Four Score And Seven Migraines Ago

March 24, 2016:

Nate brings some of X-Black's team to meet Ripclaw. A proposition is presented and things escalate quickly; is this the end of X-Black?
Cameo by Rose

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Looks like winter is over and so is slow time for X-Black. Events are happening at people is getting stalked, stabbed and shot. Like Nate, who is limping and cheating with telekinesis so he can walk when he shouldn't be able.

Too many things and he feels the X-Men are not reacting fast enough. He told them about Cyberdata briefly, but second-hand data and no proof. He also told Ripclaw the X-men had a team suitable to help his group, and it is about time he meets them. And since Jean is the supreme overlady of the X-folks, he asked her to come here too.

Here being a warehouse in the outskirts of Gotham, far from the usual grounds of X-Men or cyber-mutants. It is one of Emma's backup safe houses, so it is not entirely lacking furniture. It is also highly unlikely whoever is after Rachel or Laura would have been able to follow them here.

He told Emma about Cyberdata treatment of mutants, and he told Ripclaw one of the X-Men could be particularly helpful to fight against an international criminal corporation. But Nate didn't tell him that it was Emma Frost. He does the introductions now. "… and you know Lunair, right? She is also in the team."


Ripclaw is here alone, no reason to show up toting along a senior citizen, a neurotic teenager or their robot entourage. Also much of this activity with the X-Men is kept separate from the others. Need to know basis for now.

Simple black tanktop, a flannel style jacket with hood, jeans, cowboy boots and a red bandana. Absolutely normal looking you just can't hide the chalk white skin or the crimson red eyes.
"No, I've never met Lunair. Nice to meet you." A polite nod is offered.'


Emma's safehouses are usually much nicer than this, but not all of them. They need to blend in wherever she needs them, and here in Gotham - on this side of Gotham - a warehouse was a better choice. Still, it's not just a cold, empty wasteland of industrial space inside. It's a warehouse. It just happens to be a warehouse with a stairwell accessible in a closet within the small office space inside. A stairwell that leads down beneath the massive concrete slab that is the floor for the warehouse. Down to a moderately decent space. A dozen moderately sized bedrooms. Some common areas. It is, in essence, a well-kempt 'bomb shelter' arrangement.

Emma arrives on the site via another non-Frost, non-customized vehicle. In point of fact, she arrives via an Uber. She's also dressed down, and not above using telepathy to blur her features and make sure the driver and anyone else around will never remember her being here. She hates dressing down like this. But she does it, because operational security is important. As such, the tall blonde is wearing jeans, t-shirt and a dark hoodie, sneakers and a backpack. Not a designer label to be found. And she is so going to take an extra long, hot bath and demand a massage after this is over.

Emma comes down the stairs, keys in the code and opens the door, stepping inside. Her hood is up, and she's making a point of continuing to make sure no one is going to remember her presence, appearance or identity if she can help it. She's going to be paranoid, because it's their job to be paranoid. But she leads Jean inside, then closes the door. "Nathaniel. This is the man you wanted us to meet?"


Lunair likes spring, though. She is ready to meet new people. She has at least brought a pitcher of hot tea and a fresh tray of cupcakes from an alarmingly expensive bakery. Why not? It's polite. She has a hoodie with cat ears and meanders in when she is let known of the meeting. She probably has rented a scooter or something. Or she flew. Who knows? Regardless, she seems to fit 'alarmingly ordinary art student' well. "Hiya. And nice to meet you, too," Lunair smiles politely to Ripclaw. She is one of the more retiring sorts, it seems.


Jean arrived with Emma, really. Nothing flashy, typical pair of slacks fresh off of work and peacoat with gloves and glasses. Hair tied up and all relaxed, even though her shoulders remained drawn back through apparent tenseness but she was thinking. Foot idly bouncing, seated cross-legged in a chair that she's taken up for herself as she listens to them all make introductions where she really doesn't need any.

Cause heck, she knows all of them.

"Looks like this is everyone." She finally says calmly, gloved fingers reaching up to tap the middle of her glasses to push them higher upon her nose. "Lets get this all underway."


Nate hmms. Maybe Lunair was wearing full power armor last time? Nevermind. "Yes, Emma. This is Ripclaw, he has plenty experience with Cyberdata and the kind of recruiting they do among mutants. He also has a lead on a telepath called Mother May that works for them. Well, I don't know the whole story. Maybe it is time to learn it," he finds a place to flop down, leg is hurting. "Emma is not just a mutant, Rip. She happens to have a good deal of economic and political power she can use against Cyberdata."


Ripclaw may have met Lunair but it isn't drawing up memory for him right now. It's been a few months at least and he isn't the best with names.
"Emma Frost." Ripclaw greets before listening to Nate talk a bit more about their situation, "Cyberdata is corrupt, we've established that much and their method of collecting mutantkind is as sick as it gets. They target any mutant they can find, chop them to pieces, install hardware in them to activate or further manifest and then use them as memory wiped soldiers in their private army. I plan on stopping them. Nate and Jean have been helping me gather people to help me in this, seems though, in the process there is some issue going with your home base. I'm not fully aware of all of it but what I have pieced together is my methods are not exactly well accepted by the rest of your team,"
A shrug and Ripclaw reclines so shoulders and back are situated against the wall, arms going Akimbo across his broad chest.

"I am all for the extra firepower if you're all willing to go the distance with it."


Lunair listens. She tilts her head. She just accepts it. She might have been distracted when she met Ripclaw last time. "It's good to see you all," She says. She's catching up on things, but where does Lunair GO when she gets up to things? Hard to say. "They sound incredibly awful, but I doubt they are just on the surface."


"How is it that they know enough about mutant powers to be able to craft tech to boost, improve or control them? That is not something just anyone - even someone with exceptional technology - can do. Anthony Stark, for instance, cannot." Emma offers. Of course, now she has been identified by name. She glances towards Nathaniel, holding back the urge to smack, throttle or brainfry someone, though it is not easy. Damnit.

"How do they find and identify mutants? How are they able to tell the difference between a mutant and some other kind of metahuman or alien? How are they using these soldiers?" Emma is very upset by the nature of what she's been told is going on. But she's not the sort who goes off half-cocked. Only full-cocked. Which requires intel. Know the enemy. Then destroy the enemy.


There was nothing more for her to add in. The proper questions were being asked and the answers given, so Jean doesn't likely interject for now. She does watch them all, masking her reaction and expressions behind a pair of spectacles.


"Was that something that happened to you?" Asks Nate to Ripclaw, "I know some things about Cybersata from my interacting with them in other parallel Earth. But most everything I know could be incorrect. The part about turning mutants into brainwashed cyborgs with enhanced powers seems the same, though. They had the technology."


"I'm aware of several fellow SHOC that can sniff out or find other mutants, that is one method." Ripclaw considers a moment, "Beyond that I have never really been certain but I can assure you the technology Cyberdata employs isn't exactly terrestrial in origin. My own sources confirmed that much… "
"Beyond mutants? Metahumans and aliens… I think they're not too fastidious when it comes down to it but I know they prefer people with the gene. They'll abduct, dissect and reassemble just about anything in to one of their Frankenstein monsters."

Shrugging he draws his gaze from Emma's eyes to the floor, as if staring at their boots. "Corporate shadow engagements, activation in warzones as specialist teams, expensive assassins, security, mutant hunters. It varies. Can always find a use for a mindwiped superhuman."

A blink and a look up at Nate, "Parallel earth, what? Nevermind. I don't want to know right now. I'll poke that batch of crazy later."

"Think what we're here for though is something Jean has asked me about, my team Cyberforce is small and needs numbers, your team of X-Men is in hot water. I think we can find a mutual pro in this… I need numbers, you need a direction. A target. I've been told all of you are fine with doing what needs to be done, up to and including murder. Ridding the filth."

The question about what happened to him goes either overlooked or ignored at the moment. Maybe Ripclaw isn't down for talking about himself so much right now.


Lunair looks positively owlish. "They steal things from aliens, yes," She recalls. "And they give and take mercenaries," She considers. LUnair looks between them. "Um. Yeha…"


Emma Frost doesn't really see where the team lacks direction or focus, so she doesn't try to speak to that. Instead, she listens to what Ripclaw has to say about Cyberdata and the threat they represent. It's bad. In a way, it fits with much of what she saw of that future world, and that makes her want to fight it. But she's not really sure it's the right move. Nor, of course, is she sure that it isn't.

"Obviously, we have an interest in putting a stop to gathering up mutants and enslaving them. I would say this seems to be in line with our … charter." Charter. Mission statement. Reason for existing. Whatever one wants to use. Emma doesn't really see where that is in question. But what should they do, and where should they start?


"Ripclaw is right," mentions Nate from his corner, "they got alien tech," he taps his temple, "based in the very same kind of tech of the device I have here, trying to eat my brain." Jean and the other science-savvy members of the X-Men already had a chance to see what it looks the metal shard limiting Nate's powers. Technology so advanced that is truly alive and deserves to be called 'technorganic'.

Ugh. Lack of direction? He has no idea of why Ripclaw thinks that. Maybe something he got from Rose. He doesn't feel a lack of direction, but he feels they lack information on the enemies of mutantkind. It makes Nick Fury's deal more and more attractive for him.


Jean has a very good idea where it should start. A small smile curls her lips towards Robert but it immediately goes slack as she looks at the three X-folk in question. It wasn't too much of a decision or one that she needed to fuss or have a fit over, the words to her were made clear in the discussion that was held long ago.. She was just stalling.

"Yes." She states towards Robert and Emma both, her jaw hardening just a tad. "We're about to do a little house cleaning. Really. And what that means is simple as this. You three.. Emma, Lunair, and Nathaniel, you three have a choice in which I'm going to put to you now and only now before we move forward with the Cyberdata issue and X-Force as a whole." She doesn't really stand, no need for grand gestures, but she continues on.

"Leave X-Black and stay with the X-Men under a new directive, or.. keep with your modus opperandi and vacate the mansion post haste." Ouch, for her either way. "Even though I stand by you all and will fight with you all, the line needs to be drawn right here and now. X-Black is not condoned as a whole and I've never been shy about stating such. But I can't have you around the school, it's staff and children."


Jean speaks, and Emma tenses up. It's not something visible or apparent, but it is something real. When Jean is done, Emma simply nods. "Well. I came to help. I have done what I could to be of use. Elizabeth knows why." Oddly, Emma never discusses it. With anyone. Ever. And Betsy has apparently never told anyone either. It's a mystery. "But if my help is no longer wanted, I will not argue. My life is quite full enough. I do not need any of the rest of it." She looks at the others. "This site is yours. Do with it what you will, or not. I will not be back." And with that, she turns and opens the door, walking up the stairs. It seems the White Queen is done here.


Lunair blinks. She looks puzzled a moment. "I - guess Mimic was wrong. There's no real hope for me," Lunair admits quietly. "I'm glad to help with the cyberguys and stuff, but I guess I can understand people not wanting me around children and stuff. Either way, it was nice to meet you." A faint, sad smile. "Be well."


"It sounds like there may be something else your team might need to be dealing with." Ripclaw says quietly as Emma storms off, "I'll be in touch once all of you have sorted… " A claw rises up and flicks towards them, "Whatever is transpiring here now." That said Ripclaw begins to turn on heel to depart.


Nate tenses, standing up and glaring to jean, he doesn't even wait for Ripclaw to be out of earshot. Too angry. "That was the most stupid thing I have heard you say in my life, ever. What the fuck? If you had to set that choice down, you should have told us any other time, and not when we are trying to ally with a group of mutants that really need our help!" That he is not a good influence to children was something he already knew. Which is why he has not tried to help with the school. "You are also turning down Fury's help without even talking about it with the rest of us. Very well, you and the school can go to hell."


Jean lifts a hand to remove her glasses, tossing them within her lap to rub her fingers against her nose. "You all are a bunch of down-on-your-luck-dreadful-thinking people." She sighs then stands as Emma makes her way towards the exit. "Stop. And let me finish."

She reaches into her peacoat, drawing out a sheet of paper which was soon unfolded. It was a shittily drawn series of maps, marking off abandoned buildings that /could be/ requisitioned for use. Though, if anyone were to figure out it's locations just by the drawing alone, it would be a miracle. It looks like eventually she'd have to point and show, a quick car ride never hurt anyone.

"Ever since the talk with the Professor I have been scouting out optimal locations for the base of operations for X-Black. I think it would be best for the team to vacate the grounds and relocate there, far away from Westchester. This would mark the start of your double lives, and for some people.. triple." She glances towards Emma then, if she hasn't left yet. The papers were laid out carefully upon the table in any random order.

As Nate riles and rallies, Jean just shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "As I said. Bunch of down-on-your-luck-dreadful-thinking people. I favor my dramatic pauses for this goddamned reason alone. I never once said that I was denying Fury's help." She straightens her back a little, then takes a breath. "Now would you be so kind as to sit down and shut the hell up and let me finish with what I have to say."


Rose was given a location, and inward she walks, having been dropped off several blocks away to come silently. Heavy boots tread over the murk coated cement, leather and holstering riding around the ankles to keep blades and bullets strapped there, only a trained gaze would know that what could be props in the footwear is very real. In Gotham that is likely everyone.

Black leather pants cling along legs and posterior, the trinket laden leather belt slung low around waist, the soft clicking of redesigned tech all that sounds with each step.

Between lips a cigarette is plucked free and flicked aside before the door is pulled open and her trenchcoat is tucked in around her via the force feeding of hands into pockets and a quick tuck in against herself.

Pausing at the top of the stairs, that mismatched gaze of milky white bionic eye and arctic blue of reality settles on Emma. Not one she had met before and the tilt of her head showed the curiosity until she heared the muted tones of familiars and then the heated tone of Nate. "Well. Shit."

If Emma passes or not Rose is already headed down in time to stop at the door and listen to Jean. From everyone to the drawing and Jean, a glimpse passes just to gauge the feeling of the moment while she takes a lean against the wall.


"Hi Rose!" Lunair waves to the new comer. "I have no idea, I guess…" A shrug. "It's okay, I'm not in the manor much really. Except when the snikty guy steals the remote and I have to go find it."


Emma's exit heralds to the entry of Rose, Ripclaw pauses in his retreat from the team dramatics of the X-'ers. "I was just leaving. Things have become unexpectedly heated here." Lunair's chipper and go with the flow mood has him slightly ticking the corner of his lips in to a smile. A slight one

"My offer is standing if people need a place and intend on helping me with Cyberdata, we can accommodate several bodies." This was said loud enough to carry, to what end of helping he doubts it will have any. This is apparently a sore subject at the moment.


Nate looks at Lunair. "You don't have to leave. Just… X-Black is disbanded, that is Xavier's decision. I am going with Ripclaw, though. Cyberdata needs to be put down." He will also talk to Emma, but that is not something Jean needs to know right now. "Hey Rose, just in time for the big mess. Seems we will have to go on alone." He can't see Betsy leaving the school, she is a teacher. And sure as hell Rachel and Laura are not going to be kicked out of the school. Good thing he never really told Laura about X-Black.


Jean shakes her head, grabbing up the papers. "I'm sorry for the mess, Robert. Really." She folds them and puts them into her peacoat, then shakes her head at Nate. "X-Black isn't disbanded. It's being relocated. To another building, away from Westchester. As I said before. Which I won't repeat again." Though, it was her turn to leave, tossing up a brief wave towards Rose and a tap at her watch. And then she's out.


"Why am I not shocked." A low murmur to Ripclaw and Lunair's chipperness belies what her face had held. Leave it to Lunair, and from stoic to a small smile Rose's facade shifts and Luna is given a wave as well.

"Hey, Luna." Pausing though she hears Nate and then it all clicks, clicks enough to make Rose close her eyes and pinch the bridge of her nose beneath the small fall of white whisps.

"We aren't going on alone." But Jean's passing and watch tap has Rose smiling something a lemon's flavor would draw from such a maligned smile.

"Im not done getting back to you on that!" She yells after the red headed woman and…

Then it clicks, breakfast! That's the time she met Emma at Xavier's, the morning she decided to pack her bags as well.

…anyway! "Luna will simply -love- C.C. My room stays mine." A turn and a pause. "Just sayin'."


Lunair is uncertain. "C.C.?" She seems puzzled. "Well, okay." She seems like she'll give things achance. She really isn't on campus much at all.

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