By Way of Kenai, Team 2
Roleplaying Log: By Way of Kenai, Team 2
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

In the large effort to recover a batch of missing telepaths, the X-Men, a butler, and two thieves do their part. (Conclusion for the plot Penny for Your Thoughts, Part 2)

Other Characters Referenced: Iron Man (Cameo), Mister Sinister (Unnamed Cameo)
IC Date: July 23, 2019
IC Location: The Wilderness Outside Kenai, Alaska
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 25 Jul 2019 11:48
Rating & Warnings: R (Violence)
NPC & GM Credits: The Nasty Boys (Ruckus, Slab, Gorgeous George, and Hairbag), 2 Unethical Doctors, and Telepaths. Hairbag shared by Ursa and Wolverine, all others 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, 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 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 exploded on the outskirts of Kenai, Alaska.

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 blue prints. 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 disappeared down the ravaged elevator shaft two minutes ago with Raven of the Titans gracefully descending, Jessica falling "with style", and with Ulysses Arngrim of SHIELD clinging to Jessica and not screaming like a prepubescent. Really. Not at all like one.

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


The matter of the missing telepaths is a situation the X-Men have been pursuing for some time, though only now has a location been pinpointed. Perhaps those responsible spent so much time preparing against the obvious teams of mutant vigilantes that would come after them, that they failed to account for the interest of Tony Stark and his many watchful satellites — satellites which have nailed down a remote spot in Alaska.

Warren's meeting with Stark and Jones days ago had resulted in a game plan. Upon his return, the winged man had contacted all X-personnel available for a rescue mission out to 'nowhere, Alaska.' At the least, it's not going to be difficult for them to deploy out there; they're taking the Blackbird for this one.

Perhaps predictably, it's Warren doing the flying. He likes to take any chance to do so; he's got plenty of types of personal aircraft to play with to indulge his interests, but few are quite as tricked-out as the X-Jet. Most aircraft available to civilians doesn't have alien tech involved, after all.

"We picked up a hidden comms array out there, so there's more than meets the eye," is his last-minute debriefing as they close in on the coordinates. "So we're going to set down a few miles out, go in quiet to start." Best-laid plans.

Of course, plans never work out as people intend them to. When the night sky lights up suddenly with military drones and missiles, a louder affair and a team split-up naturally becomes necessary. Tony's the best-equipped to deal with the missiles and such, so up Tony goes, but not without a most singular warning for his friend.

"I'm wounded," was Warren's response. "I would never forget Emma."

Warren regards Tony as the other man jets up into the sky and leaves earshot. "…on purpose."

A pause. To the others with him: "No, seriously. This is a rescue and shutdown mission. Everyone gets saved, and this operation gets taken down."

He opens his wings, testing the air, before leaping into a hover over the dark elevator shaft which is their route in, peering downward. "Anyone need a lift down from me, speak now or hold your peace."


The Canadian mutant known as Wolverine had been keeping to himself in the X-Jet, quietly extending and retracting a blade now and again for some reason, expression distant and grim though that likely didn't surprise anyone. He had nodded at the comments made once they had hit the dirt and had spread out. But then when the night awoke with madness and explosions he had made his way towards the shaft timed with the arrival of the others.

Standing there opposite Warren, he leaned over and looked down the dark shaft, then at Worthington, then back down at the shaft. A small grunt is given, "M'good." He says and then leaps into the elevator shaft. In the darkness there's a faint spark as his blade catches the side of the shaft to slow his descent then he continues downwards.


Alaska. -Alaska?!- What in the name of all that is—

At least it isn't Florida.

Domino hasn't been fighting in such cold climates in a very long time but her skin happens to be perfect natural camouflage..even if most of it is covered against the chill. The weather isn't going to be enough to slow her down, however. This here is gearing up to be some -proper- combat! Except for that silly bit about being told once again not to kill people. Sigh. But still, it's going to be fun! She's still getting paid! And it's not in freaking Florida!

Then there's the dark elevator shaft. And Warren's offer.

"Yeah, screw that. I'm off the Worthaton Air VIP List for a -good- long while."

Because last time he dropped her off of a building. It had been more fun for one of them than it had been for the other.

Logan's trip into Hell is met with a bit of a stare. "Gee, thanks for ruining it for the rest of us," she says to no one in particular. Then it's a simple matter of hooking up a rappelling line to the edge and quickly sliding on down after the crazy Caknucklehead.

He'd better save some targets for the rest of the team down there…


Whatever Alison Blaire's past relationship with Emma Frost (it's not great,) or the Hellfire Club (yeah no), here she is on rescue duty: suited up, hair up, guard up.

There are obligations of the X-Men that transcend well beyond personal vendettas, and even if Professor Xavier is MIA, she knows well his values must remain staid, concrete, and resolute: no one mutant ever gets left beyond.

No matter what she's done.

No matter with whom she's willingly allied herself.

No matter what corseted abomination she wears.

Dressed in her blue bodysuit, its only swath of colour the starlight emblem razed across its jacketed back (she will attest she didn't copy Captain Marvel; Captain Marvel copied her), the ex-Dazzler tilts a long look down that darkened shaft. As much as she'd love to test flying for herself — it's still in Theoretical Stage — she slants Warren an appreciative look. "Hook me up —"

Logan just goes for it. Alison chases his descent with a flattened look. Domino's refusal is the only thing to break her focus, wherein the ex-singer gives her eyes a theatrical roll.

She swivels one wrist, and her gloved hand lights up, casting dim illumination on the descent down. The other hand reaches for Warren.


Psylocke has been quiet on the flight, perhaps even disturbingly so. Purple hair is braided back tightly, the outfit close fitting in a ninja style. There's a real katana strapped to her back for a change, as she steps up to the edge of the shaft.

Violet eyes will glance up at Warren, lips tugging in a smirk. "I think we both know I don't need a lift." She will just step off the edge to drop down. She will use her telekinesis to make herself slow and not go splat.


Dani doesn't often need help getting to where she needs to go, but even Brightwind has trouble keeping up with the jet planes. As such, Dani finds herself flying to Alaska in the more conventional route, in the Blackbird.

And while the best-laid plans don't necessarily hold up, that doesn't stop the team from doing what they do best! Jumping into the unknown -

But before Dani jumps into that unknown there's the smallest of small sighs from the Cheyenne. Maybe even a muttered 'inside voice' for a certain winged-someone, but for Dani she doesn't push too hard on those two little words Warren added at the end of his response concerning Emma and forgetfulness. Not when she silently agrees with it.

Much like Wolverine, Dani glances down the elevator shaft and says, "Meet you down there."

Unlike Wolverine, however, Dani's route downward is a little less claw and more like Domino's. An Arrow is secured into the ground, grapple line dropped and a quick repel downward.


There were meetings and plans and feats of technological and mutant marvel. But, there is one individual who arrives. No special uniform. No special technology. He is here for one reason and one reason only.

Emma Wrangling. - The Art of Making Sure She Gets her Wine, Comfortable Shoes, Some nice soup, and her good bathrobe.

That is what Emery Papsworth is here for, Professional Butler and Certified Personal Assistant. He made a promise to a fellow personal assistant to bring the boss back, and by gosh as a butler this is his reasonable duty. He knows absolutely nobody here, and to most he just looks like a slender and fit man wearing black tactical pants, combat boots, a black pea coat, two swords strapped to his back, fingerless gloves, a black beanie and a black bandana covering his nose and mouth, leaving only his eyes free. And he just kneels near the newly created entrance, carefully setting down a duffel bag and just watching the superheroes make their descent with classic flourish. He cups his hands ever so slightly and lights up a cigarette. He is getting too old for this sh*t.

…but he can feel the Angel within start to stretch its wings. "So now we're playing /feckin/ rambo…" He watches Dani pass him by and just exhales a cloud of smoke. "Oh, hello Emery, didn't see ye there. Oh hello Mistress Dani, how are you this fine day.." He takes another drag off of the cigarette, and waits his turn.

And then something dawns on him as he gapes after the woman. "Oi! Who the hell is watching the little princess?!'"


It's not a small drop. It's eighty feet down, sunk beneath rock. Those with any psychic ability will feel it grow more oppressive, however, as they descend… the increasing weight, discomfort, and disorientation of a strong psi dampener.

At the bottom of the shaft, the expanse of the secret facility has the feel of an ant tunnel. This room (if one can call it that) is double the width of an average corridor at best and—according to the images Tony's satellites managed—splits off into five tunnels with a slight downward slant. One of the tunnels is very short, leading to a cavernous room. 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 seems that all of the tunnels have been sealed shut with heavy steel plates, but now one has been forced open. Presumably by the first team. But it's quiet. No sound of a fight.


The general refusals all around from the team draw a bland smile out on Warren's lovely features, one which sharpens into a smirk in particular at Domino's particular reasons for declining. He takes Alison's hand — the only taker for his services — boosting her up into his arms. "Nobody else trusts me anymore," he complains, as he performs a quick turn in the air and angles straight downwards, diving down the elevator shaft with Alison's cast light to show him the way. "Can't imagine why."

They've all got conventional communicators, but as Warren spears downwards, he does request over the comms, "Psi-link, please, Psylocke." It's faster, and more reliable in case they get separated. Not being psionically sensitive, he's unaware of the dampening…

Most birds might have trouble flying in such enclosed places, but Warren has been training to do so for many years. He navigates to the ground without a hitch, likely before the rappellers make it all the way down. Placing Alison down, he starts looking around immediately, though his eyes lose some of their intense long-range advantage when in such close quarters as these.

"Let's go," he says, when everyone's present and accounted for. He turns towards the shortest tunnel, apparently inclined to sweep the closest room first. "Anyone getting a read on anything yet?"


"Ready, Feathers." Logan's rumbly voice comes across the comm frequency as he lands silently at the bottom of that elevator shaft. His descent had been quick, marked at points by small sparks, but not recklessly executed. He lands in a crouch with adamantium blades at the ready, turning his head for a quick scan of the surroundings.
"We got one point of ingress, and then the rest are sealed. Could prolly get em open but it'll be loud." He steps towards one of the closed off tunnels and runs a fingertip over the steel plates, the blades withdrawing slowly with a quiet /snakt/ as they disappear.
His nostrils flare and he frowns, "I don't like the feela this. I should be gettin' somethin' from the other team."
That said he moves after Warren, bringing up the rear for now.


For the woman known as Tessa, this has been… maddening.

But the complications, the nuances, the asides, the struggles, the dismays, all these things are set aside in her mind. What she has found is this place, and it is here that the woman called Tessa was stymied, because while she had the perimeter of the place - she could go no further.

And so it is that Tessa engaged in four days of no-fire camping in the middle of a nearby copse of brush. It was relaxing, really, and refreshing to get away from things, although she has an abstract decay rate in her head for the things she is neglecting to be here. Nonetheless, sometimes you just have to be on the scene.

Even so. It was good in its turn to see the signs of intrusion. She was running low on clean underwear. Though, Tessa thinks as she withdraws herself from her refrigerator-sized nook in the brush and slides into her tactical suit. Pinning her hair up again and fishing a twig out of it takes some time, but Tessa reasons that she should give the X-Men plenty of time to make their headway within.

(Of course it's the X-Men. She saw Warren.)

Tessa takes even longer to come round the elevator shaft from the opposite end from whence the X-Men parked. Silently she inventories the possibilities of how to extract from here. Perhaps the delivery drone will get to serve secondary purpose, but the situation is still extremely fluid. She crawls up to the opened shaft, affixes a line, and begins to descend.

Gradually.

The psi damper makes her frown as she enters its zone of effect. Well, she tells herself: Don't be surprised.


Yeah, so maybe Dom can find her own way down post-snarky commentary toward the Winged One, buuut she's probably going to need to bum a ride from Warren on their return trip. Hopefully he didn't take it (too) personally.

Getting to the bottom of the drop is where things go from 'interesting' to 'dreadful.' The albino stands there and ever so slowly pulls the goggles away from her eyes to rest upon her forehead. Then..it's time for staring. She stares down one corridor. She stares down another corridor. And while she stares she's looking WAY more concerned than she probably should.

Neena swallows hard, mentally running some unseen variables before moving suddenly and seemingly on impulse to grab the back of Warren's shoulder before he can get too far away from her. Where -only a moment earlier- she had brushed him off with a snide remark this mutant has suddenly become her only lifeline down in this cold burrow.

All she wants is eye contact. A silent momentary exchange of info. Of a request. Of..yeah. Trust. She might need to get slapped back into reality at some point down here. Possibly in a very physical sense. To Warren, Dom is looking properly scared.

Maybe it's a subconscious decision which leaves her further at the back of the pack as well. Closer to where Logan is. Right now she'd appreciate having a bullet-proof shield covering her back.


Psylocke is lucky to not crash into the floor at the bottom of the shaft. Once she steps away from it, that katana is pulled free from the sheath across her back. "Negative, Angel. I'm not going to be able to." This is … sickening. She hates feeling trapped which is exactly how she feels at the moment. "Afraid you'll have to just settle for my fighting skills, tonight. My more mental talents seem to be restricted down here."

While Dani didn't necessarily say hello to Emery, she did hear his question about his daughter. "She's fine. Brightwind is looking after her."

Which is a perfectly reasonable answer, right? Definitely. Though surely there's some sort of adult there with Brightwind and Kennis, to make sure neither of them get into too much trouble. This *is* Dani, after all.

Then it's downward they all go and Dani lands at the bottom with a heavier thump then normal. She straightens from the light crouch she landed in and pauses, her expression tight. Automatically Moonstar's gaze turns toward Psylocke, to see how the purple-haired woman fairs.

At the confirmation that it's not just her, Dani turns her gaze to the team. "I suppose we shouldn't be surprised."

There's a quick glance to Domino now, eyebrows raised in a silent question 'you okay?' and while she waits for any type of answer from the merc, Dani does a quick check on Emery as well.


How Emery gets down, is anybody's guess. He does make haste though upon now being aware that his childcare provider is out here being heroic as well. But he does get down, recoiling climbing gear and storing it away as he tilts his head to the side for a moment before replying softly to Dani. "Ye are lucky I trust that creature like a brother, or you would've only gotten 3 pies as opposed to the 6 I promised ye."

He waves a hand vaguely to show he's fine, taking in the various characters that are around him. He is not on any coms so he just puts his cigarette out against the wall and bows his head politely, making sure that the bandana he had tied there that he was /smoking/ under is secure. "I'm here to fetch Mistress Frost, if one of you could lead the way I'd be grateful, she's missed a month of spa appointments and m' sure she'll be quite cranky." He speaks in that lilting Irish Accent.


"Mm-hmm. I haven't the slightest," replies Alison to Warren, tongue-in-cheek. Because, sometimes, in the elevator down into a veritable hell, you need just enough wryness to see your journey down. At least for her, a bit of sass keeps her frosty.

Set to the ground, the Dazzler seems apt to delegate herself to a front position (she's dps, she can do it), letting her outstretched hand seethe with light to better beacon their underground path. She doesn't trust the barely-adequate lighting.

It's a dual-banded wavelength. Visible light, and infrared. Gives Alison an extra pair of eyes to see if there are active security traps.

She goes quiet, serious, drawing in to disguise how much she hates how quiet the whole thing is. Quiet is the antithesis of what she is. Her brows furrow at mention of psychic dampeners. Of course there would be. Monsters. Her head lifts, tilts. She doesn't have the most acute sense of hearing, but it's better than most. She strains to pick up on any distant, low frequencies.

"We might just need to cover everything we can. I'm not sure how long a diversion Stark can provide us."


Eventually, the faint smell will waft up from the open corridor for those with the nose. For Wolverine, the fear is the most potent note in one of the corridors still to be ripped open, but the territory of the first team to cover. On the air, there's a multitude of chemicals and the distinct smell of ozone. Down the corridor that has already been torn open, he'll smell death, but maybe also the scents of the first team mingled in there. The rustle of metal on metal down there, too. The tunnels are just long enough and curved enough to make it harder to get one's bearings in that regard.

The shortest tunnel, with a steel door between the party and whatever lies beyond, is absolutely quiet with nothing seeming to be really amiss.

It's helpful, having the other senses at play when the telepaths come up empty handy. Because Wolverine will be able to smell more chemicals; more death; more blood, fresh and new both; and living bodies, besides. On the other side of one of the steel door blocking the way to what should be one of the longer corridors.


Indicating the open tunnel, Logan will say across the comms and likely easily heard by poor Emery as well. "First team went this way," He frowns and again takes a deep breath. Shaking his head he'll murmur, "There's decomposition, bad juju."

He frowns and then draws up short, tilting his head to the side as if he heard something amiss. A finger lifts and he moves to one of the closed off doors. He'll place his ear against the surface and gestures for quiet before he closes his eyes a moment, nostrils flaring.

The space of three heartbeats pass and then he says quickly, "Someone's alive behind here. But it's… a mess."


It isn't long, once they're all down at the bottom, before the place starts to have an effect on Domino. Warren senses it before long, his gaze caught from the corner of his eye by her sudden stillness. The hand on his shoulder arrests him, his feathers lifting slightly in surprise before sleeking back down.

He turns, and finds her eyes. He doesn't visibly try to reassure her, because he's sure she doesn't want the special coddling treatment in front of others, but he doesn't shake her off either. "Steady," he says. "It's not there."

Not that he's without his own nerves about this, a fact visible in the restless ruffling of his white feathers. Making matters more concerning, Psylocke says she's not going to be able to link up, what with the psi dampeners. It's a fact Moonstar confirms a moment later. "No," he says. "I'm not surprised, all things considered. It's annoying as hell, but not surprising. Well — at least we packed the conventional comms."

His gaze turns to Emery a moment later as the man appears seemingly from nowhere. He knows vaguely of him as a contact through Dani, though the man's ties to Frost are new to him. "Cranky seems to be her default state of existence," is his wry remark, but he's otherwise distracted. He's taking in Logan's assessment, his blue eyes flicking back and forth between the sealed tunnels and the one left standing open as the man succinctly describes what he gets from each one.

The news someone's alive behind one of the doors, however, immediately gets his attention. "This one, then," he says, clearly ready to charge in either to save — or to fight. Angel only really has those two settings. His gaze tracks around the available tools — claws, swords, guns, arrows, more claws — before he glances at Alison.

"Try and burn it open," he asks. "It'll keep the noise down. I'd rather not attract attention until absolutely necessary. Rest of us will be standing by if something jumps right out at us."


Catching the concerned look from Dani is grounds for Domino's face to go -perfectly freaking neutral- in a New York Second. A hand comes up and dismisses the issue but she's not looking at Moonstar during the motion.

It's bad enough to be back in a place like this. Bad enough to think for any amount of time that maybe she can't friggin' hack it. Plenty bad enough to think that she might need to reach out to someone, ANYONE else for support. One person is also where it is going to stop. Whether due to pride or plain stubbornness she's not going to bring anyone else into her personal matters.

It's something of a miracle that she had reached out to anyone at all, and lucky for her that the psychics in the team are effectively shut down.

Despite everything that's twisting away in her mind Neena still gives Emery a peculiar look. Is this guy for real? If she had one of those ICERs on hand it'd be a real challenge to keep her from testing it out on the poor guy.

Eugh. Just..stay focused, Thurman.

No ICERs and no lethal bullets means she's packing some super old tech in the form of a compact high capacity shotgun. It may not be fancy but it does provide numerous options. The KSG comes around into her hands as she follows the team, oddly silent given her usual run of sarcasm.

A keen sense of smell isn't required for the tainted air to stir up even more uncomfortable feelings in this ghost. Not that Logan's assessment is helping -at all.-

'Keep the noise down.' Yep, Dazzler's got point. Dom will be right here when things get ugly. ..Somewhere. Probably.


Four days. Four stinking days of the backwoods. Backwoods Alaska is far and beyond the backwoods of anywhere else. Even its cities aren't cities. Its towns sure as hell aren't cities. Finding a vehicle out here isn't even as hard as finding a damn road to take it down.

Of course, with the right vehicle, you don't _need roads_.

The pickup truck is fairly new, and the wear suggests that it gets used often and for its purpose of hauling loads, not pre-teen soccer teams. It often carries dogs. It has a small team of them now, milling around in the bed of the truck, nervous but not panicky.

The truck's owner may find himself tied up in the brush and up a tree, sufficiently unconscious that he won't be able to do much about the unexpected auto theft in the middle of nowhere but not so gone that he won't be able to kick the bears away if he wakes up. He has a radio. It doesn't pick up a damn thing. He has a CD in there, too, though it's not quite the selection the truck's new de facto owner would have chosen. Still, she's resourceful. She makes do.

"Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong. GOTHAM CITY…"

When the pickup truck approaches the chasm in the ground, it pauses under the trees to observe a pile of heroes diving in. It waits another few moments, then crawls up to the entrance.

Out jumps a woman in ballistic fiber. Maybe SOME people have special clothes for arctic weather. Catwoman is Catwoman. She doesn't have the Arctic Cat-Suit. That's someone else with pointy ears. She turns back toward the car and jabs a finger.

"And what's your job?"

"I — I hook the dogs up to the sled."

"And?"

"When I get the signal, start the winch up. With this." The nervous, wide-eyed, and above all COLD mook pats the knob in the truck.

"He can be taught," Catwoman murmurs. "Do your job right and you'll be set for life. Or, knowing the way you spend, until Thursday."

Grabbing the hook on the end of the winch cable and wrapping it around her waist, Catwoman strides up to the hole and stoops to hammer in her own pitons. She's planning to rappel down, too. She could PROBABLY climb up an elevator shaft without the help of a steel cable, but not with the extra weight she's planning to haul. It's not very far down to Tessa, though, and as she finds the woman who hired her, she offers a professional nod.

"All's in readiness," she murmurs. "While they're busy on their rescue, we can just grab it and go."


Alison's lips press into a brief, pensive line. Her blue eyes weigh the size of those doors, and not without apprehension: part of her is already knotting against what might be on the other side.

Either way, laser-cutting anything is going to deplete her good, and fast, and down here, she doesn't have the convenience of Tony Can't-Shut-Up Stark to make her light. Either way, they're short on options, at least until they can get the dampener offline.

"I'm on it," she answers. She outstretches her hand, focusing back on old training —

A pause. "If any of you want to keep your eyes, look away."

Her photons sieve down. Not all lasers emit visible light, but the Dazzler's sure as hell do, as the tunnel suddenly brims with blinding light. She focuses it right off the tip of her pointed index finger, so quick and so potent that it melts through the steel without as much as lifting sparks. She burns a doorway right through.

This is why it depletes her. It's potent.


"Only three pies?" Dani murmurs to Emery, a faint smile twitching her lips upward. "I'm hurt."
But then that slightly amused expression turns to something less so, as Wolverine announces which door is a mess.

That brings a rather grim expression to Moonstar's face.

They've all been around long enough to easily imagine what a mess might look like.

Nothing good, that's for sure.

Either way, as Warren requests that door to be opened, Moonstar pulls an arrow from the quiver strapped to her back and nocks it loosely. Readying herself for whatever horrors that might suddenly pop out at the group.

As for Domino, her dismissive wave is given a slight frown by the Cheyenne, but Moonstar doesn't press. Not right now, but definitely later there might be questions.

For now, Dani returns her attention to the task at hand and when Alison advises people to look away, Moonstar does just that. She averts her eyes as quick as she can when Dazzler *melts* through the steel door.


Ever at the ready, Emery reaches back to draw the sword from his back, and elegantly crafted sword with a hint of epee to the design, and he hold is at the ready. When the young lady starts burning a whole through the wall? Emery puts in a pair of sunglasses. As he's doing a mental head count of how many people he has to feed after all this. HE is however, alert to the fact that life has been detected, you just can't tell on his face as its covered with sunglasses and a black bandana.

Tessa looks upwards. (She is wearing a balaclava but it is clear where she is looking.) "Well done," she says. "Your assistance is most helpful. After we secure the item, you will be free to go or accept transport to Vancouver, at your discretion."

Down down down down down.

There is a flicker-flash that Tessa can see at the bottom of the elevator shaft—the ten-thousandth part of Dazzler's mutant ability, focused in its totality against… something.

"Interesting," Tessa says. She looks back up to the Cat: "Have you encountered the X-Men before?" A few moments later she lands, very quietly, on the bottom of the elevator shaft, and indicates by gesture to speak little - if at all - going forwards. She presses herself against the corner of the opened way, looking momentarily down the path. She frowns, spiritually if not visibly, to see how many people are with the visually distinctive Warren Worthington.

She stays in the elevator shaft for the moment. Out of sight, and hopefully out of nose.


The smell Wolverine smelled earlier grows stronger with the door out of the way and the molten smell fading, and the long curving tunnel keeps the same dim lighting as it goes even deeper underground. There's also the smell of at least one mightily potent body odor from someone who hasn't bathed in forever.

Everyone will hear the distant rattling though of things being moved as it echoes against the austere walls.

But, as yet, no assault.

Yay?


As Alison gets the light show underway, Logan turns his back to it and takes up a place beside the large steel door's frame. His features are limned by the flare as the rock star works her magic on the metal and burns a way through. And through it all, Logan just nods to himself and seems to focus, to make ready.

Some of those who have fought with him at their side before know to read his moods, the severity of them, the intensity of focus. The way he looks now it's all dead serious.

Once it's clear and the light diminishes he looks back towards her to make sure she's done, then flicks a glance at Warren and nods again. The blades slice through the knuckls of his gloves with a sharp /snikt/ and he pushes away from the wall towards the entrance… then through.


With the door open, the smell grows strong enough that one doesn't need Wolverine's senses to pick it up. That's concerning enough in and of itself, and the sounds of movement further in press the sense of urgency.

Warren starts a step forward, apparently impulsive enough to want to take point because he has this misapprehension he's a tank. Logan's glance gives him pause, however, and common sense wins the day as he nods for the sturdy Canadian mutant takes point.

"Take point with him, Psylocke?" he asks, because it makes sense to put the strongest melee in the front. Ranged in the back. He's already following Logan down the hall. "Rest of you watch our backs, please."


Psylocke has gone that completely silent and still that ninjas are expected to know how to do. She can't exactly blend in against the walls, but hanging back and being her most ninja may let people forget she's here. Truth is, she's focused inside her head. Powers pushing and pulling at the dampening, as if she can find a way around, out, or through. She can be perfectly useful without her powers, but they sure would be handy to try and find out who else might be around. It gives her something to do while her body remains motionless.

That all ends when Warren says her name, and she will move with the quietness of her training. Her Katana is still in her hand, at the ready, as she moves alongside Logan.


The best way to not look at something is to not have it anywhere near your peripheral, and Logan's got the right idea here. At Alison's call, Domino also turns a full 180 around then comes to rest upon a knee with the stubby shooter nested against her shoulder in low ready. The arrival of Tessa and Catwoman may not have been noticed by the albino but if they aren't careful any approach toward the murder of mutants just might get noticed.

This same logic of 'not seeing something' could also apply once Dazzler burns the door open. Maybe if Dom keeps hanging out in the back of the group she can hold off on seeing any of—

No. No, -Screw. That.- If what happened to her is STILL happening to others then she HAS to know. HAS to see it for herself. They flew all the way out to the middle of Alaska to try and rescue someone who apparently isn't liked very well and they got down into this steel and concrete nightmare and she is -going into that freaking room darnit.-

Then Warren tells everyone not Wolverine or Psylocke to stay in the back.

For the sake of her sanity there had -better- be something she can shoot down here.

"Not on purpose. I do my best to avoid coming to the attention of the ideologically… eager. They don't have anything I want, and they don't hire safecrackers. Or if they do, I don't get their emails."

Catwoman's goggles gleam in the lowering light. They adjust automatically to the light available, and as she too lands on the ground, silent as a breath, all talk from her ceases. Pressing her back against the wall, she scoots away from the light of Dazzler ahead. There must be another way in here.


The door is open and Dani can't help but catch that scent that lingers in the air.

It's not pleasant.

That doesn't stop the woman from continuing onward.

She takes her assigned position in the back, her bow and arrow ready, her gaze sharp. When Domino joins her in the back the Cheyenne woman can't help but give the woman another look. This time concerned side-eye and the vaguest of frowns, but nothing more.

Carefully and as silently as she can, Moonstar trods down the hallway.


The rancid stink of flyblown meat hits fast and hard. Alison Blaire's X-Men resume never promised an iron stomach; hers lurches threateningly, and she covers a hand over her mouth, buffering against the putrid smell.

Her resume also never promised exceptional bravery. Old nerves fray. The panic response seethes like a pulse point under her skin. None of this is good, she doesn't like it, and every selfish instinct is begging her to just turn back and get out — maybe even entreat she'd be of better use lighting up the sky with Tony —

Alison gets her runaway thoughts under control. She puts on her game face, swallows down the taste of bile, and proceeds on.


At the bottom of the tunnel that the X-Men and Emery travel is the largest in the entire compound - although this team wouldn't know it, not having seen the others - and the most brightly lit. There's no doorframe once the curve is taken, no place to easily hide if our heroes are to see in side. The room is white-painted, open ceiling soars eighteen or twenty feet up and shows off the elaborate network of thick steel girders holding the whole thing up, and one wall is entirely covered in large screens. The screens display a wealth of information—someone's working thoughts in mid-display. Brain models: CT scans, MRIs, and 3D renderings. Brain wave readings - fifteen unique sets constantly shifting to compare against each other in different arrangements. On the counter by the small laptop there, a stack of enormous acrylic plates has been spaced and stacked up like an artistic sculpture with an armature that can swivel into a spiral when needed… save that each plate encases a meticulous sliced cross-section of a seemingly human brain. Another brain sits in a fluid-filled canister beside it, wires pouring out of both the mostly-pink fleshy matter and the metal caps at either side of the thick glass tube.

Nearby on a large metal table, there's a different kind of study that's been happening. Soldering tools and wire surround a partially dismantled machine that's approximately a three-foot cube and—by appearances—once sat inside something bigger. A wall, perhaps. It's plugged in and hums ominously.

There are four medical procedure chairs in close proximity to each other, with a cart beside each. On one of these chairs, there's a young man strapped down with an IV pumping clear liquid into a port under his grey hospital gown from several different bags. His forehead is covered in diodes and his eyes are closed, and more wires disappear beneath his messy mop of cropped hair, where they've actually inserted electrodes at the base of his skull. Someone working on his files would likely recognize him, eventually, as James Webber, a kid from Astoria. Upon the chair beside him is a young woman in much the same arrangement.

There's a medical table, partially hidden from view by a privacy screen, but one can see the outline of feet beneath a cotton sheet and a cascade of more wires at the screen's bottom edge as they pool onto the ground on the other end before disappearing into a metal cabinet. The quiet, rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of a ventilator can be heard from that direction.

In the back corner, there is also a pair of large metal pods sitting against the wall at an angle of 45 degrees, covered in biomonitors and wires. One is closed-its onboard monitors bouncing wildly with activity. One is open-its screens dark. A short row of neural caps sits nearby on a worktable, in various states of unfinished repair and construction.

And in the middle of the horror show, a bald man in a white coat sits at the bank of large computers at a data entry terminal, working furiously. A woman with long and pinned up black hair and thick glasses stands beside him, hurriedly packing a case with glass canisters full of thick, red something. More than blood.

Of course, there are other occupants, too. Because of course.

Four of them stand between the door and everything else. All seemingly mutants, if one is of a mind to judge these things at first blush. A man with long cherry-red hair whose form isn't entirely solid under a long purple trench coat, but instead comprised of a rippling, tar-like substance. A man who looks like more animal than man, covered in dark fur and who sports vicious fangs and claws. A brute of a man whose open brown vest shows off his overdeveloped muscles, balding with thick eyebrows.

And then a man whose long and wavy pink hair and garish red and yellow trench coat hanging over a couture-styled suit makes him look like a supermodel in comparison to his three colleagues.


Into this horrifying tableau Logan advances, holding to the front and his place with the team. He's perhaps the first to see the madness, the inhumanity. His jaw sets and the tension in his shoulders are obvious as he steps silently along. And then there they are in that room, with the four mutants before them… and the scientists working to save what they could.

It's only after looking away from the vivisected brain sections that Logan's voice can be heard on the comms, admonishment clear in the tone as he growls. "You rethinkin' that policy decision, Feathers?

But that's the last thing he says, last thing he likely is going to say for a good long while as he breaks forwards into a run, claws slashing wide as he lets loose with a loud roaring growl. Three strides, then planting the last foot to /leap/ into the air straight towards those that block his path towards the scientist pair.


Psylocke hasn't betrayed anything - at least not on her face. She may have swallowed hard once the smell hit, but other than that, the model mutant's features have been still and stoic. There's a glimmer of horror in her eyes at the sight of the plates with thin slices of someone's mind… then it's gone. There's a task to hand.

She's barely a step behind Logan, using her long legs to her advantage to keep pace. She doesn't leap up into the air, but instead she will duck low to skid on her knees (Thank god for those thigh high boots!), katana out to try and hamstring one of those that would defend this madness.


There's a blessing and a curse alike to having such good eyesight. It doesn't take you long to see and absorb things in a glance, and you don't have to be exceptionally close to get a far more detailed eyeful than you could ever want.

What Warren sees widens his blue eyes in an immediate rage. Despite that, his training from Xavier holds firm, and his answer for Logan's still a terse, "No, I'm not. Not yet. Not if we can help it."

To the four before them? "We're putting a stop to this," he says, which is probably all the hint the others need to engage. "Stand aside."

His wings open with a flare of white feathers, and he's lunging into the air with a tempestuous beating of those wide limbs to try to bypass the fight entirely, and get at the man and woman in the back.


It's a twisted state of affairs when the facility itself unnerves Domino so much more than that awful stench of decay. Both are uncomfortably familiar to her but it's the latter which she finds easier to tolerate. When Dazzler recoils and pulls back Neena's right there to offer cover by way of lifting the shotgun's sights up over the other mutant just in case anything tries to take advantage of her guard being compromised. Then when Ali is recomposed the sights are brought right back down, as smoothly as if the albino were a machine. Muscle memory is alive and well, at least.

As for the next look from Dani? Steadfastly ignored by Neena. She's alright. She's got this.

She doesn't got this.

The space beyond is filled with a whole myriad of individual details which could successfully give the albino flashbacks and nightmares for weeks on end but the entire accumulation of so much visual torment combined with there being some very obvious targets in the room who seem to give zero shits about the conditions of the subjects being laid out?

It's all she can do to wait for the rest of her own team to get into action before opening fire, and not just on one person. She's got fifteen rounds of nonlethal torture loaded into that twelve gauge and every last person in here is getting a shot of their very own. Maybe more than one! She brought plenty of spares! It's all just muscle memory, after all.

The only element keeping the albino from being on the right side of a complete monster is that it takes too long to swap out the ammo for something capable of making a much bigger mess.


Following behind the X-Men, Emery trails with a thoughtful expression before he glances towards Dom and Moonstar and further back to the other women, and then back forward. There is a long pause before he offers in a voice, that's changed. Less Irish Lilt, and more of a low and overly calm polished British. "As soon as there is a gap, someone will need to get the victims out of harm’s way. Those with basic first aid should be ready to move. Shall we ladies?" And then he's yanking his dagger free from its sheath in his boot and throwing it with all his might at the Tar Dude with deadly precision. He brushes his fingers against his palm and the dagger ignites, hopefully setting him aflame as well. There is a faint glow to his eyes. "Bring them to their knees, so that even in a mockery of repentance they will be humbled."

And he moves, just a little faster than a normal human, murmuring softly almost melodically. "Requiem aeternam dona ei…"


There are too many of them there. Too many of them further on. The world feels like grey hash beyond her. Tessa turns her gaze towards the Catwoman and she -

-

— ?? —

What a pain in the ass, Tessa thinks, if not in so many words. She raises a hand and waves Catwoman forwards. For a moment, just as the X-Men come upon this horrid display, she—and hopefully Catwoman a moment later—are visible in the entranceway. Tessa looks round then, and at the exact point when Warren goes 'pomf!' in anger in the chamber of horrors, Tessa indicates a vent grille above one of the blocked-off doors.

She then whips out her survival knife—of course she had a tool for such purposes, do you think she would come out here naked?—to jimmy it loose. It's high up enough she has to get on the balls of her feet. There is no clanking because she carefully bends over to place the vent cover down on the ground, virtually silently. After this, she looks back at the way she came and… sinks to one… knee; ah, her hands are coming together. A proffering of a boost up.

If only I could take control of her, Tessa thinks: Well, that wouldn't be easy at the best of times.


In those few moments before, the ex-singer doesn't miss Domino's subtle, automatic cover. Little things, but palpable things. She doesn't comment on it. Maybe something saved for later. Maybe never. Who knows with the reserved, sometimes emotionally-constipated Blaire.

For now—Alison takes in the entire scene in one, silent yield—her open eyes betray little, gazing forward, hard, cold.

There are no words for atrocities like these. Even less she can think in a moment like this. Something darkens in her expression. Her gloved hands involuntarily curl.

Ultimately, there are no time for horrified words. No time to do anything but react, and immediately. In the end, Dazzler doesn't count herself a warrior on the level of Wolverine or Psylocke, a trained soldier like Domino, or even the imbued Valkyrie like Dani—she's just a singer who also happens to be a transducer, and right now she's running a little low.

So Dazzler goes on recovery. She keeps an eye on Warren, but keeps off to the periphery—slipping closer to the captive James Webber. Through the distraction, her aim is to get him free, and keep him protected.


Haven't many of them seen such horrors? And yet when faced with such terrible things it never seems to get easier.

Ever.

"Spirits." Breathes Moonstar mostly to herself and then much like the rest of the team, Moonstar springs into action. Or, at the very least, she does so with bow and many arrows.

Her first arrow is for the very couture seeming man and with a *twang* of bowstring the arrow flies for said man. It's not a death shot, but it's definitely a take-them-down-as-quickly-as-they-can shot.

As soon as the arrow flies free Dani pulls another and nocks it.

Before she lets loose with that second arrow her gaze flicks over to Emery. "Ready." She automatically calls out to what he has to say and before he dashes quite out of earshot, Dani catches the cadence of his murmured words. It stays her hand for a few seconds, but then she brings her attention back at hand.

Shooting things.

The second arrow is noted and loosed, this time at the one Psylocke looks to hamstring. "Coming in high, Psylocke." Murmurs Dani over the comms, so the other woman knows an arrow is coming in hot.

As soon as the second arrow is gone, Dani reaches for a third, though she doesn't quite get a chance to nock it. Not when she takes a moment to look for Warren and then Ali, to make sure the two are good.


Vents. Ah. Perfect. Catwoman's been in more vents than fancy restaurants, and she's been in a lot of fancy restaurants. Wordlessly she steps forward, setting one foot into Tessa's hands and boosting herself in. Once she's inside, she hooks the winch-hook somewhere useful and starts squirming in. For preference, she's really going to… avoid this whole fighting with superpowered crazy mutants thing.

At least nobody's messing with her brain yet.


When our heroes enter, Mister Pink Hair, actually smiles. His Australian accent is the one that cuts in first. "Oh, boys! I think some new party favors just arrived." His head turns towards the man of tar. "George? You wanna open the dance floor for us?"

"My pleasure, Ruckus." he says, only to be interrupted by Wolverine flying in. "'ey!" he complains to no one in particular, his hands coming up in frustration. "Why does Hairbag get the first dance?!" But then his form ripples again, and he gushes forward towards the door in a dark tidal surge, looking to wipe out the first wave of invaders as his arms expand and become a flood. Psylocke is the first one his hand tries to wash over. His other floods towards Domino, only for his 'fingers' to split off at an unnatural direction to flood towards Emery as well, opening the flood around the knife he throws.

Meanwhile, Ruckus turns to the balding man. "Slab, do help the good doctors finish packing, yeah?" This is met with a grunt of displeasure, but obedience comes ultimately. That leaves Ruckus to face Warren Worthington. "No, you're not. We already put a stop to it, mate. We're just cleaning up a bit so we don't lose the—" He turns his head towards the arrow and screams, the sound of it deafening to a crippling degree to anyone in its wake and shaking the arrow off course. It moves just enough that all he needs to do is turn a small degree to dodge it. "What was I saying? Oh! Right. So we don't lose the security deposit. We'll be out of your hair before you know it."

When Dazzler comes near the boy, she'll find he's absolutely dead to the world. Tranquilized to keep still and his skin is clammy, but he’s breathing. At least the distraction is good, and she can work in peace to carefully remove what is glued on and unplug that which disappears beneath the skin.


The two feral mutants close the distance almost instantly as the Hairbag gathers himself and leaps to meet Logan in mid-air. The collision is heavy though with his momentum and deceptive weight the villain is knocked back as the two beings roar and growl, each grasping and slashing at the other.

There's a clatter of lab equipment and shattering glass as the two crash to the ground, fangs flashing as a spray of blood explodes from one of them, spattering upon one of the monitors nearby.

They swirl, Logan being thrown to the side and landing heavily into a console against the wall, causing sparks to explode and cascade past, lighting up the manic features of the monster that's menacing the X-Man.

Hairbag leaps again, only this time misses as Logan rolls to the side, letting his opponent slam himself into that console even as he thrusts a bladed fist towards the creature's ribs. It's a blur of action, wild and frenetic, no ounce of elegance nor art to it. It is simply primal abandon and hate manifested in two forms.


Tessa gets in the vents after Catwoman. Catwoman fills Tessa's world; she is everything that Tessa has here and now; and, of course, Tessa is also directly behind her, possibly like half a body length closer than is really comfortable.

"Dance analogies," Tessa says: "They are killers, but performative ones. You may be familiar. Can you perform if it comes to that?"

Crawl crawl crawl crawl.

"Withdrawal of the equipment… problematic. Highly problematic. The SHIELD gambit is unlikely to work… Our best choice will be to strike in support of one of the X-Men. You're unfamiliar to them. Comport yourself as if you were an intelligence agent and follow my lead if interrogated."

Tessa grasps her knife by its blade, taps Catwoman in the southern flank once, and passes it forwards, handle first. "There is a button in the haft," she explains. "Ballistic launch. Choose your target wisely."


The only thing that's more shot than the people in the room is Domino's nerves. The moves are all there but -she's- not all there. Not so on top of her game. Where she would normally start leaping and flipping all over creation to avoid getting swept up in a river of tar she instead falters, going with the first course of action that springs to mind: Shoot it!

This doesn't work out so well and George has absolutely no trouble at all completely swamping the albino with that strange black flow. Whatever that awful stuff is it's now all over her!

It's also disgusting.

Like really disgusting.

But not half as disgusting as the dissected brain laying across several dishes.


That next pass of Latin almost gets stuck in Samael's throat "Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei -" In over 500 years, Samael/Emery have seen some effed up stuff. But the veneer of the trained killing machine that is the Angel of Death, cracks for a moment. The Irish is back. "…I am not going to feckin third base with a sentient puddle of infected piss! Ye can f*ck right off with that!" He's already dropping to his knees to avoid - but there is still splatter, as he draws a silvery grenade from an inner jacket pocket and hurls it at the Tar Mutant after pulling the pin and the smoke grenade hopefully will sink in, billowing disruptive plumes of smoke in concentrated doses into the humanoid. "Requiescat in pace."


It's official. Catwoman likes Tessa. She gets shit done and doesn't, as they say, pussyfoot around. She's just clearly got some issues with PERSONAL SPACE.

She crawls, clearly used to this sort of thing, and gets a little faster when Tessa gets a little unnervingly close to her rearward moving parts.

"Sounds like a plan," she whispers. "I don't mind giving them a hand with extraction if they don't screw this up."

There's a grating in front of her now. Since the screwheads are on the other side of the grate, she wriggles her hand back, tucks her new knife into her belt, and pulls out a handy dandy little magnet to turn the screws. Assuming they aren't plastic or some odd alloy, that is, in which case she'll have to get creative. Luckily, no grating is likely to stand up to her little claws.


Alison Blaire feels her insides twist with relief. The kid is alive. Barely conscious, but alive.

There were too late for many things—many sick, horrible things that happened in this sick, horrible place—but they were not too late for this.

With that, she conducts a similar triage on the rest, checking the vitals of the same unconscious woman, and removing the far more painful measures they had hooked up to innocent people

The fight in the background earns, on-and-off, Alison's wary eyes. She feels each and every sound of the calamity as her field feeds off it, and her shaky instincts beg her to be a more focused back up for her friends. But there's no time. It hurts, but she has to trust them — trust Warren in these crucial moments to hold the line.

Making a mental count of any victims left, her eyes catch that privacy screen. Pushing it violently aside, Alison hears the ventilator. She follows the sound. Is there more?


"All right," says Warren as he maintains briefly in the air, hovering overhead with slow cleaving beats of his wings. "Then we're putting a stop to you, until we get this all sorted out and know exactly what you're doing here. You understand…"

That's about when Warren spins in the air and dives, aiming for the good doctors with a flare of his wings. "We like to handle these things ourselves."

If he can get close enough, he's going to grab both of those doctors in question and haul them straight up into the air, all the way to the twenty-foot ceiling for a brand of interrogation that Domino might find familiar. He's trusting the others to handle the melee and the victim rescue, for now.


Well, that stinks. The man named Ruckus literally shoved her arrow out of his path with some earsplitting screaming. Unexpected to be sure. Painful to the ears definitely.

Does it stop her from firing more arrows? Not at all.

The third arrow is sent on its way as well and now aimed for Tar Guy. Sure it probably won't do anything to the creep, but maybe it'll cause a diversion in some form or another.

Cause as soon as that tar envelopes Domino, Dani can't help but reach over to the other woman to try and helpfully yank her out of the rather gross substance. "Not sure what that stuffs going to do so let's get you out of it."


Slab, who was lumbering towards the two doctors in their lab coats, picks up the pace as Angel begins soaring towards the two now-frantically-trying-to-escape doctors. Each step he takes hits a little harder and goes a little longer than the one that came before as the mutant begins to put on mass and size. He can't spare the doctors being picked up by the scruff and staring the consequent yelling, perhaps, but an unnaturally large and meaty hand reaches out to try to catch the winged one by his ankle. "Sorry, bird brain. Those two still have some work t' do."

Of course, the glass container that the woman doctor had in her hands drops as her feet lose contact with the ground, and it shatters against the ground. What splatters across the floor is a chunky puree blend of biology. The odor carries and it makes the floor slick, and-if Slab manages to get a handle on the bird-keeping upright is going to be an issue.

Then there's the matter of Moonstar's arrow towards Gorgeous George. To be able to slush his arm around her arrow, he needs to pull back his hold on Domino. It's probably hard to say what's worse, being coated in residue or the sensation of that residue retreating from one's body. His distraction is problematic, because it leaves his side open for Emery's smoke grenade to lodge. Perhaps this might not normally be a problem, except that it sinks deep. And then explodes. He bellows as he becomes practically carbonated, his body belching out smoke as he struggles to draw it in and keep his form together. He isn't fluid; this is pain and he curls in upon himself even as his elongated arms drape along the floor.

Hairbag continues his battle with the Wolverine. Fortunately, at least the canisters they're breaking are empty.

Ruckus sees these things, and he screams at Psylocke, too, to prevent her forward push. And then, with a whip of his lovely rose-hued locks, turns to grab one of the empty plastic cases and shoves his way past Allison to get to the bank of enormous screens. They'll start going dark as he moves to pull the laptops and external drives to shove them in the case. He can't leave empty handed, after all.

Allison, now that she has Jimmy and the girl beside him free, can go - if she's brave enough - to move the screen. It moves easily and behind it lies someone who may be long gone - kept alive by extraordinary means, if alive is even the word to use. The ventilator keeps her breathing. Her blood is pushed through by a heart kept going with shocks. The skull of a young brunette woman has been left open in a state of perpetual open brain exploration, with all due medical precision. Wires disappear beneath a plastic sheet that provides some measure of sterility and into the creases between the two hemispheres, but there's no telling how deep. A small box hums beside the girl's head, much like the larger box in the middle of the room but softer. Even if Allison could detach the wires, there's no guarantee that anyone could survive the separation.

Which, assuming Dazzler is in any condition to continue, just leaves the last closed biotube in the back of the room to check.

And, of course, all of the chaos leaves Selina and Tessa completely beneath everyone's radar and able to move about with impunity. For now.


Hairbag and the Wolverine circle each other, each taking the measure of their opposite and they each eye each other with a grim intensity. Their claws are slick with gore, and though there are clawmarks in Logan's combat suit, there is relatively little blood from where the wounds must be.

A few sparks slice up along the ground as Wolverine slashes to the side at a cable almost dismissively, sending the faint electrical sparks towards Hairbag. Then he grins slightly, a subtle curve of fang being shown as it seems his opponent is at least, "We both know how this is gonna go, bub."

Since Hairbag… poor guy, he's still bleedin'. And then at the exact same moment, timed purely from the instinct to clash, they charge once again at each other. Claws slashing as they hit the ground, rolling. The Wolverine makes a vicious slash aimed across Hairbag's waist, only for the other mutant's eyes to go wide as he exhales a large puff of greenish gas straight into Logan's face.


This isn't going so well for Neena. The facility has her on edge. The baddies seem to give zero shits about getting pelted by rubber slugs. She just got engulfed by a living oil slick which is now -peeling itself away from her oh my god.- She's feeling ineffective. A hindrance more than an asset. It's not a comforting feeling.

The only option left available? Throw the dice and do something impulsive.

While everyone is engaged with everyone else and she's peeling herself off of the floor something else comes to her attention. There's that box beside the dead..? Mostly dead? Woman. It's clearly powered. Psylocke had said something about her psychic abilities not working. They're in the lab meant to study psychics and another -bigger- box sure looks like it's right in the middle of everything…

Domino gets up. The shotgun stays down. It's empty, anyway. In the middle of the fight she goes like a bat outta Hell across the floor, leaping and ducking and weaving through the fight until she can jump right off of Slab while he's making his move for Warren. Somewhere through the aerial acrobatics she's got her pistols drawn, loaded with -proper- ammo, and she is absolutely going to town firing upon that larger central powered box.

Is it a good idea? A bad idea? She has no clue. But it certainly is AN idea!


Domino is free.

This is good. It allows Dani to take a minute to cast an eye over the battlefield.

Which looks chaotic at best. It's what causes her to reach for another arrow and nock it. Now Moonstar must make the decision of who to shoot next -

"I think we should -" Begins Dani to Domino, but when Dani actually looks for Domino she finds that space now empty. Empty because the other woman has gone flying off towards the big box.

"Spirits." Mutters the black-haired woman and then her gaze flicks back to the scene at hand.

Which one to shoot - which one which one which one - until finally her eyes settle on Hairbag as he breathes something that's likely not good. "Coming in high, Wolverine." Dani says over the comms as she looses that arrow at Hairbag, aiming for the enemy-feral's shoulder and/or an arm.

Now Dani moves again, this time in the general direction of Alison and Domino.


With everyone busy beating the snot out of everyone else, Catwoman has managed to unscrew the vent from the inside out. At least, she managed the bottom before Domino started just shooting the thing they came for.

Muttering a curse under her breath, she hisses back to Tessa, who can probably hear her brain anyway (not that THAT'S disturbing or anything, but at least Tessa's a professional) — "How does this box react to being shot at?"

Not waiting for an answer, assuming the answer is 'not terribly well', Catwoman reaches out with both hands and claws through the metal of the vent like so much butcher paper. In another instant she's through, rolling to the ground and behind the nearest piece of machinery.

Hopefully it's not the big middle box.


Warren might have picked the moniker 'Angel,' and he might express some traits reminiscent of one, but biologically his mutations came from genetic mixing with a real big bird. There's something about seeing the doctors, under the shadow of his wings, get frantic with their escape efforts which triggers some nonhuman instinct in him, and his focus narrows down as he dives to get ahold of them.

This, unfortunately, gives Slab a chance to get in close. His grip closes on Warren's ankle, and while Domino's interference might mean that grip isn't as secure as it might be, it still arrests the winged mutant's attempt to reascend with a jerk.

They still have some work to do, says the other mutant. "Yes," Warren answers. "And I'd like to know just what."

Warren's wings beat once, twice, before he… just lets Slab pull him back down. Not all the way to the ground, but close enough. He twists once he's in range, cracking both his wings towards Slab's face full-force. It's the kind of hit that would cave a normal man's skull in, but Warren's figuring this guy will need that much just to be deterred.

—-

Alison has seen her fair share with the X-Men, with Excalibur — even on her own, all the myriad times her life refused to be as normal as she so willed it.

She's seen a lot of hurt. A lot of pain. Too many deep, bottomless looks down into how monstrous the human soul can be — and even knowing all that, there is no preparation for this. Moving the screen, she looks down on a young woman whom she's not sure is even alive, kept in a stasis of suffering that should not be possible. The background sounds of combat are all lost on her, as she stares forward, numb, stricken.

Fortunately, the hitch lasts a heartbeat. Alison packs it all away. Later. Too much to do.

She ascertains that quiet body with careful fussing of her hands, though finds herself close to useless to attempt anything so risky as moving or messing with the machinery — she's not a psychic, and sure as hell not a physician, they'll need the others on this, a healer, a psychic, anyone —

Adding to her mental count, and not even noticing the tears on her face, Alison proceeds on. Anyone left alive down here is the reason they're here. She glances back towards the fray, and then continues, using its diversion to slip her way to get to that biotube.


Tessa is gaining an appreciation for the Cat in her turn, though she keeps it to herself. This sort of professional efficiency intermingled with creativity and initative is rare, particularly for the people who she encounters - for in her field, most of the people she deals with are in two modes. Either beaten down by the corrosive pressures of the Luthor Economy, or — well —

They got trained at the Hellfire Club.

"I would prefer," Tessa begins, before the grate is breached and Catwoman is through it. Tessa looks past her for a moment.

Tessa's eyes unfocus as ten thousand threads of possibility unfold in her mind. Six thousand of them end with her killed or severely injured. Forget those. Narrow it in.

Down to nine hundred.

Six hundred and five.

Twelve.

Four.

Two. It stalls at two. Tessa hates it when that happens. The sensible thing to do here would be the least emphatic one, she thinks as she approaches the grate, but that is what I have done the last five times. A greater mentality may be monitoring our actions. And so -

Tessa lands in a half-crouch, and whips out the OTHER ballistic knife, twisting it around in a flourish to point the blade towards Ruckus, who is a considerable distance away. She clicks a latch and presses a button; her hand jerks as the powerful spring fires, near silently…

And the blade flies towards him, perhaps to the aid of Psylocke! Tessa whirls back, taking shelter behind the same object as Catwoman. "So far, so good," she states. The ballistic knife's handle is carefully pocketed.


Domino will find that her base instincts are still good. The shot, in keeping with that fortunate streak to which she has no doubt grown accustomed, hits just the right spot to fray the cable separating the box from its power supply. Separating it from everything.

The humming stops.

And every telepath in the room will simultaneously feel as the weight of the psi dampener becomes eminently less oppressive. It's not gone, not entirely, but it will be the sort that is far more easily overcome. That strange, additional awareness will start to creep back in around the edges, around the milder discomfort.

Dani's arrow will sink in this time, deep into Hairbag's arm and eliciting a pained yowl, although the splash of red is far smaller than what has already been drawn from his fight from with Wolverine. His dark fur then moves, seemingly of its own volition, twisting around the shaft of the arrow as though trying to pull it out.

Selina, when she drops from the vent high on the wall, will find that it's actually the giant bank of monitors that's closest, and there is just enough room for her to hide behind them if necessary.

Angel beats the face of a mutant who has grown to nine feet tall, and would perhaps grow further still, except that he still has reflexes that compel him to release his captive and cover his head with a grunt. It affords the feathered one the opportunity to get free and clear with the two doctors who then proceed to start crying out anew as they go up. It's the bald man who speaks first, with an accent that still has the faded memory of an Eastern European accent hanging around some of his vowels and consonants. "We don't have to answer anything! Suri, don't tell him anything."

Suri, for the record, is busy screaming to be put down but also desperately hanging onto Warren at the same time.

Ruckus, still screaming, stops when a blank sinks into the back of his shoulder and howls himself. "WRAP IT UP, BOYS."

Alison, as she creeps towards the bio tube, will see as the biometric scanners continue to wildly bounce, and someone is definitely inside it.


With the arrow's impact and the slice of claws against his abdomen, Hairbag begins to draw away, pushing over a card and shattering some of the remaining gear that was in place, his feet skitter upon the debris.

Logan, coughing in that tenacious cloud of greenish gas and ichor, he reels back slashing wildly at Hairbag even as the wounded mutant tries to stagger away from the Canadian. Hairbag has seen better days, with a steady stream of gore sluicing its way from between his hands onto the floor leaving a trail of blood as he rushes to rejoin and link back up with Ruckus.

It doesn't take long for Logan to start to recover from the poison, but it buys his opponent enough time to get some distance and away.


Psylocke had never stopped struggling mentally, no matter the chaos and damage around them. The second that dampening lightens, she will seize on the opportunity. That knife will yank out of Ruckus' shoulder without the benefit of a hand touching it, without getting close. She will use her TK to whip that knife to in front of him, to hover at the front of his throat. The threat is obvious. She'd love to slam it home, but if they can keep him alive and make him talk… well, that's what she thinks Angel wants, anyhow.


For Domino the immediate result of landing the right shot goes unnoticed but that's often the story with her power. The matter which perplexes her right out the gate..is that she somehow -missed the box with every one of those shots?!- Clipped a wire and..nothing else. Is she losing her touch or could that mean the device somehow hasn't finished playing its part?

It's something to consider later when they're not all engaged in a total clusterfight.

Now she needs another target and taking out her anguish on the machinery is seeming more and more like a -very- solid option. The other baddies are already getting diced apart or smacked around or are otherwise engaged with people who are able to pull their punches where necessary. Thus, it's the room itself which shall receive her fear and anxiety and hatred and wrath. She's just gonna -wreck- this joint. 'No kill' orders don't apply to machines!


Most creatures have the ingrained instinct to cover their face when being furiously beat about the head by a pair of wings. Warren was banking on Slab being no different, and is rewarded when he finds himself released from the other mutant's grip. With a flurry of feathers he resumes his upward flight, rather unbothered by the unhappy responses from the two people he's carrying with him.

"You don't have to answer anything," is Warren's cool response, "but the outcome of the next few minutes will probably go a lot better for you if you do."

He stops at the very highest point of the chamber. Not necessarily high enough for a drop to be fatal, but certainly potentially painful. He takes the opportunity to give the field a quick once-over, his sharp gaze picking out the sudden movement of… two unknowns, ducking behind cover.

«Two other people on the field,» he warns over the comms. «Behind the monitor banks. Don't know who they are. They aren't directly engaging yet.»

His gaze turns back to the panicking doctors. "Suri," he promises, focusing on the woman, "I will put you down. You just need to tell me what you were doing here, and why, and for whom." While his voice is soothing, he's also intentionally making his grip on her feel pretty damn tenuous — even if it's not.


When a portion of that pressure lifts Dani can't quite stop the sharp breath she takes. Now instead of a solid physical arrow the Cheyenne calls forth a psychic one. It takes longer than it should and when the magenta energy appears, it actually sparks and fizzles out for those first few seconds before it finally begins to brighten.

"Yeah that wasn't fun." Mutters the black-haired woman and then she sights her next target - Slab - best to spread the 'wealth' around, as it were.

Once the psychic arrow is loosed Moonstar turns and moves onward again. This time toward Dazzler, but before Moonstar reaches the songstress she pauses at the bed that holds the young woman. Moonstar's eyes unfocus for a few seconds and in that brief time her Valkyrie senses tell her everything she needs to know.

When her gaze refocuses the Cheyenne woman says softly, "I'm sorry we were too late to help you."

Warren's warning over the comm helps Moonstar to bring her attention back on the situation at hand. Rescuing those that they can and maybe exacting a bit of revenge for those they couldn't.


Something breaks. A tension eases in the air. The gray static lessens enormously. Behind her balaclava, Tessa's face brightens in surprise - and delight.

She speaks to Catwoman from somewhere where she can be heard with perfect clarity and a faint sense that there is no linguistic underlay to what she is saying. 'Ah. There. We have our opening.'

There are like ten mutants running around here, and so there is a delay. For a few seconds nothing in particular happens. Tessa focuses - pushes through the draping fog in the psionic sphere - and then…

Well, it doesn't look like anything in particular. Indeed, it looks like the absence of something. If you were turning your eye right in that direction at the right point, nothing would be hidden; light is not stopped, nor is sound. Yet for a space in the room it now seems as if nothing important is happening, a place of completely negligible detail.

It would, seen from above, resemble an oval drawn with its smaller end around the bank of monitors sheltering Catwoman and Tessa, and its fatter end around…

THE PRIZE! The mysterious cubical computer. Partially disassembled, but Tessa, bold as brass behind her psionic screen, moves forwards, to try and stuff all the disassembled parts inside of the casing. 'Move quickly. I will help you carry. The screen will follow us, but this is a very dynamic situation.' Tessa seems obscurely disgusted when she says "dynamic," but maybe it's a euphemism for 'charlie foxtrot' in her interior schema.

Should I offer vision share, Tessa thinks, before ruling it out.


Okay. Just a moment of not being shot at to survey the scene. Whatever just happened seems to have knocked out whatever the big cubey thing was doing, so —

And now she can hear Tessa in her head. The feeling of hearing this is at least initially a cat suddenly backing up, hair raised, front-quarters down, tail puffed out. But it's mental and it's gone in an instant, and Selina is now just… cautious.

Tessa's walking out as if the rest of the room just doesn't matter, though she does seem on the lookout for things like bullets going their way. Cautiously Selina steps out from her hiding place as well, and as Tessa arrives at the box, she reaches out to hoist up her end.

"No shit," she whispers. But she's not going to look a gift psychic in the mouth. Not if it can get her and their prize out of the room and down the hall. If she can cadge an invitation to the Hellfire Club out of this, even better. But getting out alive and with their prize is job one.


No answer comes offered from the Dazzler to the report on the comm. If there are unknown someones here — not enough time. A possible worry for those locked in battle. Her mind is on the victims.

Close enough, she overhears that quiet apology out of Dani Moonstar, spoken lowly to the unmoving, barely-alive woman hooked to things no person should have to endure.

"It might not be too late," Alison replies, something rough in her voice — a dogged refusal to give up. "Tony can find a way to keep them on an alternate generator. Get them back to where we can — fix this."

She has no idea if it's possible. She spent ten years singing about optimism, so she should at least attempt to believe it.

For now, there's only the count of those left alive, and Alison needs only to glance at the bio-stats on the read-out to realize what this technological thing might be. "Dani," she calls, urgent. "Help me open this."

Not that much at this point is going to keep Alison out. If there's a lock, she'll burn through it, or laser the hinges right off to help them both lift the lid right off. Whatever it takes to find out who is inside.


Emery has been here all along, risking oil slick nastiness to push another button on his gloves and hold out his hand to catch the dagger as it flies back into his grip, He wipes it off on his jacket, sheathes the sword on his belt and continues to stride forward towards where Dani and Dazzler are headed or currently are and he cocks his head to the side, murmuring softly under his breath in Latin, a quiet prayer as he crosses himself.
[OOC] Emery says, "kk, no nummy souls that need to be nibbled to ease pain"

As Ruckus sees that knife come up, he moves immediately moves to bat it away before growling in disgust. He backs up, and then grabs the case near him to snap in shut and push a button. Just a button. Immediately, a bright yellow glow cuts into the room as a portal opens nearby. The room on the other side is meticulously sorted, and there a number of enormous glass tubes - empty - that line the harsh, steel walls.

Slab hears the hum of the portal opening, and he makes his way in that direction without any further ado, abandoning the place where he'd slipped and nearly failed to catch himself… shrinking as he goes. "What about the docs, Ruckus?"

"Leave 'em! Boss'll deal with it later."

Gorgeous George, still releasing smoke bubbles from his back and groaning, limps towards the portal. He closes in with Hairbag, as they all start to take the one case towards the portal to escape. And - unless someone can put a stop to it immediately - they'll go through and close it.

The tube that Alison is working has no lock, save a simple latch to close tight the seal around it. It's a thing easily undone, and there's a quiet hiss as it is. It's just heavy, and that's a thing that Dani will absolutely be able to help with.

Emma Frost lies inside the tube, though it's perhaps hard to tell its her at first. Her typically immaculate blonde hair is a mass of neglected strings, exposed mousy brown roots plastered to her scalp beneath a neural cap. She's curled in a fetal position, lying so still that she could be dead save her closed eyelids twitching furiously and her labored breathing. She's not conscious, and it's likely a kindness… for everybody. Strapped down and thus immobilized, and her mouth bound up in a device to prevent opening or clenching of the jaw. Her grey hospital gown - the same uninspired garment every 'patient' in this room wears, the horror! - leaves her curled back exposed, and her spine is covered in a blanket of rainbow colored wires leading to dozens of subdermal needle electrodes. Blood is dried and caked under her nose and along the edge of her mouth and chin from an old bleed - along the oxygen tube under her nostrils.

Also, Domino's weapons are doing plenty of damage now, as monitors shatter and the machinery all starts to spark angrily for the abuse. One even explodes very prettily and satisfactorily as though to appease the pale gunslinger.

And as Suri dangles from Warren, she is frantically trying to pull herself up on him to get a better grip. "It's research! Dampener and suppression tech!"

"SURI!"

"HE'S GOING TO DROP US. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO…"

"SHUT UP. HE ISN'T!"


The knife Ruckus bats aside comes back, only this time to sink into the back of Ruckus' knee. She will reach out with all of her TK she can muster, to form a wall, a shield between those 'men' and the portal. She will try to keep them from being able to escape, as she gets to her feet. There's her katana picked up and put away. There's a blaze of violet light, as she will summon her psionic version of her sword, and advance.


The world is swaying for him, tinged with that green of contagion or venom and Logan scowls to himself as he shakes his head, trying to regain focus. His head snaps up, eyes narrowing as he catches sight of their departure.

Wiping a forearm across his face, Logan sees that flickering portal and those trying to make their way into it. He breaks forwards into a run, trying to make it to the case-carrier. They have the time and the distance needed to make their escape, but with the charging Wolverine they have to /move/ and move now.

"Get the case!" He snaps sidelong, unsure as to who exactly but then he _diiives_ to try and slash at the arm and the individual holding it.


Shooting everything is doing something..isn't it? Is it doing anything useful? Or is it just wasting resources? At some point the ammo runs dry and there's lots of pretty sparks and the smell of ozone and Domino's made a pretty hefty mess of the place and it -just isn't scratching the itch.-

It's Logan's voice that she hears first. 'Get the case!' Similarly taking a ride on the feral side, the call to intercept and the sight of those guys on retreat causes another sudden shift in her behavior.

Neena pulls a Logan. A knife comes into either hand and she -charges- toward the very same guy Wolverine is going after, coming in from the other direction. Quick and silent with murder in her glare. Because sparks are all pretty and good but what she's missing through all of this..is -blood.-


Does Dani say anything to Alison's refusal to give up on the woman that lays in the bed? Not right now. This isn't the time nor place, but eventually Moonstar will have to say something.

But that can definitely come later, especially when Alison calls over to her for help. As soon as she does, Moonstar moves quickly to her friend and teammate's side. The biotube is given a quick once-over look, but it's clear to Moonstar that those readouts would mean more to someone trained to read such things. She is definitely *not* a scientist and so she does what she can only do in this situation -

She helps open that biotube.

It's heavier than anticipated, but that doesn't stop Dani from using all her muscle to help lever the lid up. Upon seeing the form curled in the fetal position Moonstar pauses, her gaze taking in all those wires and electrodes and after another slight pause the identity of who it is, brown roots and all.

"So many damn wires." The Cheyenne says, "We need to be careful on how we wake her up. I don't think any of us want an accidental mind wipe."


As they move into position near the machine, Tessa crouches slightly. She indicates when to push, how to hold - it is subliminal, to the point of being non-verbal, to the point where it might have been taken as just really good synchronization if she had not revealed that particular card to Catwoman mere moments ago.

The crouch puts her in position to see…

Tessa views Emma Frost as she really is. Captured. Imprisoned. Without dignity or artifice. Revealed in truth and in full figure, tormented by captors and subjected to profound indignity. Misuse. She hears what Warren's prisoner says.

Tessa takes a deep breath.

She puts her faith in the X-Men. The corner of her mouth quirks up, but the corner of the machine they are re-stealing conceals it from everyone but God.

She keeps moving backwards. 'Even better. This procedure will take them minutes at least. Perhaps longer. I had feared we might have one minute, or less.'

Did I smile, Tessa thinks. Why did I do that?


There is a quick inhale when Emery sees the state of the woman inside the tube. So is not stuffed with dangerous weapons or equipment. A few pockets have extra lighters or bullets and such, but still. The majority of the space is filled with Butlering equipment because the moment he sees the state of the woman within, he knows that there are lives on the line.

With a long suffering sigh he just unslings the backpack and sets it down near his feet. First he pulls out a plush white terry cloth bath robe, shakes it out and drapes it over equipment. Then a little one of those matching head wraps, shakes it out…drapes it on top of the robe. Then he pulls out an old fashioned sachet of smelling salts and a pair of sunglasses. "Remove the wires please, I will monitor how it affects her."

He reaches out a hand to rest gently against an exposed piece of Emma skin and his eyes glow slightly behind his glasses as he connects and reaches out for her pain. While speaking softly. "Good Morning Milady, time to wake up. I've a warm bath ready for you and the quiche will be finished shortly. Your assistant has pushed appointments back til the evening luv, so you 'ave time to lounge about like the rich motherf*cker you happen to be for a couple of hours before startin' on your hair and makeup. C'mon luv, that's it…" A soothing Irish lilt as he grits his teeth and prepares to take on all the pain, discomfort and sensations that the unconscious Emma may not even be aware she's feeling.


Selina doesn't know how to be psychic or… or how to think so Tessa knows it's to her. So she just pushes the thoughts to the front of her mind: 'They're the X-Men. This is their favorite hobby, coming to the rescue. As long as we stay low key — that woman looks… familiar?'

As she steers Tessa and the box toward the exit, Selina goes through her head trying to remember where she's seen an icy blonde before. …Lots of places. It's hard to narrow down. But it's also unimportant: the whole Big Dang Hero team is here and ready to rescue the rescue-able. It's just that she has a sense of Impending Doom nagging at the back of her mind. Just think to the end of this. The plan's almost complete, and at the end of it, the very best part, you're going to be back in Gotham in your own bed and you're going to be PAID.


Warren's eye is caught by the bright yellow flash of the portal, and his gaze briefly follows the other mutants as they start to bail through it. Not optimal, but it can't be helped — he can either chase after them, or give up on the two info troves he's got in hand. Which, speaking of them, the woman seems very agreeable to talking, but the man —

HE'S GOING TO DROP US.
SHUT UP. HE ISN'T!

"Aren't I?" Warren asks, with a rather oblique sort of smile.

That's about when he sure drops the man. Throws him, actually, so that his trajectory goes out of the woman's line of sight. That way, she can't see that he's purposefully booted the guy into a pile of boxes to soften the fall — only that he's dropped him, as threatened.

"Dampener and suppression tech," he says. He's keeping half an eye on the rest of the situation — both the people trying to stop the attempted escape, and the people rescuing the unfortunate victims — but the team seems to have it well in hand, and getting information out of the doctor is probably going to be even more critical after the damage that's been done to the computers. "You developed this from horrific experimentation on psychics. I see, Suri. And for whom? What's in the case? What was in those vials?"


Without the X-Men, Alison is certain the Hellfire Club would have done its number on her years ago. If Sebastian Shaw deemed her valuable, he and his monsters would have pulled her apart and made her into — she doesn't know. Maybe something that'd end up living and dying for his twisted order.

And Emma Frost —

She's not Shaw, but to Alison, she was complicit. Complicit in so much that happened to the team. She was never an ally. She was never a friend.

And yet —

Emma Frost still doesn't deserve this.

Something twists in Alison's too-soft heart at the sight, and whatever the bad blood in the past, she silently pulls free her leather coat, and lays it carefully where that hospital gown does not freely cover. She turns Dani a pained look, her eyes reflecting the question: what the hell is with all the wires?

«We found Emma,» finally speaks Dazzler over the comm. Her voice is strained. «And others. Barely holding on, but alive. We need to get all of them to a medbay.»

When Emery inserts himself, and lays a hand on Emma, Alison pauses, unsure whether to put herself on guard — but there's no time to question who he is, or his motives. "What — nevermind. I trust you know whatever it is you're doing."

She turns from the tube, and squares her stance, ready to deign herself as extra cover for the victims from the fray. Her eyes take in Warren dropping one of the scientists —

Alison seems to pay the action little mind. The hard look seared into her eyes doesn't offer argument. Instead, her hands burn with her light, letting a plume of her photons chase the fleeing Nasty Boys out the portal.

Psylocke's telekinetic wall goes up between the four nasty boys and their escape. Ruckus has a knife in his knee. Hairbag is bleeding profusely. George feels like his innards are trying to float out of his body. And Slab reduces in size, only to see Wolverine and Domino advancing and ready for blood. …So Ruckus screams. He screams loudly enough that he could potentially rupture ear drums, but he needs space to get through the portal.

They entirely miss Tessa and Selina's exit.

Emery will perhaps regret his decision to touch Emma, as the wires only have the one purpose: pain. The drugs — like the other two — keep her under. Sort of. It's different, because there is awareness for her. And with the use of salts comes a choking sound as she tries to take too deep a breath in. She'd be horrified if she knew she was eliciting pity, most of all from Allison Blair. But she doesn't, and she's coming to, and there's nothing for her except for a pure and murderous anger… just one that she's really too lethargic to do anything about.

In Warren's hands, Suri melts down into hysterics. "Genetic material! I don't know who it was for. We only ever dealt with them!" Her finger points in the direction of the four mutants trying to make their getaway, only to go back to clawing at whatever part of Angel is closest. "Anyone who died was supposed to…" Be reduced to slush. Evidence burying, perhaps. Except that any telepath who has any ability to hear her, for she thinks it so loudlyThat they were all supposed to die. "They took all the sequencing data and the readouts…"

Then Suri hears something, and horror seizes her as she twists and sees everyone at the biotube. "DON'T."


He had been bearing down on the Nasty Boys with an intensity of purpose, making that wild strike and trying to stop them as he stepped to the side. It was instinctive, bracket the prey with another hunter as Domino menaces. It was perhaps looking grim for the mutant terrorists…

Only for Ruckus to throw his head back and screeeeam loudly. Like a shockwave washing over them, Logan seems to reel all the more, his claws retracting with a sharp _snakt_ as he tries to cover his ears with his hands, staggering back and falling to one knee.

Then in the next instant as the scream is maintained he falls to the side, blood streaming from his ears.


"We should hurry," Tessa says to Catwoman (with her mouth). "If you hear another voice such as you did in the next several hours, I would encourage you to ignore it."

Psylocke Flinches, instinctively hunching her shoulders as she tries to keep moving towards the portal and the nasty men heading that way. She's staggering, that pain nearly blinding. The psi-katana shifts to become a psi-crossbow to try and fire a psionic arrow through the back of Ruckus' neck, hoping the strike will interrupt the signals from his brain to his body, and stop the screaming.


Dom is used to loud noises, alright. But she is soooo not used to metahuman powered loud noises. The scream coming from Ruckus tears at the very fibers of her being and threatens to rip the soul from her body in an attempt at making a hasty retreat.

In an ideal fail one or both of the blades would still find useful marks as they go flying away from her hands but down here in this man-made frozen technological hell she's borderline broken.

And now she also can't hear a goddamned thing!

Once again the albino takes a fall to the floor, the momentum causing her to slide several more feet all while she's got hands clamped down over her ears. OUCH!!


Hurry? Don't need to tell Selina twice. As soon as they get out the door she starts moving more quickly. A hundred pounds is irritating to lift but certainly not impossible; it's more bulky than anything else. Now that they're away from the main group, she's more comfortable with hustling and getting herself and Tessa and the Mystery Box back into the elevator shaft. On her way, she snags the winch-hook and tucks it into her belt. Switching to carrying her end with one hand, she fiddles something out of one of her belt-pouches. It turns out to be a fine carbon-fiber net, which she'll sweep under the box before they set it down in the elevator shaft. Now all they have to do is hook it up to the winch hook and hope that Brain Trust up at the top is on the job.

"Want the fast way up?" she offers, looking to Tessa as she activates her comm unit. To her mook, then: "Everything ready up there?"


Emery is busy being a pain receptor atm, taking deep breaths and waiting for folks to make a decision on how to unhook one if his bosses.


Warren seems largely unperturbed by Suri's frantic clawing at him — or at least, used enough to it to not pay it much mind. He's got experience with women grabbing at him, if not necessarily in this way exactly.

Only with them?" Warren demands. "And who are they exactly?" He doesn't ask about what was supposed to happen to anyone who died. It's plentifully obvious what was supposed to happen.

It's about that time that Ali's voice sounds in over the comms. A brief mote of relief comes and goes. «Start packing them up, and let's get ready to extract,» is his quick response to Ali over the comms, as she checks in. «If they're critical, we can't linger here.» He'll ask if she's okay — later.

But Warren can't ignore what's happening on the ground for much longer. The SHRIEK emanating out from Ruckus doesn't quite get him — he's too high up to get caught in the area of effect — but he can see the effect it's having on the others, and the urgency to protect them overrides the need to extract more information. With a grunt of frustration, he turns in the air, leaves Suri on top of one of the larger banks of mainframes (either to her relief or continued displeasure), and dives recklessly straight at the mutant — from a high angle, as much above the area of effect as possible — in some game attempt to distract him or get him to stop exploding the team's heads.


In turn, Alison's eyes soften to hear Warren's voice over the comm. «Copy —» she says to that, glancing back towards where Dani and Emery are working on detaching and reviving Emma Frost away from that tube —

Though her attention does not tarry for long.

That sonic scream lashes out, and it immediately turns the eye of the living transducer. Alison's expression darkens with something that — in another life — would almost be wry.

The sound immediately sieves, as if the very wavelengths were pulled away, consumed by a far more powerful force — namely the photonic field that surrounded the ex-singer. She drinks in the noise, pulling it from the air — making its pain and disturbance lessen by the moment — as she hits a full charge.

Aural light, white tinging with moving currents of red, shimmers off her, and burns from Alison's eyes.

Out of her opening palm novas a white-hot, burning shaft of light, aimed to do no less than put Ruckus right on his ass.


Dazzler manages to hit Ruckus dead on and send him blasted through the telekinetic field and for the portal to close right before Angel or that arrow from Psylocke can get there. Domino will have just the right angle to see the flash of blue body armor on the other side, and to see her one dagger sink neatly into Hairbag’s side despite the odds. The other goes into Slab's thigh. Ruckus punches the hole. The others walk through it, and the portal closes behind them all. …Case in tow.

Selina's Brain Trust is up there still, but only just barely. It's pretty intimidating to stand in the field where Tony Stark is still raining down shrapnel. Either that, or he's just picking up pieces of it when no one's looking to throw at the elevator shaft because he can. One or the other. Still, Catwoman's hire is still there. "Yeah, it's ready," he tells her, thinking once more of the score he is going to get for agreeing to this.

Suri, on top of the monitors, swallows hard as she finds herself in a destroyed room, looking down at a room full of angry mutants. Three of whom she's been keeping here for months as part of an experiment, one of whom has proven in nearly equal measure extraordinarily helpful and troublesome, and they're hurriedly disconnecting that one from the things they’ve used to control her and letting her out. This… is not going to end well.

There is a small whimper from atop the screens.


"I would adore it," Tessa says, and she sits atop the cube. She seems to take this as her due.

She is wary, until they are miles away.

LATER

"As agreed, here is your fee," says Tessa - who has removed her balaclava and pinned her hair back up into the rather outre style that she tends to wear it in. The fee is held out to the Cat, clad in a steel-wall briefcase, like many before it. "Please accept my compliments for a scholarly program of work. We shall, most assuredly, be in touch regarding future matters."

In the cove behind her, sitting with a low cowling tower and little freeboard, is a German-made submarine. When exported to a foreign client, it had a diesel-electric powertrain. What does it have now? A secret. Doll-like men guide the transport of the storied object, wrapped in glossy white protective materials, into a hatch towards the rear. A woman in a corset with a captain's hat supervises them.

"I have taken the liberty of adding fifty thousand dollar-equivalents in personal appreciation," Tessa says - and then she reaches up to touch Catwoman's cheek, just for a moment. "It was like you could read my mind. But that didn't truly happen… did it?"

Her hand lowers.

"Will you be joining us? I do not mean to press; but we are in some haste."


Selina's kept her cowl and goggles, because of course she can't afford to have her real face or name attached to any of this. Catwoman takes contracts all the time. She's on nobody's team but her own, though she is selective in who she works for. And with.

The loading up of the submarine she observes dispassionately. Her little friend has been paid and dispatched. Didn't know where he was, didn't know what he was getting; it's a good setup for both of them, and now all Catwoman needs to do is get home.

She turns when Tessa answers the question. Her eyes unfocus, just for a moment, and she blinks herself into the present like someone who's just not working on quite enough sleep.

"Of course not," she says. "I do like working with someone whose moves I can anticipate. And vice versa." It's so rare to work with someone you don't even need to talk to.

Later, perhaps, she'll think about that and remember. She'll put the pieces together, possibly. Until then, though, it's the reward for a job well done and a ride home, neither of which she's going to pass up. So she reaches out to clasp Tessa's hand.

"Sure. I haven't been in many submarines. Let's take a ride. I think I've had just enough of the untouched wilderness for a while."

And, assuming nothing else tries to shoot her or scream her to death, she'll hop into a submarine home. More exclusive than an airplane any day.

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