Supporting The Retreat

February 26, 2016:

Rowan and Ulani meet up with the Mutant ambassadors to discuss what's happening

Beach - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The Surface would probably sleep less easily at night if they really knew about the kinds of firepower being marshalled beneath the waves right now. War on a scale rarely seen in human history, with technology never before seen in human history, is raging under the sea. The stakes: nothing less than the fate of the planet itself. It might be galling for those heroes used to such threats emerging and focusing on land that the problem and remedy both are in a world so hostile to humanity that mankind has barely begun to scratch its watery surface. If they knew that is.

At present the Blue and the Wild Tribes of the seas west of Australia are cruising toward a Lemurian colony that lies in the frigid waters south of New Zealand. In the next day or so there’s likely to be a horrific fight. Not tonight, though. Tonight Rowan and Ulani have slipped back to the east coast of the United States which unlike the east coast of Australia is not full of rabid, venomous things that want to kill people (unless you’re in Gotham) and signalled one of their new allies. It’s important to keep up in times like these on the pulse of the surface world and with the Blue’s attention solidly diverted to their own lands and those waves beyond that’s been difficult.

It’s also a good idea to keep your allies appraised of your own actions. And when they happen to be an endangered minority, to check in on them and make sure they’re still breathing. The signal point is a lonely stretch of beach on Staten Island. It’s winter, and still relatively early morning, both things that tend to keep prying surfacer eyes away from the water. Since some modicum of discretion is advisable at the moment, Rowan isn’t a dragon, though he had been just a few minutes ago. No, at the moment he’s just a muddy haired young looking man in jeans with an odd looking coral bracer on his right arm. “Think they got the signal?”

A modicum of discretion may be advisable but when you’ve just traversed that many miles under the water, and don’t have an adaptive clothing belt, it’s difficult to have ‘Surfacer’ clothing close at hand. Which is why, the shorter brunette female who rises from the water next to Rowan is dressed in … next to nothing, really. Strangely, she doesn't seem to feel the cold of the morning, just strides from the water to the beach.

“I do, and I think they’ll be here. We are a little earlier than we indicated.”

“And we have to be up, out of bed, and presentable to strangers at this unGodly hour of the morn exactly why, Ms. Grey?” Emma hisses a tad venomously (just not lethally; we’re not in Australia) as she glances ahead, checking on the progress of the dull grey SUV she’s riding in the back of at the moment, checking to be sure that her driver is doing a good job given she is currently ‘driving’ her driver, making very sure none of this will imprint on his long term memory. She is loathe to be out of bed at this hour, let alone to be dressed in — *shudder* — some color OTHER than her preferred white, piled into anything less than a limousine, and itself NOT WHITE (why, Lord, try poor Emma this way?) while heading to Staten Island of all benighted places.

Of course, Emma is well aware that they are up at this hour and doing this because their allies beneath the waves have sent a signal, requesting a meeting. And Emma has been ‘volunteered’ into the role of Ambassador for the Xers with the Blue. And given this meeting needs to be covert, showing up in one of her usual fleet of stark white vehicles - complete with personalized license plate - would be a very bad idea. So would showing up in her usual attire. Sore thumb, much? So, like it or not, Emma is being practical. And let all the world fear the ferocity of an Emma Frost denied her ostentation.

The SUV pulls up as close to the beach as possible, and purposefully is parked to block most of the sightlines leading to the beach and its current occupants. The driver gets out, eyes scanning the horizon in all directions before he opens the rear door, offering a hand to each woman in turn as they exit the vehicle. Then he moves into place and keeps watch. It’s not obvious, but the man is armed, and prepared to do his duty to protect not just the women themselves, but their allies and their secrets. He is rather well paid to do just that as needed.

Emma waits for Jean to be ready, and then starts the walk out onto the beach to join Rowan and Ulani, offering a slight inclination of her covered platinum blonde head towards them as they draw close enough to speak without raising her voice. “Morning to you both.” Good? Not hardly. But it is morning. “I hope today finds you well?” It’s a conversational gambit; it’s not like she’s holding her breath for good news.

“Isn’t that part of the alliance that we’ve formed with the Blue? When they call, we come, vice versa?” Jean was really no nonsense. In fact, it was nearly the same attire that she wore when she was out hunting for Logan that she wears now.

But laundered.

Dry cleaned. Folks get the picture.

Pair of chucks, NYC hoodie, T-shirt with jeans. Nothing suspicious right? She was just a girl looking to get home who could probably turn the entire island into lemmings with just a thought. But she was quiet for the rest of the way. Sparing angry looks that may come from Emma, or an occasional glance in whatever rear view mirror to be had; she kept her gaze pointed and out of the window until the locale was reached. Knowing damn well that the wind that blows would chill her to the bone, a little hint of heat from the ‘inner fire’ was summoned to warm the two women as they exited the vehicle with the ‘guards’ help.

EDITORS NOTE: We use the term guard loosely because he’s probably one of Emma’s trained killers. But we digress.

Jean didn’t really offer up any greetings. It could have been the morning coffee that was missed or the healthy breakfast that she had planned. Or the five nights of her not sleeping the correct amount of hours that a regular person (mutant or otherwise) needed to sleep. Thankfully there was a decent amount of foundation upon her skin to hide the rings around her eyes.

But nevertheless, she remained polite and quiet. After all, Emma was their ambassador.

“Miss Grey. Miss Frost.” The sight of the more sensibly clothed of the two Blue may not be familair to Emma. Jean’s certainly seen Rowan once or twice without his scales, though. The voice, however, that’s unmistakeable. Same voice as the dragon that Emma once told Jean was going to eat them. Clearer, a bit higher, but definitely the same voice.

And the same mind behind it, if she bothers to look. A mind with a rather curious amount of anti-telepathy conditioning. These things happen when you come from a world where you’re at war with psychic cyborgs.

Long story.

“We’re doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, thank you Miss Frost. I trust you are also both well?” Maybe the dragon-commando has learned some manners from the diplomat-noble at his side? Dare we hope. “You remember Ulani, I trust. We’ve some dire news, I’m afraid. The Blue are about to engage in a rather large fight in the next day or so. Ulani can give you some of the details but we can’t promise that it will remain quiet enough to go unnoticed.” Certainly, several previous battles have been noticed, if only by the Navies who have thus far kept things on the downlow. Sort of.

“Emissary Ulani thought it’d be a good idea to see if you anticipated the need for aid in the near future. Our forces are heavily engaged and I remember when Atlantis… staged its rather unfortunate abortive invasion there was a wave of hysteria in certain quarters aimed at those on the surface who were… different. And therefore suspect.”

“I told you they got the signal” Ulani murmurs to Rowan as the car appears and the women approach. “Ms Frost, Ms Grey” both women may get the vision of another mutant from her head, a wave of concern for the man to go with it. “It is morning, yes.” She’s not missed the lack of the ‘good’ in Emma’s greetings and she really can’t fault the woman either. It’s been a long few days for the Blue pair.

“As Rowan says, we will be engaging with The Lord in the next day. Somewhere in the Indian Ocean, to the west of Australia.” It’s vague, but gives the general location “The Wild Tribes will be joining with us. Uh, the waterfolk of that area. ” There’s more than just one waterfolk community, it seems. “And one of our fleets have been deployed to aid that battle. We’ve the added concern though, of protecting the refugee’s as they flee from that area.”

This battle is going to be a delicate balancing act. “We’re assuming that if we engage with The Lord, it will provide a sufficient distraction to get people clear.”

“However, it’s going to be noisy down there. More noisy than the last two engagements we had and I … we … can’t guarantee the fighting won’t affect The Surface.” Rowans concerns are valid there - the mutants and metas saw some backlash from the Atlantean attack previously “What support will you require of us, in this time? I will see that it is brought to bear.”

Emma listens to both, having no question of whom she is meeting with. Rowan did not assume is non-draconic form when they met, but she rarely uses just her eyes to identify someone. Emma does not interrupt; she trusts both of them have important things to say, and she’d best listen to all of it, and absorb it all, before trying to formulate a response. As such, she does not speak immediately, even after Ulani finishes. But she isn’t too terribly long before doing so.

“If you will pardon my saying so, Ulani, I believe you may have that a mite reversed.” Emma begins. “Would it not be better to ask instead, what can we do or provide to assist you? We are in our homes, and relatively safe. Not perfect, granted, but we rarely are.” Realist, Emma Frost. “By comparison, you have geared up, and go to face all-out war to try to rescue these refugees. Should we try to mobilize resources to help escort them to safety, or provide medical and other assistance?”

Emma is no altruist, but she understands how alliances work. They joined with the Blue because yes, they need bigger, better resources that cannot be tracked with mutant-scanning sensors, that can bring great force to bear if their enemies come calling. All to the good. But they also joined with the Blue because the Blue have needs, and are endangered as much as mutantkind. Their allies do them no good if they lose. And said allies are far more likely to provide potentially prickly aid in the future if they have received an equal comparative measure of aid previously.

“Or, would the best help we can provide be to assist in … distracting and redirecting the forces of the surface world’s navies, so that they do not interfere or complicate matters? Or help to be sure far fewer become aware of your engagement?” Emma inquires. And then stops, expectantly.

At least he isn’t eating this time. Jean remarks. Though, her thoughts were directed to Emma and Emma only.

With a turn away from the three, she surveys the ocean, stepping away from the pow-wow even though the surface thoughts were implanted with an essence of her as her way of hearing the current events without being too close to hear. Piggy-backing the masses. A trick a five year old could do.

Hands sink into her hoodie, her lips pursed tightly throughout. Though, a slight frown is given and her eyes cut behind her to the back of Emma’s head.

That should be a given. The only reason I see that they came to us was to warn. I’ll take up that mantle myself and make preparations. I’ll find a suitable person to take over as acting Headmistress in my stead. Unless you…

A smirk plays upon Jean’s lips. And then she turns away.

It’d be a mistake to think that the Blue’s reason for a visit was entirely altruistic. They value their mutant allies to be sure and it’s probably even honest to say that the ones who have had contact with them value them as people, but alliances between powers are formed on mutual benefit, not altruism. It’s the hard calculus of survival in a world where power is the only sure means of security.

“If you can arrange for medical supplies and aid to be available we can provide you with some islands to perform it on. The Lemurians will be… surprised, I think, to be receiving aid from surfacers and I can’t promise that they’ll be entirely polite about it, but they also won’t forget it. Any diversion of the navies would be welcome as well, but there was something we wished to ask of you to act upon on our behalf…”

The dragon blue shoots Ulani a cautious look before turning back to Emma and Jean. “A moment if you will, Miss Grey. I think you’ll want to hear this.” Since of all the X-Men it suits these two perhaps most of all. Not that Rowan knows that. He just knows that Jean is a potent psychic and that that’s relevant. “The Lord of the Deep has an immense psychic presence. We theorize that it maintains control of its more feral minions in this fashion and it’s certainly true that we’ve seen it exert that talent in battle as well. But it’s not all powerful, nor is it omnipresent. Even a mind as vast and potent as that creature’s has limits. More than that, the touch of it’s mind seems to be innately destructive. For what it’s worth we believe that it’s too alien for anything of this realm to safely and sanely have extended contact with. It’d take an incredibly strong mind just to receive direct orders from it and not break into uselessness. For this reason we believe that The Lord of the Deep attenuates its presence by acting through psychic ‘nodes’. Sort of… adapters that it uses so it doesn’t overload it’s armies and it’s cult. We’ve been searching for evidence of these nodes - they’d be people, high ranking members of the Cult, probably - under the waves but we haven’t found any.”

The dragon-warrior gestures to the woman beside him as he keeps going. “Ulani and I have a theory as to why. The Blue are not naturally psychically gifted. We’re not telepaths, we’re hydrokinetics. Surfacers are much more likely to have the kind of gifting that The Lord of the Deep needs to use someone as a ‘node’. More than that, by operating its psychic command network from the Surface, it places it largely beyond our ability to find, let alone destroy. If there’s any way you can search for evidence of the Lord’s psionic projectors… and act against them if you find them…” Curtailing that beast’s ability to command its forces would help immensely.

“What you say is true, Ms Frost.” Ulani admits. The Blue are certainly stretched. Not knowing who has been subverted to The Cult has meant that they can only rely on their Eighth Fleet and the Blue Elite and even then, the Blue Envoy isn’t totally convinced they’re clean.

“We can set up triage and staging stations at certain islands for any assistance you can bring to us, there.” The wry look on her face likely speaks volumes “But as Rowan says, the Lemurians and members of the other Wild Tribes may be surprised. They’re … more reclusive than The Blue.” Which is certainly saying something. “If I can, I will detail liaisons from my own people to aid you.” That … is going to be a long shot at best. The Blue will need all their fighters in the fiel—- err, water, when the battle is finally joined.

Falling silent as Rowan details their next concern, she watches the two other women carefully, gauging their response to the information and request.

~ Too true. That is preferable, I agree. ~ Emma agrees with Jean. She makes no attempt to reject Jean's link to her surface thoughts, and even appreciates that the other woman offers her what amounts to a release valve for the pressures of being 'polite' and 'friendly', which can get to be so trying for Emma. She doesn't really have better angels of her nature, so pretending she does gets tiring in a hurry without a way to vent.

~ No. You will be needed elsewhere. I have the funds and connections to hire professional field medic personnel who can be directed to the locations required. ~ Emma offers. And yes, that means she's going to outlay a rather substantial amount of money. She must consider it a worthy investment for some reason. ~ And you are //not laying that mantle on my shoulders as you have Elizabeths. I've had quite enough of your ambushes, thank you.~//

~ Ah. Here it is. I knew there had to be a better reason. ~ Emma comments to Jean, as Rowan gets to the point.

"Very well, then. Jean and I, perhaps others, will accompany the medical teams to the islands." Emma responds, apparently without clearing it with Jean. The redhead wanted alliances, so Emma is going to make that happen. Everyone else can either get on board that alliance train … or get run the Hell over. "We will scan for the telepathic effects, and see if we can localize one or more of these relay projector personnel. If we can, we will bring along resources to deal with them, so that you can concentrate your personnel on the battle beneath the waves, where our resources would be far less useful."

‘Miss Grey, I think you’ll want to hear this.’

Her attention was pulled from the rushing waters surrounding the isle, the smirk losing it’s play to draw upon an even tone gaze as she slowly approaches the group.

You do know I know how to multi-task.

Her words go through Emma’s mind through the discussion, which nearly falls by the wayside if it wasn’t for her abrupt stop, her head turning just enough with a frown visible upon her face. But still, she says nothing. This was Emma’s show.

“Shall we reach the isles before the impending attack or otherwise? I think it would do us all good to be there and disable anyone with these..” She gestures around. “..’nodes’ before the real battle begins.”

Headmistress Frost. Jean comments, though no show of a smirk appears upon her lips.

You have to admit, it does have a very, very nice ring to it.


It’s probably a good thing Rowan can’t hear the internal conversation happening between the two mutant women. Then again, he’s regularly grateful he can’t hear the internal monologue of the other frightening red headed telepath he knows, so… there’s that.

“We’re not expecting instant results on The Lord of the Deep’s psychic network. Indeed the fact that you are even willing to look is a big help. If you can find any of the minions he’s using to project prior to the upcoming battle that’d be helpful, but either way it’s something we feel needs to be done to give us a better long term chance of beating this thing.”

As for the rest, Rowan glances over to Ulani. “If you can direct personnel to the west end of the Indian Ocean or perhaps the island of Madagascar and soon, that’d be ideal. The refugees should be reaching there soon and having aid in place will go a long way toward alleviating their plight. Honestly, even if we’ve divined our enemy’s intent correctly I’m still expecting he’ll attempt to attack those columns and take who he can.” So there’ll be injuries, he’s sure of it.

“In short, if you can do both, wonderful. If you can only do one, it would benefit us most immediately to have medical help on standby, and The Lord of the Deep’s network taken down after that.” It’s not necessary of course that the two mutant women, or any mutants at all, be present to render aid to the fleeing Wild Tribes civilians. The Blue will ensure that they know what surfacers helped them. That’s organizational stuff, though, that Rowan figures is best decided by those most impacted by it.

“We’re also authorized to offer… protective aid. We could station a small force in a neutral location not too far off the coast if you think you might need them in the future.” It’s an arrangement the Blue would like to make anyway, but they’re stretched for a moment, so some prioritizing must take place.

Ulani’s already voiced her concerns over the fleeing refugees. It’s why they’re leaving part of Eighth Fleet to protect the retreat. “I would use the distraction to our advantage and attack the column, yes.” She’s fully expecting that to occur. “Your immediate aid with supporting and aiding those refugees would be the priority.”

“We believe these ‘nodes’ are not just localised to the area. The Lords reach is far too wide for that to be the case. Anything you find, anywhere, that you can … address, would be beneficial in the long term. However for this conflict, I think taking the ‘nodes’ early, would not be wise. Identify them, yes, but wait till the moment we strike to disable them.” Glancing to Rowan “It will leave The Lord and his minions ‘deaf’ at a critical moment. BUT really, that’s not something we’re planning for and if we had to choose…” Well they’ve both said it.

“I’ve been working with a number of … Elite Blues, who will have a better understanding of The Surface than most of my people. We would offer them as part of this protective force, in the future. For now, they will be needed though.”

"We'll be there as fast as a few jets can get us, and our personnel, on site. It will help us tremendously in trying to locate these nodes if wen can track the telepathic connections between them and the lower echelons. The best place for us to pick that up is at the site of the battle, or at least nearby." Emma answers. "Both of you should go. Don't get left behind when your people need you. The medical aid and supplies will be there, as promised, and so will we. If we don't find the nodes, we'll at least get a read on their signals and that should help us in hunting them down other times, and other places."

Back at the SUV, the driver and guard opens up the SUV and gets the engine started, warming it up and preparing. Then he climbs back out, going back to actively sweeping the area with his own senses, looking for any trouble as he awaits his precious cargo of passengers.

“We can do both.” Is the only thing Jean had to offer up. Her arms drawn up to fold across her chest, then down into a non-confrontational stand of hands stuffed within her back pocket. She wasn’t getting antsy, but there was that deep and driven need for battle. And to know that it was coming soon had that certain need within to start making preparations as soon as they were able.

At least we have an ace in our pockets. Jean mentally murmurs, her gaze canting towards the sky in mid-thought, the entire meeting as it were relayed to the one within the mansion as if she were testing her own reach and how far it could go.

Just how far could it? That was a question for another day. But that very thought hadn’t crossed her mind until tonight.

With a smile as Emma makes for departures, Jean takes that step forward to clasp Ulani and Rowan both upon the shoulder if they choose not to move. “Be safe.” Is the only thing that she offers up, then turns with hands stuffed within her hoodie to approach the SUV as soon as the nod was cleared from Emma’s guard.

Rowan, at least, doesn’t. “You as well, Miss Grey.” He says quietly. And then they’re both off. Reservations of some Blue he’s heard aside, the Mutants have proven to be extremely helpful thus far and he for one is convinced they’ll need the help if they’re going to win this.

“Thank you for your help, Miss Frost. I can promise it won’t be forgotten.” Even what they’ve offered is incredible. Far more than the Blue would have been able to do on their own in the present circumstances. But then, that’s what allies are for, is it not? A shoulder to lean on, and a strong sword arm at your side in need.

They may hear, the two mutant women, the dragon turn to the water-warrior as they depart. “Let’s go Ulani. There’s blood in the water.”

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