Throwing her to the Wolves

June 30, 2015:

Rachel returns from Bahrain and goes to tell Scott and Jean what happened. A plan is authorized that if failed, could have consequences; lasting consequences.

Xavier Institute

Cyclops' Office

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Rachel had returned from her trip to Bahrain only the night before, hopefully Scott had gotten the note about the trip in his super busy state presently; or she might be in for a talk about running off on her own.

She sensed out for her dad with her telepathic abilities, trying to locate him now that she was rested and could think clearly.

Of course, where else would Scott Summers be but working away late in his office. Rachel sent out a series of soothing thoughts subtly to her father, mentally soothing him a little before arriving; not for any particular reason other than to help with the stress he was undoubtedly dealing with in managing so many at such a tumultuous time.

Knocking on the door before opening it, Rachel took a few steps in the room and smiled, "Dad, I know you're busy but we really need to talk."


The soothing effect had been beneficial. Ever since the madness in the medlab, Scott has been beyond edgy. Rumor has it he verbally bit the head off his orthodontic surgeon in Salem Center when he'd gone to have his missing tooth repaired, and there are whisperings amongst the student body that are backed by an increase in detentions, an increase in homework, and a sharper edge to his grading methods.

So, by the time Rachel arrives, Scott's posture has changed from a hunch to a more relaxed lean. He's turned away from the uncharacteristically messy desk, to gaze out into the starry sky with a blank expression.

"Rachel." His voice is a bit hoarse as he turns around in his chair to smile at her. "Hey. You're fine. Come in, and please, sit down. Close the door. It's been a revolving shit show of angry staff and parents today, the silence is soothing."


Rachel erects a small telekinetic bubble, invisible around the room to block out further sounds and distractions for Scott; although in doing so the phoenix mark that appears over her left eye flares up for a moment, fading as the bubble becomes a subconscious effort to maintain.

Taking a seat and crossing one leg over the other, she reaches out to touch her father's mind; looking at the problems he's been dealing with and trying not to turn her frown upside down.

"I just got back from Bahrain dad. It's bad, it's really bad."

Rachel reaches into pocket and slips a cell phone onto the desk, it's got nothing on it except for a series of pictures.

The pictures show a fortified building that has been turned to near rubble including half-scrubbed bloodstains, "That's just the aftermath. With my powers, I was able to see what 'The Sentinel protocol' was firsthand."



The appearance of that Phoenix mark sets him on edge for a moment; the ordeal with Jean has left him emotionally scarred. In a knee-jerk response, his fingers clench together, but he relaxes again after only a few short seconds.

"I read something about the leader of Khandaq being involved?" he remarks. His facts are obscured, which is also unlike him, but it does frustrate him. The X-Men have grown so fast, he's beginning to feel as if he isn't leading them the way he should be.

Such ponderings are set aside, however. He tabs through the photos one by one, fighting off the temptation to stop. He needs to see every detail; the people suffering there deserve no less.

Looking up, he slides the phone back to Rachel, frowning on concern. "Is it what we've feared? Is it the next evolution of Centurion?"



"No, not particularly Khandaq and their King, the man known as Black Adam was not involved. As a small bonus though, he has offered to render his aid in any way my allies or I might need after I met him during Shift's memorial. Now that's he is dead, I can also tell you Shift was one of the ones who helped me shutdown Centurion." Rachel sighs a little, wishing she hadn't set her father on edge with the phoenix mark but she had no choice in the matter, it would always be with her.


Rachel Summers says, "The Bahrain invasion was initially conducted by an army of Quaraci Metahumans, the media calls them terrorists; but at the end of the day they were an army and they were powered people, mutants and metahumans like us. I'm sure to the Quraci's the Justice League: Avengers are terrorists, perspective doesn't matter." She pauses and looks almost scared.

"It's worse than the next evolution I think, Centurion may have just been an old project they were working on at this point, the work they did on these Sentinels would have taken decades"

Reaching out to take her father's hand she says, "I have a plan, but first you should see what the attack was like. They didn't even stand a chance, even with a precognitive mutant among their numbers.""


Listening helps to further set Scott at ease. He's at his best when digesting information, when making decisions. The decisions may haunt him, but he finds comfort in the ability to make them. It's all a bit odd, but it's the way he is.

Rachel's loyalty to Shift has him arching an eyebrow, then, a grin begins to form. He may have been upset with her for keeping information from him during the Centurion debacle, but there is certainly something to be said about trust and loyalty. It would seem that he approves, now, of her keeping that information from him. "What you did in District X, honoring the dead and their sacrifices? It was a good thing. I hope it brought his friends the peace they need."

Now, it seems he disagrees a bit on her thoughts about perspective. "Perspective does matter, Rachel. Not in the sense of morality, but in the sense of strategy and diplomacy. You have a deep understanding of this, I can see it, but when you're navigating those waters, it's important to understand the power that perspective can have."

Always the teacher.

There's nothing to be said yet about the Sentinel project. Too many questions, the answers to which are not immediately relevant. So, with a willing nod, he reaches for her hand and quietly says, "Show me."


"You're right, I just meant what the public or media's opinion of those people was, doesn't matter." Rachel smiled at her father, as always trusting in his wisdom, "I hope so, not everyone was as accepting with his passing as others were."

She lets the subject drop a little now and focussing on her father's mind she tries to make sure the images and scenes don't come too quickly.

Scott is able to see through someone's eyes and he realizes it is Rachel's as she makes her way through the rubble of the building, leaning down to pause by some bloodstains. Unlike other psychics who could use psychometry to gain information, she could literally see past events in detail related to the objects.

In this case, through Rachel's eyes Scott could see her leaning down to focus upon the bloodstains before everything changes:

There are a group of men, military in nature with a variety of powers calling out warnings to each other. Scott recognizes enough powered individuals by Rachel pointing out what they are, all in all; this was a force that had invaded a country and was larger than the X-Men.

Suddenly and without any chance for retaliation, purple and silver monstrosities (The Sentinels) attack with a variety of weaponry.

Powers are used to no avail and those fighting back are defeated without any contest. In a matter of minutes the battle is over.

Rachel allows the telepathic link to fade and says grimly, "They're more powerful than we feared. Definitely, not the Sentinels that Mimic and others have faced."

She sighs again and waits a moment for her father to digest all of this, "I have a plan, that might gain us some support in dealing with this through less violent means."


The images are observed in vivid detail. To his credit, Scott maintains a strong composure. The facts did not come as a surprise to him; Rachel had shown him her reality months ago, and the X-Men have always known that a development like this could be a possibility, even before the knowledge was granted to them by Calvin and Rachel.

He still finds his eyes growing wet at all of the death. The futility of it all. It weighs heavily upon him, and when the ordeal is over, he removes his glasses so that he might wipe his eyes, through clenched shut eyelids.

Once the glasses are replaced, he sniffles once, releases a very long sigh, then allows a silence to linger. It's eventually broken by a voice dry and heavy, drained of emotion.

"What do you have in mind, Rachel?"


Rachel couldn't help but be a bit surprised at her father's reaction but she didn't reach out to comfort him, she knew he would be fine, "The first aspect of it is simple, I'd like authorization to begin training a lot of the X-men in many of the things we discussed before including weapons and survival. Beast needs to be nudged to hurry up on Danger room repairs because we need it active, now more than ever. If he won't take help on it, you need to make him because it's our best tool right now."

She winks a little, "I also need authorization again to enter the base, I'm getting tired of doing overrides." After what she did last time, Scott would certainly be aware she had a few tricks up her sleeve when it came to the Institute and the Base.

"My plan though, I already have contacts courtesy of X-Red in the Chinese and Russian embassies. Word is, neither are very happy with what the United States is doing with the Sentinel Protocol. I'm going to meet with the ambassadors, hopefully without having to use powers, I'll convince them to get me a meeting with their representatives on the Security Council." She gulped a little, "It's risky, but if I can do it, when I'm there, I should be able to convince them to sanction a small team to conduct global investigations into the use of the Sentinels as a humans right violation. Politically, other nations with veto power are already in opposition to the United States and are going to want to stick it to them any way they can. This gets us on the inside and able to get information, if it works."


"I can light a fire under Hank's ass," notes Scott, acknowledging Rachel's wink with a little smirk of his own. He knows Hank well; he knows and trusts that the man is going over the damaged with a microscopic comb, which is for their safety and protection. A compromise will need to happen.

"Consider it done," he answers her, in regard to the security clearances. A quick trip to the X-Men base is all it will take. He doesn't even give it a second thought.

Rachel's plan is what Scott finds most surprising. He'd been hoping that someone might step up to the plate in handling some diplomatic affairs; it was a tough thing to ask of any X-Man. He was extended as far as he could, given his ongoing work with Nelson & Murdock and STAR Labs. Both the law firm and the tech giant were helping him on multiple fronts with the epidemic of smooth addicts.

Still, Rachel is offering herself to the wolves. His eyebrows shoot skyward, and he leans onto the desk, resting his arms and folding his hands. Rachel truly was changed on her journey with the Phoenix; not only is she visibly older, but she's gained a wisdom and persistence that takes years to grow. And, it couldn't have been at a better time, strategically.

Of course, the thought is an echo of how Scott missed her childhood, her teenage years. Now, he's missed another stage of her growth as a woman. It saddens him, to a point.

"Rachel… that's a very bold step. I think it's a fantastic plan, but you realize what this means. You can't go there as Rachel Summers; it would expose the school, through myself. You have to do this as a representative of the X-Men. Not Red Team; the X-Men itself. Are you sure you're ready to have the eyes of the world on you like this?"


"Thanks Dad." Rachel replies with a subtle smile as he starts to address what she's said; also probing out telepathically a little to eavesdrop on his thoughts, a bad habit she had picked up over her life.

Her lips purse as she considers his words.

It could also lead to her being declared an enemy of the United States if elements in the government got wind of it somehow.

"I know, it's a big risk and a big step. I would hope it doesn't go public, but if it does, I suppose I'm prepared for good or for ill. Until we have a voice among the people in power, we're not going to stand a chance." She tries to smile a little more for reassurance.


Emerging from her office, finally.. was a rather tired and frazzled Jean Grey. At least she's managed to keep up appearances as to not scare the others but.. it was clearly obvious that she was tired. Her arm remained bandaged from the ripping of her IV, hair swepted up in a high bun as she puts on a smile towards a passerby, engaging in very small chatter which has her pushing them out and off towards the dorms. Rachel and Scott were soon spotted there after, the gleam of the conversation heavy upon her mind as she wasn't actively listening but.. Rachel wasn't doing a very good job hiding it from her personal gene pool.

But, she doesn't have anything sound to offer; situations were getting dire. Her secrets were her own but first things first.


"Well," Scott answers, "you're absolutely right. We do need that voice, especially now. I'll make sure the senior members are aware."

That being said, he reaches over to put his other hand over Rachel's, smiling in a manner that is both proud of her, but sad. He'd have much rather seen her raised in a normal environment. None of this is in any way normal.

"Have you told -" He looks up when Jean enters his office. "- Jean?"

Scott immediately releases Rachel's hand and rises, going toward the door, mouth ajar. "Are… are you…"


One day, Rachel would have to show Scott what her childhood was like; the happy memories she had from a time that no longer existed at any point in time and space.

Rachel squeezes her father's hand back before he releases it, "I haven't directly but I'm pretty sure she was listening in anyways You know us telepaths."

She stands as well and moves towards Jean but giving the pair some space to reunite.

Jean might hear her thinking, 'I hope they kiss.'


Jean looked mildly surprised at Scott's state. A look of worry and tears nearly drawing within her eyes as she bites it back by snapping them shut and shaking her head enough that a wisp of red falls from her bun. Her hands lift to press a little beneath her eyes, sniffling ever so slightly as she lifts and lowers her chin to put on the utmost serious face.

"I.. am…" Her face scrunches up, then falls flat again, her hands lifting to press flat against the air, making a slight rotating motion along with odd tilts of her head from side to side. "..a robot-from-planet-blah-blah-take-me-to-your-leader.."

Okay. Nerd.

She does relent, a pained smile upon her face as she takes a step forward to slip arms underneath his, lifting upon the tips of her toes to press a kiss to his chin. "Calm, dear heart." Besides, who else could make a really, really corny joke?

And yes. She's heard it. So she's assaulting his chin for good measure.

« We're going flying tomorrow, Little Red. You and me.»


There comes a long sigh of relief, and Scott welcomes the embrace without any further hesitation. "You're such a dork," he murmurs into her hair, but the words come with such deep affection. "I'm sorry I couldn't sl -" But the words are cut off when she assaults his chin. Scott holds her close and eventually tilts her face up so that he can plant a smacker right on her lips.

"Our daughter is going to throw herself to the wolves," he nearly breathes. "Right into the diplomatic meat grinder. Have you told her how crazy she is?"


Rachel blushed a little watching her 'parents' together, deeply regretting that they weren't already married; but that was a personal thing and no matter what she knew things would never be how she remembered it.

"You're both total dorks. It's the diplomats who are going to be in trouble, not me." She said with a grin.

She stepped towards her mother before smiling, "It's nice to see you back awake mom. Any nicotine cravings lately?" Wondering if her mother remembered them smoking in the bar while listening to Bush.

Reaching around she wraps her arms around both Scott and Jean, whispering, "I love you both. Try to stop getting hurt." She almost wished she had a picture of toothless Scott.


"I know. I heard you." Is all she could say to Scott, before that smacker is planted right upon her lips. She holds it as long as she was able, until he speaks and a nod of her head is given. "I know. And I know she knows we think she's crazy. But.. look at her Scott.."

She draws her gaze to her lovely one, her arm reaching out as Rachel moves to hug her, her head shaking slightly.

"I don't know what we've taught you in our other lives, Rachel. But please. Be cautious. Be careful. And no matter what, be kind. Accept them, even if they would not accept you. Put yourself in their shoes, even when they deny you."

She draws Rachel in, laughing just a little, pecking her right upon her temple. "No.. no nicotine.."

And she feels it, that need for all of them to be safe in the matter of aversity. "I'm taking Scott away from here. France. Like we promised each other. After we know that everyone is safe, you crazy girl."


Nicotine cravings? Scott looks from Rachel to Jean; he just can't help the chiding expression from forming upon his face. Gambit and Logan were the only ones exempt from the unofficial No-Smoking X-Policy.

He looks back toward Rachel then, and a mirthful smile spreads across his face. "I'm always gonna be over protective of you, Rachel. If any of those greasy bastards try anything, I'll fly over there and eyebeam them right in the balls."

Classy.

Still embracing Jean, Scott looks back to her and asks the question that has been driving him up the wall for the past two days. "Jean, what happened?"


~Flying, where to?~

For a moment, Rachel considered telling her dad about their adventures in smoking in her mom's head but it was best kept their little joke.

"France sounds like a good idea, nice and romantic. The pair of you NEED a break, especially while you still have a chance." She seems to like the idea, she knew the X-Men would manage without them for a few days.

Poking her dad in the ribs she smiles up at him, "And I love you all the more for being protective Dad but seriously.." She looks to her mother, "What happened? That xorn thing? You?" She was in the thick of it and she still had no idea.


Jean wanted to curl up and die really. Her kid pretty much just told a hidden secret, and it made her cringe. Long as she leaves Gavin out of it, everyone will be fine. "Ahh.." Jean starts, ready to explain, until the threats were made and she was totes off the hook. Her shoulders slump just a little, the sweat drop forming within her brain as she glances up towards Rachel. "I'll… not stop your father." She says sternly, with a sharp nod of her head.

She leans against Scott a little then frowns, glancing back towards Rachel and her beau. "Nathaniel and I were testing out the Danger Room for new upgrades along with Hank. And everything went haywire. It was like.. the programs were amped up to level twenty and even the emergency stop button wouldn't work." It was chilling, though there was an untold thrill in it all.

"Hank had to tear the consoles apart but by then it was a little too late." «And there's more.» Was spoken mentally, from her to Scott. The more of which she did not mention aloud.

"But, Hank came to me the other day and said that he's found something inside the Danger Room consoles that.. really isn't supposed to be there."

Though.. Rachel's words had her wincing, along with a shake of her head. That story? She wasn't ready to tell yet, not aloud. So she speaks aloud a different subject. "I want to go flying over Coney Island."


"France." Scott seems troubled. To take a vacation now, of all times, was asinine. Rachel's point has some real validity though; with the Sentinel threat looming upon them, the time for sabbatical, however brief, may soon pass.

Not yet committed to that one.

The information shed upon the Danger Room has Scott looking back toward Rachel with visible worry. "Something that shouldn't be there?" He turns back to Jean. "Did he expound, or is he still trying to figure it out? We need that facility operational. Quickly."

And safely. Goes without saying, right?

Another look is given to Rachel. "Five days, and no more. And we will not be leaving our X-Communicators at home."


"Coney Island sounds like fun, we can go before you two lovebirds head out to France." Rachel stared at her father, "It will be the most amazing five days you've had in years and when you get back you're going to be all focussed, rested and ready to go."

~Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to.~ She apologizes for making the joke, she was totally not trying to share secrets!


Jean shakes her head as she looks up towards Scott. "He pretty much said that it was something that would get us all in a lot of trouble, or make us very, very, very.. very.. very.. very rich." She winces a little. She lowers her voice a little, set unease. "The Danger room is already a valuable piece of technology but hearing that from Hank? It's a little troublesome. But he's almost done with it. He's been working non stop to get it operational."

She couldn't help but smile a little at Scott and Rachel both, shaking her head. "In all honesty, I'm not prepared to leave until you return from overseas, Rachel. At least until everything is dealt with and there's a tiny bit of peace to be had around here." She leans into Scott again, a slight yawn stifling her lips. It's about time really, insomnia was a pain and sleep was going to be had soon.

"What do you think? Once everything.. everything is settled. Can we go? Five days? Oui Oui?"


So much delay. So many times they have made plans, only to delay them. "No," he answers, turning to face Jean fully. "There may never be a good time. Rachel's right. We'll leave in two days, and let the senior members handle things in our absence." Then, he smirks.

"We'll take one of Worthington's learjets."


"It's settled then." Giving Scott and Rachel one final cheek kiss, she makes her intentions known by yawning heavily, then wanders away from to two, straight to the bedroom to sleep.

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