in the center of that darkness, six eye-shaped slits glow golden. They blink, and then the shadow is gone.


Jessica jones lets out a yelp. Starkweave saves her ass, but like any bulletproof item, it doesn't keep the impact from knocking her on her ass.

And despite the very sick feeling, the fear she has over watching mind control in action from one of them, she can't help but grin a little.

"Hey, Liliana. Your parents will be real glad to see you," she says. "After we…"

Well, now the seeing isn't going so well. But she sure enough remembers the line the goddamn gun fire came from. She leaps, tries to get behind him, and then tries to just grab him by the scruff of the neck to slam his head into the nearest wall.

She definitely misses the Six Eyed WTF over there.

The ICER's rounds aren't lethal but they're meant to incapacitate. It also kind of makes Ulysses feel a little better about shooting people if he knows he's not outright killing them. Of course he does kind of resent the fact that the opposite does not hold true for those firing at them.

"Come on people!" he calls out, just before yelping as he ducks back behind Raven's shadowy shield. He groans as the lights flicker out on one end of the room, and for a moment he has to squint. Maybe he's just playing too many video games. There's no such thing as Fallen and he's got no flaming knives to throw at people…

"I sure hope there's another way out. Or some stairs…" He hunkers back to swap out cartridges before he looks outwards again. There's Jess playing the hero. So he should probably concentrate on keeping whoever's left of the armed gunsmen off of the escaping.

The telepaths, they're moving. Moving is good. Better than standing around and staying frozen in one place.

Raven can hold out a little longer. She can help them get out by opening up another portal or two to shorten the distance between the current danger zone and an extraction point.

She suddenly feels cold. Unfortunately, it isn't the room's temperature being the determining factor in this sense.

Surely her eyes are playing tricks on her. Because partial darkness can make the lights dance and cause some degree of hallucination.

Except the blackness in the space furthest from them blinks. Like eyes.

All six of them.

The shield wavers as the Empath stares almost wide-eyed across the way, obviously not all there until someone's head gets slammed into a wall. Ulysses' shout and the need for an exit snap her back into the present, clawed hands flexing to carry out the plan. "I-I got it," she stammers. "Get ready to leave…now!"

As soon as she says this, she drops the shield, summoning two portals so that everyone within range can escape. "Go!"

As the dark-haired Liliana hears her name, hears talk of her family, there's an uncertainty in her expression that is hard to get to the bottom of in the split-second that Jess has to observe it before racing off to go and smash one of her captor's heads into a wall.

Because it is definitely going into one of the walls.

Liliana gets to her feet and then goes into another one of the cells to try to help one of the worse off victims off of her bed and onto her feet. There are similar partnerships as two guys move to heft up the girl who can't stop retching and drag her towards the nearest portal. They don't know where it's going, but wherever it is has to be better than here. The problem is that most of them have issues traveling in a straight line, and none of them are swift. Some are faster than other, sure, but none of them are steady.

In the target rich environment, Ulysses will find that two of his shots actually land and drop the defending team.

"I love portals," Jessica says, even as she drops the guard like a chastised puppy. But she hisses when she sees the wounded captives having trouble.

Well. She has definitely done grab and get 'em out before, and she turns her full attention to that now, darting between them, wrapping arms around waists, and leaping them through the portal before returning for more. The fact that Liliana hesitated bothers her, worries her, but then there's nothing about this whole goddamn situation that isn't real goddamn worrisome, so she just keeps doing what she's doing.

"You guys are fantastic," she calls back to Raven and Ulysses, because damned if both of them aren't looking as harried as shit, and she figures they can use some encouragement.

Besides, they freaking are.

"Oh, cool." What can't this girl do?

Ulysses watches as people make for Raven's insta-escape, and he can't help but pump a fist briefly as he takes down a couple of the remaining guards.

He seconds Jessica's thoughts on portals, and as she continues to herd and assist people to their shadowy exit, the agent moves closer to where Raven is. She was sounding shakier than earlier, and if she has to keep these things up then he's going to cover her as well as he can until everyone's through and they can beat it as well. Jessica's encouraging words are appreciated at least, because he's running purely on adrenaline at this point.

You guys are fantastic

Funny how a few words can boost morale. It's a simple gesture, but Raven is reminded of the Titans and how they tend to throw out quips whenever they're working together. It's the caring part that helps the most; although she could have tried moving the portals, she sees that Jess is already kicking things into double-time. And she's grateful she's doing so.

Also, it's good that Ulysses has moved in to keep an eye on her because she really is trying to hold out until everyone has gone through. It may not be a good move on her part, but adrenaline is probably the reason why she's still doing this.

Many hands make light work. Can the same be also said for executing rescue plans? Eventually, despite another few rounds hitting the air as the first team retreats, it's done. No one left behind.

All's well that ends well… right?

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