Basketball Interrupted

May 31, 2016:

Rachel's basketball session in the Danger Room is interrupted by news about the Facility

X-Men Base: Danger Room

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Laura Kinney, Scott Summers

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Rachel Summers is in the Danger Room, and a program is running.

Given who she is, where she's come from, and what's been happening to her lately, this might seem ominous. Is she running a simulation of the world she came from, complete with Sentinels, paramilitary hunting groups, and Hounds? Or is she re-running her altercation with X-23, with the safeties off for extra realism? Or maybe it's some hands-on revision for the assignment that Emma's given her. Either way, it's probably something life-threatening.

Except it isn't. The Danger Room is simulating a perfect summer's day at the Xavier Institute. The sun is high in the sky, there's just enough breeze to make the temperature perfect, and the particular location being simulated is the basketball court. The only sounds are Rachel's breathing, and the impact of her sneakers on the court, and the ball as she heads for the hoop, stops, jumps… and grins to herself as the ball drops right through the hoop. Perfect. Not even bothering to use her powers, she jogs across the court to retrieve it, dressed in a somewhat retro outfit of white tee and shorts, plus sneakers and long socks, all edged with red.

Is she actually enjoying herself, for once?


And since the rules say junior members of the team can't be in the Danger Room unsupervised, Nate is at the control boot. But giving the program, he is watching the news on the computer screen, with his feet on the controls and a bored expression in his face.

Seriously, playing basketball? That is all she wants to do in her DR time? At least Nate has been learning to pilot the Blackbird (or at least learning to crash the Blackbird, many times) when not using the combat scenarios.


Why, precisely, anyone would be using the Danger Room to recreate what is actually going on outside just that moment? Emma cannot imagine. But she comes into the control booth, because she just got herself to the entry to the Danger Room to discover that the room is already in use and active. Which means that she has to now delay starting her own regimine. The tall blonde arrayed in white doesn't quite grump; it's something much more severe than that, held in check so that it cannot mar those perfect features.

Emma steps into the control booth, and glances at Nate. "Nathaniel." she comments, drolly, as she watches the scenario playing out down below. "Basketball. Really?" And anyone wondering why Emma is looking for Danger Room time on Memorial Day will probably find their brain shoved through a virtual blender.


Doug Ramsey certainly -wasn't- going to wonder, mostly because he was already enlisted for what Emma had in mind. Still, with the Danger Room occupied, the young man who's following Emma into the room has to admit to a wee bit of disappointment that it's already occupied. Still, curiousity compels him to look into the room. "That's the other Rachel, is it?" he asks, curiously as he studies the scenario. "What is she doing, warming up? This's going to be invaded by basketball playing aliens, right?"

Shifting over to peer at the program running without so much as a by-your-leave, Doug frowns. "That's it? Just a basketball court? What happened, someone broke the gym?"


Seriously and, indeed, really Basketball. Recovering the ball, Rachel looks up and towards where she knows the control booth must be. She can't see it, of course, but she can sense Nate's mind. Not to mention his boredom, and his preoccupation with something other than watching her. « I'm assuming you missed that? » She asks into his mind, attempting to sound aggrieved but only really managing to sound amused. « Sure you don't want to play? » She asks him, a bit challengingly, while she spins the ball on her fingertip.

All right, she cheated a bit that time with her telekinesis, which is why the ball stays spinning, long after it should have slowed and fallen, when Rachel senses other minds in the control booth with Nate. « Does someone want the room? »


"Emma," Nate straightens, killing off the sound of the computer screen. "Yeah, I want to toss her some ninjas. Or maybe a pack of velociraptors. But I guess she needed a break." Yes, very ironic Rachel is having it in the Danger Room. Or maybe 'pathetic' is the right term. Regardless, Nate is not feeling mean enough to do the ninja thing.

"Hey Doug… maybe you want to give her some hell?" He leaves the seat to the programmer, peering down to Rachel. "I thought you were going to do a serious training session, Ray. Y'know, the kind that requires someone up here. But… yeah, Emma Frost and Doug Ramsey are here."


Emma is much better than anyone has any business being at the aggrieved state, as she stalks over to the control panel and taps the key, her voice directed down to the Danger Room beyond and below. "Ms. Grey, I do beg your pardon -" No, she really doesn't. But the polite and proper thing is to say she does. So. "- for interrupting your activities. But I had intended a session for this hour, to coordinate some intelligence gathering efforts. May I ask, is there some reason that you are recreating the outdoor basketball courts and weather here in the Danger Room today? Or why you did not invite anyone else to join you?" She's curious, so she asks. It's that simple.


"Um… I don't know her well enough to know if I -should- give her hell…" Doug responds, before glancing at Emma. "Anyway, we're here to track a few things… although if you're here, I should also pass on the information about the Facility." Whether it relates at -all- to what Emma was seeking, he wasn't quite sure. The White Queen kept her cards close to her chest, and it wasn't going to be easy to get her to share anything.


Rachel finally lets the ball stop spinning and tucks it under her arm. It looks like leisure time is over, with the news that others have arrived. She doesn't really mind, it was fun while it lasted. Even if she couldn't convince Nate to join in. "Sorry to disappoint you, Nate." She calls back to him but, like Emma, she's not sorry about that at all. "I'll be right up." She turns and lines up a last shot on the basket - and the ball bounces off the rim as Emma addresses her. Rachel looks at the hoop as if it's responsible for a moment, then turns back to the invisible booth and shrugs. "I asked Nate, but he was afraid I'd show him up." She answers the easier question first, the little jab at Nate confirming that she's in an unusually good mood. "I missed it." She explains, gesturing at the simulated court. "And I didn't think it'd be a great idea to use the real thing." It's a slightly depressing thought for her, but it doesn't dent her good mood too badly. "The room's all yours!" She calls up to the booth and heads for the doors with a wave, trusting Nate to make them visible for her.

Jogging up to the control booth takes next to no time, but as the door slides open to reveal Nate, Emma - and then Doug - Rachel freezes in place as if she's seen a ghost. "Magus?" She asks warily, eyes fixed on Doug, waiting for a reply before she steps into the room.


Nate tenses visibly when Doug mentions the Facility, losing much of his good mood. He kills the Danger Room session before the ball touches the floor after Rachel's missed throw. « Yeah, you better come up here. We got some news about Laura's problem, » he sends telepathically to the readhead. Then turns to Doug, "she will join us, what do you got?"


The White Queen stands quietly, watching as Rachel ends her program. She then glances at the others, waiting. "If you have information regarding the Facility, I definitely want to hear it." If only to confirm that Laura is telling her everything. Emma is taking this very, very seriously. But Emma has so many irons in the fire right now it's easy to lose track. She has to work hard not to let that happen. "Should we use the holographics down below to display the data and connections you have? Or does that wait for a later part of today's 'fun'?"

Then Rachel appears. And uses that name, and that tone of voice. And Emma's coolly mocking tone evaporates. She just stands quietly, watching and waiting.


"What do I got…?" Doug echoes, as he moves over to the console. Yanking the work he'd saved from the secured cloud repository, Doug starts the process of connecting the data to the holographic generators, the better to demonstrate just how X-23 had been tracked.

He pauses in mid-typing to blink at Rachel. "Sorry, no, I've never used 'Magus' in any of my MMORGs."


Rachel's good mood takes another hit when Nate telepathically fills her in on the situation, but it's quickly replaced by determination. Laura's problem is also her problem, and dealing with it is a priority. « Understood. » She replies, her mental tone suddenly businesslike and not at all teasing. Nate should be happier with that, at least.

But then Rachel's in the doorway, eyes locked on Doug, body tense, and Laura's difficulties with the Facility are abruptly put on hold.

Rachel's wariness goes beyond the physical, and the other telepaths will certainly feel a slight heaviness in the psionic air. Rachel's looking at Doug as if he's the most dangerous thing in the room, and her powers are primed accordingly. Then he speaks, in what to her is a surprisingly human tone, and that sense of leashed power evaporates. Rachel's brow creases in a slight frown, and she looks Doug up and down, tilting her head to one side, and then finally relaxes. "I have no idea what you just said." Rachel admits, stepping into the room. "But that's OK." She hesitates again as the door slides shut behind her, but then she takes a step towards Doug and offers her hand. "Hi. I'm Rachel. I guess you know that. But I've never met… you." Feeling even more awkward than she almost certainly looks, Rachel shoots a glance toward Nate. "What've we got?"


Nate gives Rachel a curious glance, "I am not sure," he replies. But then his eyes go back to the Danger Room to see Doug's display. "Wait, didn't Laura ask you about the surveillance, Doug?" He remembers the quiet girl semi-mention it. Nate is used to fill the gaps in Laura's rather short and vague dialog.


Emma watches sharply as the almost-confrontation between Doug and Rachel unfolds and then resolves. But she says nothing. She merely waits, until it is over. Then, she moves to take a seat across the room, eyeing the display of the Danger Room beyond as she waits for data to be let loose to cover the Facility situation.


The -silence- from Emma is perhaps the most disturbing part of this, since it generally that -someone- was going to be in trouble if he didn't get a move on, and so Doug flashes a wan grin at Rachel, nodding. "That's okay, I have no idea what you're talking about either. You'll have to explain this later." There's an unspokened 'The Queen's waiting' that has Doug shifting to transfer the videos to the holographic displays.

What follows in the Danger Room are holographic figures of X-23 being tracked, from various angles that indicates surveillance cameras on traffic lights, attached security cams along the way of various stores, and even outside the mansion. "That's how they've been tracking X-23," Doug announces. "Same goes for Rachel, though not as much, obviously. Good thing you don't leave the grounds much," he adds, as occasional shots of Rachel shows.


The grin - even such as it is - seems to startle Rachel more than anything else. It's not an expression she could imagine on the face of the 'Doug' that she remembered. "Sure." She replies to the suggestion of explanations later, although there's not much conviction in her tone. Somehow she doubts it's a story that the man in front of her would enjoy hearing.

Rachel takes the offered escape route and moves to find the edge of a console to perch on, where she can still get a half-decent view of the Danger Room itself. She snorts quietly when she gets a mention, commenting under her breath, "Great. I'll keep hiding in the basement." She glances at Nate again, managing a bit of a smirk. "That means you get to supervise more basketball." She tells him, but gets back on track quickly enough, shifting around to look over at Doug. "If that's how they're doing it, do you know where the data is going?" She sounds hopeful, even eager.


"Scott is going to have a fit about those cameras so close to the school grounds," comments Nate without humor. "Alright so… can we find out who set them up? Maybe we could make one or more malfunction and see who comes to fix them." Also, now they can get the ladies out without being seen. Assuming Doug got them all.

Rachel's suggestion is actually better. After all the Facility might be using clueless technicians from a third company to setup and maintain the cameras. Tracking down the information might be a better idea. "Yeah, or what Ray said," he adds. "And the basketball would be outside. You can use a wig or something."


Emma frowns momentarily, and then her features smooth out. So, the Facility is hijacking standard surveillance feeds. Not the first nor the last to do that. There's the hope Doug can track it down, but it's going to be replicated so many times that she's guessing it won't go as well as they could hope. Certainly not enough on its own to leverage a counter-attack, which is precisely what is needed here strategically. "I suspect, much as I dislike the idea, it may be best to set up an excursion to draw them out, and use that to track their ruined remnants back to an operations center and obtain better intelligence that way." Yes. She's suggesting using the girls as knowing bait.


"Spent a while tracking it down, and yes, there's certain places that uses it, though they could be basically places that get to move at a moment's notice, judging by how many times they've moved locations. They're usually clustered in one area, then another. We -could- go to their last known location, but that's probably just playing catch-up instead of getting one-step ahead of them."

He glances back up towards Emma, arching a quizzical eyebrow. "I haven't shut down any surveillance yet, since that's our best lead at the moment, but what would draw them out, exactly, if they've already been tracking them this long? A camping expedition?"


Rachel is just within range to lean over and swat Nate on the arm for the 'wig' suggestion. She doesn't dignify it with a verbal response, but Nate might catch her fleeting smirk before she returns her attention to more important matters.

"I DON'T dislike the idea." Rachel says the words firmly, turning her back on the Danger Room and bracing her hands against the console she's sitting on. "They'll come after Laura and me again anyway. It'll be nice to ambush them for a change." Rachel sounds utterly willing to be used as bait, but when it comes to making that work? She'll defer to Emma and Doug. "Their leader probably wants a rematch, after last time." Rachel muses, a nasty edge of satisfaction in her tone. "We probably won't have to work that hard to get their attention." Rachel shifts gears from revenge to practicality. "Last time they brought snipers. We need it to be somewhere that doesn't look like a trap, but where there's no civilians to get in the crossfire." She glances at Nate quickly, then at Emma. "And where it doesn't matter if Laura - or I - have to cut loose." She doesn't know whether Doug knows about the Trigger Scent, but she's not about to tell him if he doesn't.


"There are a few good places in the Salem Center area. Not so many in New York, of course," and the Facility has always attacked in New York. So chances are it has to be in New York. "Perhaps a park, or… near the grain elevator, actually. That area is a wasteland." He steps back to think, and talk telepathically to some others. Ray should decide where, it is her skin.


"I think the best way would be to choose our location carefully. Then sever their surveillance feeds as the two of them reach that location. That would be enough, given their previous involvement, to compel them to check it out, wanting to see where they disappeared to, and why. They would have to move in a team to reacquire them visually." And that would give Emma's team a chance to strike them. To hunt the hunters. And punish them profoundly. "A location neither has been before. But a location that they will have clear enough maps on to feel assured they can control the location." And still be wrong. It will not be easy to choose a location, but Emma is sure they can find one. And that she is rich enough to buy it outright for their purposes.


"Or we could find out which territory -they- own, let them think they've got X-23 and Rachel where they want them, and then spring it around them…?" Doug chimes in. "I mean, like… I think we might have a lead on the different types of places they operate out of, so if we find something similar to that, we could cross-reference against places they've already operated out of and see if there are any similarities. They might decide to go after them right -there-, instead," Doug offers up, before hesitating. "Or we can do it your way. Either way… we'll set up surveillance there."

Typing at the keyboards, Doug calls up several possible locations fitting Emma's preferences. While surreptitiously adding his as options too.


Rachel's given as much input as she can, now she has to sit back and let Emma and Doug do the hard work until she's needed. She feels a flicker of frustrated impatience, but knows there's not much she can do. She really doesn't know this world yet, and a good chunk of her attempts to explore it have been met with attempts to kill her. "Whatever works. I'll play bait. And you know Laura will agree." Rachel frowns a bit. Laura won't even think about it… but the young assassin's more suicidal tendencies are something Rachel can try to work on once the Facility is no longer a threat. Rachel slips down from her console. "I'll try to find Laura, and tell her the good news." It's an odd way to put it, but Rachel's pretty sure Laura will take the chance to strike back positively. "We'll be ready."

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