Virus Hunt Gaza Strip: Blue on Blue

August 27, 2014:

Following up information recovered at the Red Crescent aid tent in Syria, a SHIELD team moves on a Hydra facility in the Gaza, only to find that they're not alone.

Gaza, North Strip, Slums

A mutant enclave in the town of Gaza, featuring a large and conspicuously avoided two story building at the edge of the main drag.

Characters

NPCs: Hydra Security

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Gaza, West Bank.

There's a mutant population in the North Gaza Strip. It's not as big as M-Town (most are not after all), but it may still be big enough to have prompted some Hydra activity. That's what's brought Jericho, Logan, Sam and May down here. The crowds on the street are positively milling about as the hacker tries to track some coded network traffic. "Yep… it's around here somewhere. And by the sounds of the network ping they're both active and on alert. Maybe they've figured out we've already been sniffing around. There may be some resistance."

The cyborg turns to give Logan a curious look. "Remind me, again, what your specialty is? I'm having trouble keeping track of all the unique talent May brought along." The fact that Logan seems to know May puts Jericho at ease, ish, but he's still been fairly quiet. That's about as much as he's said to Logan at all right there.

*

Terse seems to work well enough for Logan— he's not been inspired to be overly conversational himself, mostly sticking to the outskirts and taking measure of the other operatives hitching their wagons to this little shindig. About the only one he's actively tried to make friends with is, well, Falcon's falcon. It's probably surprising no one that the standoffish runt seems to get along well with SHIELD's resident agent by that description— to the point he apparently gets away with calling her 'Mel'. That he seems to know Cap? Might be a bit mysterious, as well.

Hours cooped up on the Bus with this motley crew has left Logan with just one word to speak about the probability of HYDRA resistance: "Good." The feral Canuck polishes off a cigarillo and scans the streets, tapping the wide brim of his cowboy hat lower over his eyes, casting a long shadow across his features to match the stubbly, proverbial one creeping in below. "Close quarters combat, infiltration, more or less anything that isn't real nice." Wolverine offers up simply, and a bit gruffly, matching the cyborg's gaze evenly. Point him in the right direction and there won't be active resistance long.

*

Sam Wilson tilts his head back to track the movements of Redwing, who he's got on aerial recon duties. Except for an oddly elaborate harness on his 'backpack,' the black man is wearing an outfit that shouldn't attract too much attention, although in an area like this the line between civilian and military garb is pretty blurred. His arms are crossed over his chest, as he scans the roadway for any sign of hostility or suspicion directed at them. "So what's the play?" he asks. "Piss 'em off and see what anthill acts like it's been kicked?"

*

Melinda May is there with the rest of this just wonderful little group, her usual dark attire swapped out for something a bit paler in color (browns and tans) in deference to the weather, though she has eschewed the somewhat common local custom of wearing a hijab. She figured if any part of Gaza wouldn't bat an eyelash about that, it'd be this area. And besides, if anyone of them would draw attention, it'd most likely be Logan. And, for lack of anything else to chat about, she follows Sam's gaze up toward the falcon overhead. "Have you tried the squab with him yet?"

*

Some days ago, a number of small, moth-like mechanical sniffing devices were released in the area. A result of a certain X-Man named Cyclops, and his team of vigilantes known (sort of) as the X-Men. Blue Team, to be precise.

Of the many thousands of devices released across the globe, one such device pings the X-Men network. West Gaza. Within moments, Scott was aboard the Blackbird, headed for the Holy Land. Garbed in a tactical suit of sandy tan and brown, he parachuted into the region about an hour ago and had been tracking the device, keeping to rooftops along the way. When the rooftops no longer provided ample cover, he removed a pair of jeans, a black t-shirt, and a simple ball cap from the backpack upon his shoulder. The backpack was ditched, and he made his way to ground level in silence and solitude, by way of a stairwell inside of a residential building.

"Storm," he says quietly into the ear com fixed to his tactical visor, "I'm closing in on the position. Be ready for immediate recovery and dust off, in case this runs south."

Behind a dumpster, Cyclops crouches in the shadows, a watchful eye upon the targeted building. Behind his glasses, he observes the structure. All the while, he remains the epitome of silence, his breaths coming slow and steadily. Controlled; well trained.

*

"Well given that the place is likely on alert… I'd say the play is let me crash the power and phone lines and then go see what the naughty snakes are doing." Jericho grins. They've got the talent for it here. He steps away from the group and his traces flush amber. Moment's later his wings appear. "Give me two minutes. That's the building right there." Then he bounds away up toward the roof. Scott may well see the flash of amber in the sky.

The building Jericho has indicated is a large, two story, sprawling affair that looks… a bit out of place in the slums here. It's also being conspicuously avoided by the residents. Fenced off, watched by CCTV and well lit. It could be a police compound, except they already passed that. Certainly not a government building… so what is it?

True to his word, two minutes after he departs, the power in the building, and for about a block in every direction, abruptly flickers off.

"Aspect here. I've got their CCTV feeds now. Guards inside don't look quite normal, so watch it."

*

A simple nod confirms Jericho's play, for Wolverine's part. A couple hand signals indicate to May and Jericho that he intends to cut around back, ducking down the tight alleyway between a derelict tenement and the outer fence like he's just out for a stroll. All the while, he counts down in his head, coming remarkably close to a pitch perfect read on the timing.

A rock sails across the outer yard to dislodge the camera on his chosen approach vector in near-synchronicity with the drop in power, not relying on HYDRA not having a backup generator for their security systems. It comes in tandem with an all-out sprint that's surprisingly swift and silent for a man of Wolverine's stature, heading for the side entrance near the back. He uses an amazing, all-purpose skeleton key to unlock the door and dislodge the knob. The key sounds like SNIKT.

*

"He loved it — but you should have seen how the Hawkeyes reacted," Sam answers May, wearing a lopsided grin that splits the difference between amused and abashed. Raptors are not known for their table manners. On the way back, he'll probably have to feed Redwing in the interrogation room to spare the archers' delicate culinary sensibilities. As he talks about the bird, he glances up at him, then frowns at some obscure deviation in the falcon's flight pattern. "Heads up. Someone else is watching this building. Sniper?"

He's set to ferret out this unknown party when Jericho cuts the power, eliminating that option. If he and May don't breach right now, Logan's pincer is going to be missing one of its claws. The veteran grimaces, then moves decisively across the street, taking a zigzag path and hoping the confusion the blackout has caused will provide enough cover. Along the way, he draws a pistol from inside his jacket and screws a suppressor onto the barrel, then stops by the entrance just long enough for May to get in position so that they can burst through the door simultaneously.

"Why am I not surprised," May replies dryly to the man's description of his falcon's eating habits causing reactions. Then she frowns at Sam's read of the bird's reaction to someone else in the area. She pulls two dark cylinders from a pocket and with a snap, both extend into metallic batons. She moves at the same time Wilson does, this having been their prearranged plan. As soon as she's in position, she nods to Sam then kicks the door open with extreme prejudice. Maybe she hopes someone was right behind it.

*

"Storm…" Cyclops reaches down into his back pocket, watching as something amber flashes off into the air. "We may not be alone here." Beat. "Negative. We need to see how this plays out." Another pause, this one longer. "Exactly."

It isn't until the power flickers out that Scott retrieves something from his back pocket. The tactical visor, and a pair of gloves. He removes the ruby glasses, eyes clinched shut until the visor is in place. The glasses are placed into his back pocket, the gloves stretched over his fingers.

Each of his fingers rap against their respective palms. The visor flashes a bit with every percussive strike, but no optic blasts are released. It would seem that the 'safety' is still on. Reaching up with his left hand, he adjusts a dial and engages infrared scanning, before peeking out from behind the dumpster and scanning the building.

There are movements upon the ground, however, which dare his attention. Being the expert strategist that he is, Scott can recognize regular pedestrian traffic from… otherwise.

"Definitely not alone," he speaks into the earcomm. "Execute radio silence."

And still, he waits. Let's see how this plays out for another few precious moments.

*

Jericho breaks in on the SHIELD radio frequencies. "Okay, moving in from the top. Response squads in some very heavy looking armor en route to your location Logan." There's a 'brrrrrrrrrraaap' of AK fire over the radio. "Two down. Look like office space up top mostly. If there's heavy machinery or computers, I'd bet on your floor or the basement. No sign of Sam's other, yet. Will keep you advised."

Logan can already hear the intervention squad pounding toward him. Given that they're in functionally light power armor, it's not at all subtle. Fortunately it's nowhere near on the level of Iron Man. Strength enhancing though by the looks of the large guns they all have.

*

By the time those suits of trundling power armor reach the breach, there's no Canucklehead to be seen. At least, not at the ground level. Those big guns and advanced scanners no doubt leveled on the hallway, there's, seemingly, absolutely nothing for the HYDRA powered infantry to fire at. Given another second, maybe two or three, the professionals would complete their scan and notice the signature pressed tight into the nook of the ceiling and wall— but they don't have that long. Wolverine falls like a rock (if rocks were propelled by stubby, overmuscled legs) in a flurry of flashing adamantium and snarling teeth.

For that moment of efficient counter-ambush, it's like the security forces are tin cans that fancy themselves the ancient enemy of the firearm. Their angles of fire serve to handicap them, forcing reacquisition of a suddenly close range target back amongst their fellows. Footlong razors of indestructible metal cleave armor like soft butter, sparks spraying as power conduits are skillfully sliced, dropping two before the Wolverine /launches/ himself up the barrel of the third's heavy cannon, ruining the thing as he climbs it claw by claw and kicks off straight into the alarmed operative's helmeted face. He doesn't start searching room by room, he sniffs at the air— machinery, computers, he looks for the distinctive scents and air conditioning ducts a meaningful operation would need, even in those first moments of breach and engagement.

*

Sam gets his goggles on and comes in just behind May, sweeping his side of the room with light amplification on. There's a burst of staccato taps as he puts down two targets across the room; he's seen May in hand-to-hand combat, and trusts her to keep any nearby enemies from rushing him. His shooting isn't virtuosic, but practical: he fires until the target's down, and goes for quick, reliable shots rather than waiting for the perfect one to present itself. Once the room is clear, he rejoins May and they head across the room. "You see anything that looks like basement access?" he murmurs to her. "Last time these guys were keeping their gizmos underground."

*

Melinda May goes low as Wilson shoots at their adversaries, taking a pair of men down at their knees before cracking their skulls very decisively. A third trying to rush Sam takes a baton to the throat and then she straightens up again to look at the former pararescueman. "Not yet." She turns to look for some sort of basement access, stepping across the room and over the fallen forms. "Trent. Logan. Status."

*

Game on. Cyclops breathes a breath through his nose and watches for a moment longer, before bursting from his hiding place behind the dumpster. Deftly he skirts through the crowds, looking more like a purse thief with a weird visor on his face.

By his infrared scan, Scott observes the way the mark that is Logan chews through the armored soldiers coming his way. His head scans the other way, tracking the bright red movements of Sam and May.

A smirk forms then upon Scott's face. As he comes upon the edge of the building, he ignores the panicked passersby, spooked as they are by the sound of semi-automatic discharges, and aims his head at the ground.

Fingers clench against palm, triggering the visor to open. A brilliant blast of blood-orange and red tears through the earth, upending cement and ripping a hole right into the basement of that building.

If anything, such sudden shock and awe might serve as a distraction for the others.

Cyclops plants a gloved hand upon the edge of that hole and vaults in, sliding down upon rock and dirt until he lands in the basement, eyes scanning to and fro for would-be assailants.

*

"Not quite sure. I've got WOAH!" The building shudders as someone rips a hole at the base of it. "Who set off the charges? Resistance is pretty light up here. I'm on my way do-" His transmission cuts off to the sound of clanging and then, abruptly, a blue lupine form and a man in much better power armor hurtling out of a wall and down two stories to the floor right in plain view of one Scott Summers.

Inside more baddies are pouring into the hallways. They are less well equipped but guns are guns and they're not shy about using them. Quarters are quite close though and it seems like really, between Logan, Sam and May that might be a bit of a problem for them.

*

"I'd say our wildcard just got played." Wolverine observes of their status, and the shuddering impact to the building from outside. "Either they're on the side o' the angels too, or this just got more complicated." Neither option seems particularly terrifying to the clawed Canuck, the gunfire from the more mundane soldiers on site doing little to slow him down. He lands out of the cross-cut of that third power trooper moments before the split helmet— and part of the man's head— crashes behind him, right in a spray of automatic fire. Peppered with rounds, however, just seems to serve to make Logan more irritable, and in a flash he leaps from his landing to bowl the nearest gunman over, launching off the wall behind that broken soldier in a spatter of blood and viscera that only gains voluminous momentum as he serpentines from one to the next, tearing a path of panicked cries and urgent broadcasts that should speak volumes of his own 'status'. He's busy.

*

Sam crouches, head whipping around as he hears the blast digging through the concrete outside. "Yeah — must be our voyeur. He didn't hit us on our approach, so even if he's not on our side, he seems to want to avoid a fight."

There's no more time for chatter, as HYDRA troopers burst forth and start firing on them. Slamming into the wall opposite May to take advantage of the minimal cover offered by a doorjamb, Sam raises his left arm and fires his 'talon' grappling cable. The snare latches onto the lead gunman, stuns him with an electric shock, and then yanks him across the room to Sam, who steps past May and lifts the goon up as a human shield. Much better cover than a door jamb! Messy, though, if Hydra's troops aren't big on loyalty within the ranks.

He bashes the guy against the wall once, to get his shock-hardened grip to release his rifle, then kicks the weapon back to May, in case she has some use for it.

*

Melinda May tucks away the batons — too tight a space, too many firearms — then scoops up the one Wilson just kicked over to her. She doesn't care to use firearms but that doesn't mean she can't use it. And, HYDRA being HYDRA, they have that nice little box they always stay within. So, she kneels down to start shooting at their kneecaps. Hey, if it worked for Shepard Book…

*

Behind the visor, Scott's eyes widen. He takes half a second to observe the armored man riding his lupine beast, before taking aim.

Fingers tap against palm, the wireless triggers signaling percussive, rapid fire blasts to shoot forth from Cyclops' visor. The blasts spray the lupine creature's blue legs in an effort to knock it off its feet, while Scott skirts the wall. Keep the enemy moving; his aim is with his eyes, and they are impeccable.

The creature screams and buckles with every strike, slowing him down as the optic blasts pepper his legs. Scott breaks at last, rolling across the floor and coming to a few feet from the beast. He looks directly at the rider's midsection, and squeezes three fingers against his palm, unleashing a heavier blast toward the rider in the hopes that it might be strong enough to knock him free without delivering a killing strike.

*

Jericho calls out in pain as feedback from Scott's optic blasts burn into his legs from the damage to his power fields. Claws bury into the armored man, ripping out… well, everything important before he turns onto his back and kicks the security goon right at Scott. "Aspect here. Some kind of third party in play. I'm engaged."

Fortunately the resistance in the building is slackening. The building was on alert, but it's not an armed camp and between Logan Sam and May, they've already disabled most of the security. The ones left? Well, they're withdrawing, rabbiting really and leaving the building and its contents to the intruders. They don't get paid enough for this!

*

No one who wants to run makes it out past Logan. To his credit, at least depending on who you're asking, he holds to the Predator protocols— no one who's not leveling a weapon gets vivisected, maimed, or otherwise disabled by the sextuple blades he has built in. Not that the adamantium-reinforced knees, elbows, and chokes that drop those HYDRA personnel are particularly /gentle/; he is what he is. He doesn't bother to call out his intentions, just follows the ruckus after bouncing one more technician off the outer wall.

The Canucklehead's swift path through -walls- rather than doors brings him into play in the wake of Jericho's defensive counterattack, and Wolverine wastes no time in jumping to the cyborg's aid, those same bricklike fists seeking to crack Cyclops in the midsection and head with a brutal one-two— one which Logan would just as happily deliver to the X-Man's back as front, should he get the jump on Scott. He does retract the claws first… because he doesn't really know who Cyclops is.

*

"Building's clearing out. On our way to —" Falcon cuts his sitrep off, hand going to his ear as he hears Jericho's message. His HUD shows Aspect out on the street, near where they heard the blast earlier, and if the hacker is 'engaged' rather than just taking out targets, it means he's dealing with something very bad. He glances once at May, then rushes back the way they came.

As he bursts out onto the street, his wings deploy to give him the most cover and escape options possible, shredding that 'backpack' disguise along the way. He's still got his sidearm out, and he draws a bead on Cyclops with it. Wolverine's presence forces him to hold his fire — but only for the time being.

*

May's head snaps to one side when Trent's voice comes across the comms. She looks up at Wilson and then is racing along with him toward Jericho's location. She doesn't even really slow down as she clubs a HYDRA agent out of her way with the firearm she's still carrying. Ducking down and past Sam as he deploys his wings, she sees Logan after someone NOT in a HYDRA uniform and rather than tell the mostly feral man to stop, scrambles down the 'ramp' created by… what the hell did this? Don't bother with that now. Keep moving. Please don't let there be any canisters of the virus down here. Please don't let there be any canisters of the virus down here.

*

There is a moment when Scott comes close to blasting the security goon. He gasps, instead rolling to the side to avoid taking the lethal hit, and blasts the ground beneath the goon's feet.

"Where is the virus?" he suddenly bellows. The yell carries all the weight of a man dedicated to the conservation of his species. The demand offers Logan just enough time to get in and do his dirty deed.

Adamantium-reinforced fists hit their mark, throwing Cyclops off his feet. He gasps at the pain, ignoring the ripping of his shirt.

The 'X' insignia is revealed upon his right shoulder, flashing in the light as he tumbles to the floor. There is a moment of confusion, where Scott looks between Logan and Sam, fingers trembling near his palm. One tap and an optic blast would cut loose, but for one precious moment, he holds his fire.

*

Jericho scrambles to his feet as the team converges on the ruby masked man. The blue, lupine form bound forward to get in with Logan… then draws up short as the X insignia is revealed. He knows what that means though now Scott may well have cause to wonder why.

"BLUE ON BLUE." He calls to his team mates indicating Scott is a friendly. "Hold fire! Hold fire!" One massive clawed hand goes out in a restraining gesture. Don't shot the strange man who just shot him.

*

There's a moment where it seems Logan may push his attack, booted foot dragging across the ground in an aborted attempt to feint into an offensive, sidelong roll that almost certainly would've ended badly for -one- of the mutants. It ebbs as surely as the aggressive posture began, however, and he shifts his weight back on one heel like it's a conscious effort, one that takes several moments, -not- to attack. Teeth grit, the Wolverine grunts, and then he offers simply in profound anticlimax, "That ain't the song." Blue on blue. His eyes take in the X-insignia on Scott's suit, and it draws a wolfish half-grin, half-smirk to the feral little mutant's stern features, "Drops of rainwater gettin' everywhere." He muses, obviously amusing at least himself with the in-joke.

*

Sam's jaw tightens, but he holds fire, covering the stranger in case Jericho is somehow mistaken. "If he's blue, he's got a really messed up way of showing it," he snaps. Mentally, he makes some quick connections and ventures a hypothesis: "Some kind of mutant vigilante? Hey, smart guy: next time try not blasting the guys who are attacking the HYDRA base."

*

Melinda May stops and looks from Trent to Scott and back. Her eyes flick toward Sam and Logan and she seems to make a decision, letting all of the males posture if that's what makes them happy. She goes back to looking for any canisters of virus that might be down here amongst the RUBBLE of Scott's impromptu doorway.

*

Blink-blink.

Friendlies.

"I've tracked an explosive signature here," he clarifies, while raising his hands, fingers splayed out, in a gesture of alliance.

"If the virus isn't here, the deployment mechanism is." Beat. "Or was."

Scott blatantly ignores the quippage coming from Sam. He's got no time for it, because time is running out.

"Time isn't on our side," he says, rising to his feet with hands in the air. One rises toward the left side of his visor, opening the channel.

"Storm, deploy."

Suddenly, from where the Blackbird hovers concealed not too far away, three dozen moth-like mechanical sniffers are dropped into the air. They zoom off in a variety of directions, limited sensors seeking out the explosive signature that was used in the Syria deployment.

Scott looks at Jericho. "Your call." The apology is unspoken… this shit happens in the field. Cyclops has a feeling that Jericho, and perhaps the woman on his team, understand that. Much as he wants to move to help May, he stays put.

*

"X-men, yes?" Jericho knows SHIELD has heard that name, so he's not giving much away here. He eyes Scott and then steps aside. "I'm a friend of Magik." He’s clearing the way. Well, for his part. Logan's still there. "It may be still. We haven't had a chance to investigate yet. I'm going to go ransack their computers. See what you can find…" That last to everyone. "Don't kill one another, please."

*

"Yeah, you're right: time isn't on our side," Sam says, glaring at Scott as he lowers his gun, then stepping past the mutant's prone form without a second glance. "Good thing somebody decided to waste a bunch of it."

He follows May into the basement, but splits off from her to cover more ground in their search. "Look for the coolant system and disable it," he says loudly, for Scott's benefit. The SHIELD teams are getting pretty good at this routine by now.

*

That SHIELD recognizes the mutant team isn't really -surprising- to Logan, but it's filed away, obvious from a flit of the old spook's eyes to Jericho as the words are spoken. "I'm with Pryde." He offers simply, extending a hand to help the trigger-happy Cyclops rise. "Doubt they had time to get anything much out."

But he's been horribly, tragically wrong once or twice in his extensive lifetime. Wolverine pauses to sniff at the air, following the tendrils of departing operatives— not so much to memorize the scent of the people, as scanning in his own way for evacuated gear.

*

Melinda May has indeed gotten pretty good at locating and disabling the coolant systems for the containers and… "Over here." She gestures toward the containers, then starts tracing the connections, setting the pilfered firearm aside to instead brandish a Leatherman. A regular one.

*

It takes some effort for Scott to keep from flipping Sam the bird. Fortunately, he's a professional, at least to some degree.

Regardless, Scott accepts Logan's help and rises to his feet. The Wolverine was familiar to him, thanks in full to Mimic's briefing. "Hell of a fist you have there," he remarks, but turns as the small, flying mechanisms come pouring through the hole made by his rugged, explosive entry. These devices begin to swarm around the canisters located by May, drawing Scott's attention.

"Storage," he wonders aloud, while striding over toward the devices. "Or they're prepping for a large scale test. Larger than Syria."

A sideward glance is given to Logan. Scott knows that Logan carries the X-Gene, and he's pretty confident in the odds that the Canucklehead hasn't yet been vaccinated. Thus, there is a moment of indecision where he looks from Logan to the canisters, frowning.

"Any trace of the virus?" he asks, for his visor's enhanced sensors are simply not attuned to search for such things.

*

"It should be contained." Jericho calls down from where he's stalking up to the upper levels. "If there's any here. How much do you see down there?" Unseen, he starts to pilfer the various computer systems. Medical data, shipment information, e-mail, anything that might provide a clue about what Hydra was doing here and, more importantly, where they were getting their instructions from.

Down below the lab is definitely storage for something. A number of maps of the slums are prominently on the table. With sites circled in red. Looks like they were planning to deploy here at some unknown date, but hadn't yet.

*

"Yup." Logan accepts Scott's compliment with the dour certainty of a man who already knew that, "This place is a mutant haven, only reason to store here is to use it here." The Canucklehead's theorycrafting seems to hold up with the intel uncovered in the basement, and he follows the others down there after a cursory study of Cyclops, easily hopping and sliding with uncanny balance down amidst the rubble. He'd bitch about making one's own entrance— but Wolverine's not really one to talk. If he's concerned about exposure to the agent, it doesn't show; maybe he just doesn't realize the risk. As the others collect the data and samples, he paces a circuit around the basement lab, sniffing and eyeing every angle and corridor for anything concealed from more mundane methodology.

*

Wilson watches for several seconds, but has little to do. He's good with machines and decent with computers, but with May and Trent present, he's a distant second with either. Despite the intensity of the fight, no one seems to need his medical skills, either. He's hyped up on way more adrenaline than he needs, as his snappishness attests, and between the optic blast detonation and the gunfights and being in the middle of a Middle Eastern war zone again…

"I'm going upstairs," he says suddenly. "I'll watch for response teams." Not that any of their strikes have encountered any. He brushes past anyone still lingering in Scott's impromptu entrance and makes a wing-assisted leap up the two stories to perch on the edge of the building's rooftop. Given the locals' jaded response to a street violence, of course, the area is deserted. He holds out his gauntleted left arm and whistles; a few seconds later, Redwing comes in for a perch, getting a treat for his trouble.

*

Melinda May concentrates on disabling the coolant system and also conceals a small explosive charge to 'discourage' anyone who tries to repair the thing, and says as she's buttoning the HVAC unit back up, "Five minutes to evac." She straightens up, tucks her Leatherman away, then watches Logan for an unsurprised moment before moving to quickly gather up all of the maps and paper. Well, unless Scott wants to claim some of it.

*

Jericho; friend of Magick. Logan; friend of Pryde. Cyclops has begun to wonder if, perhaps, he was wrong to support the X-Men's secrecy for so long.

Upon spotting the maps, a deeper frown forms on Cyclops' face. He takes a moment to dial the tactical controls on his visor, recording a high def snapshot of the maps. "Not sure this was a test run," he acknowledges. His gut is starting to lean more towards genocide.

Towards systematic mutant extinction.

Scott looks toward May, grimacing at her words. Five minutes until the place goes up. He leads the way, stopping near the hole dug by his optic blast. There, he waits to offer assistance climbing out where it's needed. To May, he pointedly says, "Virus might be in those circles."

*

Up top, Jericho is sifting through a lot of data. It's there but it's all raw. He's going to need time to sort it all and put it into a picture that makes sense. And they're working against the clock. "Sam, this is Jericho. Everything look good up there?"

They're getting looks and it's probably not long before Authority troops or police show up. That wasn't exactly… subtle.

Down below it looks like they've gotten everything. Maps, documents. This was a full lab, but thanks to them, it's out of commission.

"I'd like to blow the building but… probably counterproductive."

*

"Somethin' was here…" Well, duh, Wolverine. He's not finished, though: "Something that ain't quite human. Could be a real hardcore mutation, but…" One broad shoulder shrugs. The Canuck doubts it. Human sweat, pheromones, glandular secretions— these things all stay fairly reliable, with unique variations, even among the globe's metahumans. "Could be somethin' extraterrestrial, or something made in a lab." This brings a sour note to already dour features as he follows the unusual aroma around and around for a moment, before settling on it being gone— perhaps even for some time.

"We got what we came to get?" For someone as eager to get into the fray as Logan was, he seems similarly inclined to leave, now. "Test or not, it's gearin' up for something big." Look at that: he agrees with Cyclops. They are sure to be fast friends. "Pull the drives and let's get the fuck out of here." He politely and helpfully suggests of Jericho's quandary, still less than enthralled at the idea of trolling up more trouble in Gaza, of all places. Still, he takes up the rear of the egress, following May and Cyclops back up the rubble-strewn chute.

*

"Civilians are all holed up," Sam answers over the comm. He sounds like he's evening out a bit after losing his temper earlier. "I'm getting some looks through the curtains, but I don't think anyone wants to be out on the streets if the NSF shows up to chase us off." After a short pause, he adds: "I'm inclined to agree." Logan's cheerful news about some sort of engineered or imported superbeing doesn't get a reaction for the flier: he needs more time to digest the news.

*

Melinda May gives Mr. Red Shades a look like 'Do I LOOK like I need help?' before brushing past him to clamber back up to ground level quickly enough. Okay, maybe she's not as effortlessly graceful as Romanoff, but she could not care less. "Not blowing this place. That'd release the virus. Now move. Three minutes."

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