What Next?

March 10, 2015:

Scott, Kitty, Jean, Rachel and Calvin discuss the Pacific operation upon returning to X-Men HQ, along with the tragic murder that took place at home.

X-Men HQ

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A team of X-Men have just returned via Blackbird from a very sudden and critical operation on the West Coast. An information blast over the X-Net declared that a band of mutants was about to attack a U.S. military base, where an alleged anti-mutant weapon was being developed.

They returned with injuries. Havok and Iceman in particular, the former having taken a particularly bad crunching at the hands of the Juggernaut.

The Blackbird has landed; the wounded taken to the medical bay for stabilization and treatment. Meanwhile, in the neighboring data center, Scott Summers is trying his best to be patient. The video and audio footage captured by his visor is being downloaded into the computer network, while he busily re-routes data from the bugs they placed in the military base from the Blackbird's comm array into the relays here. Still wearing his X-Men uniform, Scott has taken off the hood to reveal messy hair and clean skin, though the part of his face that had been exposed is stained by dirt, sweat and a bit of someone else's dried blood.

The frown on his face says it all. Points goes to the first person brave enough to engage him in conversation.

That brave person, would be Jean.

She made sure that the nurses took care of the injured, even overseeing a bit of the care by her own hand. Eventhough she had given up the medical life, once a doctor was always a doctor. And then some. There was no uniform to be had save for the usual scrubs, crocs and white lab coat, red hair tied back and bunned down, little strands stuck to the leg of the glasses that she wears hung down upon the bridge of her nose. The gaze she gives Scott is harrowing, her jaw tensing slightly, a lean upon the console is given as she draws in a breath.

"What is going on here." Her head shakes a little, glancing towards the console and back again.

"A girl is murdered in our home and our people are coming back bashed to hell…" She doesn't finish the wording, but it was there.

It's not that Kitty's going for points, but she was also not injured on their rescue/infiltration of the military facility. Her own outfit remains the same, but the black domino mask that concealed her identity while they were out in the field now lies as a forgotten, awkward necklace. Lockheed has found the hacker and rests comfortingly on her shoulder, resting his head on her head, uncaring of her windswept hair that has now been pulled out of its pony tail.

Sitting at the computer downloading the footage from Scott's visor, she turns to the man in question, a serious expression on her face. Without a word, she pulls out the thumb drive he gave her extra time to get information onto and holds it out to him, a questioning look on her face.

As Jean enters, the computer science teacher swivels in her chair. "Are they going to be okay?" Her voice is hopefully, worried. She's not anyone to answer those sorts of questions. All she can do is ask what is really on her mind.

A curt nod toward the thumb drive served as Scott giving Kitty permission to plug it in and let it rip. Her question is echoed by a glance toward Jean. His little brother is in there, his ribs smashed to hell, and one of his oldest team mates recovering from a punctured lung.

Now slave to the visor once again, it's challenging to tell what the look in his eyes might be, but of anyone, Jean would know that frown. She would know the long silence lingering thereafter.

A long breath is taken, an effort to steady the anger that boils deep within. "What's going on here…" A pause. "Is we have two dead mutants. One murdered by the United States Armed Forces, the other by one of our own."

Seeing that the footage from his visor has finished downloading, he punches it up and cues it to a certain time stamp. There, from his own point of view can be seen a large factory of sorts, twelve stories deep, bearing dozens of massive, robotic machines, each of which have the word 'Centurion' imprinted upon them.

"And our own government shadow funding a project designed to, I don't know what. Control us, enslave us, maybe wipe us out for all I know."

Rachel enters the room, having changed back into casual attire; since it didn't require anything but a thought for her. She didn't look very lively, instead seeming quite somber as she thought about the prospect of super sentinels designed to kill metahumans; it was something she didn't want to experience again.

Jean is given a fierce hug, "Mom, you have no idea how glad I am to see you." Out of anyone in the room though, Jean could tell with her telepathy; Rachel was beyond relieved to see her again.

"We have three dead mutants. Someone in the mansion, a student was killed while we were gone." She sighs, "Those two at that base, they weren't the enemy."

Jean gives a grave glance towards Kitty, but to ease her spirits, she offers her a slow nod. "They will be fine, they have the best working on them and staying by their side. If anything happens, I'll know about it and will tend to them immediately. But they're resting now." As they should. Scott's silence was met with recognition, her brows lowering into a slight frown as she takes a step aside, but reaching her hand out to try to grasp his shoulder, the only show of comfort she could really offer in a situation like this.

But then, her eyes turn towards the footage, her entire body stiffening as she folds her arms across her chest, watching the mass production on display, the name caught and filed away for later as her eyes dart left and right, taking in the scene upon the screen for what it was, the frown never leaving her face. "I.."

Her words were immediately stifled by a hug, a hug that was given in return and lingered for more than just a second as she strokes her daughters hair. "I know about Caroline, and Daliah is missing. No one knows where she is and.." She lets out a little sigh, releasing the woman to turn back towards the scene upon the screen. While Jean didn't have all the details, she's heard most of what she needed to know.

Though Kitty waits until all of the footage is downloaded from Scott's visor until mounting the other drive, she plugs in the thumb drive containing the information from the military base. As Rachel arrives, her eyes shoot upward. While she knew that Scott was somehow Rachel's father, she had no idea that Jean was her mother. The more you know! Quickly turning toward the monitor screen, the resident hacker focuses on the information in front of her. Is this weird? She's not sure if this is weird. It feels as if it should be.
At the reassurance from Jean, the young mutant nods her head, face serious now. As long as there is an assurance they'll be alright, then that's better. She'll focus on what they might have gained from these files she's downloaded. Turning her attention to the thumb drive, she boots it, hoping for something - any sort of clue.

"If this doesn't, you know, lead to anything, maybe we should try and find those guys who were at the base. They may know more about what was going on there, since they were attacking a secret army facility." This is said mostly to the computer screen, but it's a thought to chew on.

"No, they weren't." Scott's agreeing with Rachel, but there's a harshness in his tone; not for her, not for anyone here, but there nonetheless. "But they had a goddamned, piss poor game plan. Trying to bomb the fuck out of a military base is not the answer. Their actions made an ugly mess even dirtier."

No. Scott's not happy about this at all; even if, by and large, the X-Men performed admirably given the circumstances.

Scott finally turns away from the console, leaving the others to do with it what they will. His gaze comes to rest upon Kitty. "Agreed. I gotta have a word with Charles about… just how we respond to this. Violence can't be the answer. We can't make enemies with the United States based on something happening off the books at one military base. Not until we know who the hell is behind this."

He then turns to encompass Rachel along with Kitty. "I trust the two of you understand why I ordered the withdrawal?"

Jean's hand is not ignored, even though it may seem so. He appreciates it; it keeps him centered.

Rachel lets her mother go, nodding her head sadly at the news. She had met neither girl but had heard very good things about them, definitely potential rising stars at the academy. «Don't worry Mom, we'll find out who did it. Nothing could stand in the way of the two of us.» She meant it, together they would find out what happened.

Finding a chair for herself Rachel curls up in it, "I understand." She smiles at her father. Jean would know that she didn't agree at all though but she hid it well from a non-telepath.

The decryption starts on the data Kitty entered and before long schematics, albeit corrupted begin to display on the screen.

The schematics while incomplete due to the hard drive being yanked so abruptly depict a large robot several stories tall in similar design to a Sentinel. The robots are called 'Centurions' instead. Most of the weapon systems are not shown but one thing shown are a device called 'Neutralization Warheads' which some of the X-Men had seen in play earlier.

Jean doesn't offer up any input on finding the men who stormed the base, her eyes shifting left and right, cycling through each person there, her mind splitting to add focus just enough to mentally check upon theminds of Iceman and Havok, just for wellness sake. She was busy of course, multitasking, sweeping the area to make sure none come upon them unannounced and unawares. Her hand draws up to lightly rest upon her chin, fingers rubbing briefly, her gaze finally turning towards Scott.

"Silence."

She wasn't shutting him up, or anyone for that matter. "Like we do in all things. Find someone that fits the bill to infiltrate, possibly. It is not heard of with the possible loss of people on the other side to recruit fresh new blood to .." She glances at the screen now, her brows furrowing. That.. was huge.

Rachel's quiet words and departure offers up a sad smile, her own quiet words returning, sharing her thoughts openly with her daughter.

« Daliah is still alive, she's out there somewhere. If we focus on finding her first, then we can find Caroline's killer. »

As Kitty focuses on the screen and what it is that she could pull from the computer, the computer science teacher frowns, putting a chin in her hand. Lockheed crawls down from her shoulder to the desk, acting much like a cat who hasn't gotten enough attention by curling around her arm. She watches the schematics resolve, shaking her head when it's shown that they're corrupted.

"Maybe we could also do other searches for Project Centurion. There has to be some reference to them other than the one facility, right?" She thinks. She doubts they would put all that money into just the one facility without any sort of information anywhere else.

As for Scott's question, she finally turns. It's been awhile since she's been a student, but she recognizes a teacher question when she hears one. Her raised eyebrow goes to show that she's not sure why he's asking them this. "Because they were going to blow up the facility?"

At this, Scott actually smiles. He didn't believe Rachel one bit; and Kitty's answer was as pragmatic as she tends to be. "No. Because I'm not going to declare war on the United States, and neither is anyone who calls themselves an X-Man."

See? He already answered the question before it was asked, and that is why he smiled.

"Silence," Scott agrees. "We need to gather intelligence, and quickly." For a moment, he wonders how Agent May would feel if SHIELD turned their guns on her; how Reed Richards would respond if the government tried to flatten his home. Lips press together at the thought… it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate to bomb the base to hell and back.

Magneto would likely approve.

Scott draws a deep breath. "Alright. Katherine, clean up the data as best you can. Jean, you'll keep an eye on those in the medbay. I'm going to go speak with Charles." He looks at the three of them, feeling relaxed for a moment. He trusted them, and that counts for more than words could say.

On his way out, he ruffles Rachel's hair. "Good flying today, Red."

It looked like lying to Scott was a bad idea for Rachel whether he was a telepath or not, somehow a father always knew, "Ok, NOW I understand. This is why you're the leader." The ruffling of her hair causes her to smile, she looked up to Scott and respected him as a hero and a father like she did most of the X-Men, "Thanks."

She nods towards Jean, completely agreeing with her on how to deal with the missing student and finding the killer.

"You're not going to do this alone." Jean mutters towards Scott. At least he was smiling, even though the intent wasn't shown within his eyes. She doesn't read him however, but she does glance back towards the screen, deep in thought, at least until her name was called and a brow was risen.

"You're going to talk to Charles and then what?"

« Don't go out there alone. » Was sent to Scott, as he made moves to leave.

Rachel now was glanced at, her thoughts briefly gone out towards Nathan and Nathaniel, a slight frown upon her face as she plops into the next available seat. "Katherine, can you bring up the footage one more time?"

As Scott leaves in one direction, Cal arrives from another, glancing over those who are gathered. "Evening all. Anything wrong? Beyond the usual and what we all already know about." The bottle of beer in his hand is half full. Less than that after the swig he takes.

"Kitty!" Katherine Pryde glares at Scott as he leaves, though there is no real heat to it. She hates it when people call her by her full name. Only her mother does that now when she's mad at her for not calling enough. "And I will!" As if she would just leave the images and data in that state. With a sigh, she turns back to the computer only to give Jean the same glare.

"Kitty," she emphasizes again. "And yes, I can. While we were there Rachel said something about it being a threat to us. We saw some of the warheads in action, I think, or at least know they were there. The whole thing just looked like a factory to create more of those robots."

As Calvin enter, she glances at him and then back at the computer. "Something from the last mission we went on. Robots. Warheads. You know, the usual."

A robot several stories tall is displayed on a computer screen that Kitty is in front of, it's got the name 'Centurion' above it and has a bunch of missing data in the schematics but it apparently does have something called Neutralizer Warheads.

Rachel gestures towards the screen for Calvin, "We found this data on the mission we ran earlier. Lovely, isn't it?"

Jean glances back as Calvin enters, the mention to pull up the data upon the screen was mostly meant for him. She /is/ practically psychic, after all. But Katherine covered most of the explanations as did Rachel, leaving Jean with nothing else to say on the matter, but she does study the scene to commmit it to memory. Thank you mental recall.

Robots? "Sentinels?" Cal asks, sounding more concerned than he usually does even in very serious situations. Frowning, he steps over to the monitor, standing behind Kitty and looking over her head. *SNIKT* Both sets of claws pop out instinctively before they disappear again. "Fuck. That is so very, very bad. That's an advanced model too, one I've never seen."

"I mean, it wasn't good," Kitty agrees. As she plays through the footage again from Jean, she watches it with a distinct frown on her face. "But, it sounds like that facility, at least, got blown to smithereens by missiles and the like. We just have to figure out why they built them and what exactly they can do. Other than blow things up. That's the one thing we do know." She sighs. "And I'm not sure what other information I'm going to be able to get out of this stuff. We might have to just dig deeper to find a place I'll really be able to hack into."

Rachel leans her head back in the chair, staring up at the ceiling, "They look like Sentinels, kinda but they seem a lot meaner than any Sentinel I've ever seen." A sigh escaping her lips as she continues to stare upwards, still fairly upset over the deaths of the two mutants during the mission as well as the student that had been killed here.

"You have Sentinels in your reality?" Cal asks Rachel though it's not really a question and he doesn't look away from the monitor. "They didn't exist in mine but I've been to too many where they did. I don't know of any called Centurion though." Now he does look to Rachel. "Did yours adapt to cancel out your powers once they got enough exposure to them?"

Jean had to literally stare at Cal. Usually he's so nonchalant, easy going.. but this side of him worries her enough to actually start paying attention and worrying. "Kath… Kitty.." She states clearly, nodding her head at the correction made. "Try creating an algorithim that lets you cross check statistics of the program with government files that have or may have been leaked to the public. Even if it's just rantings of a madman, it's worth looking into."

She looks towards Rachel and Calvin now, slowly rising from her chair. "It's been long enough. I need to go check on the patients to make sure they remain stable. I'll update you all on their condition tomorrow, but for now, you three should at least get some rest." She was sure they were goingto talk among themselves about the sentinels, and she was going to respect them not to listen in.

« We need to talk soon, Rachel. Try to bring your brothers with you. »

She stands and spins the chair around in case Cal wanted to sit and process, then heads for the door.

Sentinels?" The word means nothing to Kitty. She looks at both Rachel and Calvin as that seems to mean to the both of them. At the request from Jean, she nods. "I can do that, but it'll take awhile to go through everything. It's not going to be an immediate thing." She sighs and returns to the computers, though she's certainly listening to the conversation going on between Calvin and Rachel. Adapting powers and the like sounds like something she's interested in eavesdropping in.

Rachel corrects Calvin, "In the future, one that no longer exists, I'm not from another reality. Yes, we had Sentinels but not like these. It means, the future could become even worse than the one I originally came from." Cal's question of adapting brings back bad memories, "They had suppressors to cancel out our powers, most of us got used to using any weapons we could when in a fight."

«I'll get them together. Love you Mom.» She doesn't stand up, way too exhausted.

"In your timeline then." Cal corrects, nodding at what she says. Jean gets a nod as she departs but his attention is really focused on Rachel at the moment. "It could mean that but it could also mean it's better." he points out. "This timeline has already branched from the one that formed yours it seems. And we can always try to influence it as well. Kitty, we need all the information on these things possible. Follow the money. We might need to ask SHIELD for help too since it could involve the military and government."

"I'd make sure you talk to Dad - - Cyclops before you do anything like that, he went to talk to Professor Xavier already and let him know what's happening." Rachel covered a yawn from escaping her mouth again, "I have no doubt it's going to get better though, it's just frightening when things like this pop up. We have to make sure it gets better." She still doesn't agree with the fact that they didn't just destroy the facility but she understood now thanks to Scott.

"Of course." Cal agrees. "But we both know we need to do everything possible to head off a future where government sanctioned Sentinels become active en masse. That's one reason I pushed the idea of the Gold Team so hard. Good public opinion is vital to that. We'll see what Kitty turns up first though." He gives the young computer expert a look as she pounds away at the keyboard. "I'm going to go program some Danger Room scenarios. We might need them." Nodding to Rachel, he's gone in a *BLINK*

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