Ponderosa

June 13, 2016:

A call from someone claiming to be with The Brotherhood to meet them ends up having some X-Reds facing down another type of power suit … at least they get some information on Hellstrike

New York

Characters

NPCs: Ponderosa

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Of all the people that might have contacted Bobby, he wasn't expecting to hear from the Brotherhood. At least, that's who the voice on the phone said she was. A member of the Brotherhood that had important information for X-Red. She wanted to meet in M-Town, in the old park off the 'strip' - the area of nightclubs and bars that is most of the nightlife and much of the business in the district.

It could be trap. The Old Park is overgrown and disused. Some nights it sees violence, most nights it sees crime in the form of drug deals and other crimes that require some form of… privacy. Still, here Bobby is, standing at the entrence in his leathers. He doesn't see anyone… but then the meeting place is further in.


"Just the usual amount of unsettled emotions" Brins standing by Bobby's side. She'd been there when the call came in and insisted that she come along. The Brotherhood … is generally bad news, but lately, they've been a source of good information.

The small X-Red is also in her leathers and she's tense. "Let's go, then." They should be able to handle anything that happens here.


Bobby nods and starts to walk. They're not ten feet in when there's the sound of a tree in the distance splintering and falling.

Of course this was too quiet and peaceful to last. "Great." Bobby falls into a run. The area up ahead is so overgrown that it's impossible to see more than ten or fifteen feet ahead, especially in the dark. Impossible but for Bobby, that is. He can see into the thermal spectrum. He can see heat. And he can see something - a few something's - up ahead moving.

Brin can feel the change. There's a definite sense of anger tinged with panic. Then the sound of weapons fire. Not the staccato bang of a firearm. This is the whine-pulse of something far more advanced. There are muted red flashes in the treeline ahead.


"Oh god." Brin freezes for a moment as the emotion changes and then catches up to Bobby, having to put on extra speed to catch him. She can't see what Bobby does, she can only feel the panic. "What do you see, Bobby." good thing she's been in training, those words didn't come out as a puff.

The red flashes and the whining though, cause her to jump. "What the …" With a little concentration, her green and gold wings appear on her back "Going to get high, see what I can … " Maybe they can do some tactical planning then.


Speaking of 'high', another member of X-Red is rushing to the scene via 'flight' - though it is more of a disruption of reality and leaves a trail of scarlet energy emanating from her hands by her side. "Sorry I am…" Her apology cut off by the sights and sounds of battle ahead in the darkness. She lands next to Bobby as Brinley starts to take up a better observation post. Wanda is in her uniform, peering forward as her fingers do strange movements to draw her magic to her. "Why do we never get to meet anyone over a quiet coffee?"


"Not sure Wanda. Maybe they don't-" Bobby's comment on their lack of normal socialization is rudely disrupted by the ground around him errupting into geysers of dirt and rock as red energy bolts tear up the earth around him. The ice nerd slides to a halt and throws up a shield but it won't last long the way it's being eaten away.

Wanda and Brinley have a much better look at a pair of sleek powersuits. Those aren't purifier. They're not reaver. They're like nothing ever seen before. They both have small, elegant shoulder mounted weapons that seem to be the source of the all the… hostility. The one not shooting at Bobby sprays the area with crimson death for both Brin and Wanda.


"Hello Wanda …" Brin greets the woman as she lifts into the air "… sorry, been a lit—-" the brunette cuts off as she reels backwards and higher trying to avoid that gout of red energy. "What the hell, Bobby? These aren't Reavers. These are … something else. Unless I can find somewhere to settle, I'm going to have run distraction for you two." Brin has, very occassionally, managed two constructs at once - but that normally leaves her with a searing headache and this early in an engagment, probably isn't great.

Hopefully being a distraction, doesn't mean she'll get shot. Then again, it's Brin and she's good at that.


Wanda doesn't like the idea of death. She throws up a scarlet wall of chaos as red beams slice through the air and tear out huge chunks of earth. Even bursts of energy need something to travel through so Wanda is doing her best to thicken the atmosphere in front of her so that the beam slows to a crawl and she can lightly step out of the way.

"I was told once that I led the Brotherhood in another universe. Do you think they will listen to me?" Wanda asks hopefully. "Though I do not think these people are mutants."


There's a third figure immediately visible. Someone leaps from the top of a tree and dives into the next one, seeming to meld with the tree itself. That's a handy trick. Unfortunately it's one that the power suits seem wise to as the one shooting at Bobby takes a moment to blast that tree into splinters, sending the treemelding mutant diving into a much scrawnier pine for cover.

"I don't either Wanda but anything's worth a shot!" At the moment he just hopes he can - there! The opening gives him a chance to send a wave of ice slamming into both power suits, knocking them down. It'll only be for a moment but perhaps his teammates can do something.


"Give it a try, Wanda." Brin's eyes widen as the treehugging mutant appears and she flits over to the scrawnier pine, trying to alight on it. "I hope you're one of the good guys…" she notes tightly - just as much as she hopes this tree will support them.

"Shield going up. Wanda blast them." the brunette calls as she wraps an arm around the trunk of the tree and wings disappear. With a thought, a glowing green and gold shield envelopes the suits. It will hold them - Bobby can freeze them some more and Wanda can rewrite reality - right?


"You want me to talk to them?" Wanda is never quite sure what to do when one of her 'crazy' ideas is treated seriously. But thankfully the time for talking is later. With Brin holding the chilled suits tight, Wanda mutters ancient words to herself, fingers contorting almost painfully as she tries to undo the reality of those fancy suits. An electron here, the high speed friction of atoms there, and what was once fancy armour is hopefully a gas shell that will disipate in a breeze much less protect anyone. Unless they're prepared for that kind of trickery too.


Well… no. Who is prepared for that kind of thing. Chaos magic or whatever it is… that's almost by definition something that can't be planned for.

But they did plan for mutants it seems. As Bobby and Brin hold the power suits down and Wanda prepares to undo them a mental force slams into all three of them. The ice nerd is physically knocked to the ground. The attack on Wanda and Brin though is much more personal. Someone or something is dredging up fears, doubts, nightmares. Attacking their concentration and self confidence. At the edge of vision there stands a man, drenched in sweat, ratty, limp brown hair matted to his skull. He's panting hard, wearing some kind of… shock collar? Both women instantly know he's the one attacking them, apparently trying to let those suits up.


It really doesn't take much to bring Brins fears to the surface. She might have done a lot of work lately on dealing with them - but they're still there. The smell of gunsmoke, the rapid report of weapons, the feel of her teammates emotions as they die around her - and her unable to help.

As the wave hits her, the shield flickers and falters and then fails… and Brin freezes for many, many long moments. Finally gathering herself, noticing the shabby looking man, she focusses all her attention on him "No…." sending every fear and feeling of horror that she's just relived right back at him.

It's kind of amazing, she didn't fall out of the tree.


Wanda has only just discovered the barest shreds of self-confidence so it is very easy to knock her out of the fight in such a way; especially when she didn't have the ability to defend herself. The voices are back, yelling and screaming in her head as she drops to her knees and clutches at her head. "Pietro!!" That scream may tell the others what kind of visions are searing her mind. And with her powers those visions are as real as reality. Reality is very fluid around the witch.

As she grits her teeth and tears flow down her cheeks, Wanda's magic starts to shroud her in a whirring scarlet mass. The kind of thing that looks like it is going to explode any moment.


"Wanda!" Bobby picks himself up and see's what's going on. He's about to head after the telepath but thinks better of it and runs to Wanda instead. "Wanda snap out of it! Hey…"

Bobby… really can only think of two ways to try and bring Wanda back to the present. He doesn't think he'd survive slapping her and doesn't want to anyway. So instead he attempts to pull her into a tight hug and hopes he doesn't get shredded by her magic.

The power suits are up in a moment though and none too soon because the telepath is also pretty fragile. He falters, hits his knees screaming. One of the suits scoops him up and then both leap into the air and rocket away. They're done here, it seems.

A young woman who'se skin and hair are the color and texture of pine park appears next to Brin. She's actually leaning out of a tree. "Whew… Never thought I'd be glad to see you guys. Uh, what's up with the red chick?"


Brin pants and holds onto the trunk for dear life. Her head is throbbing - like it usually does after using that ability. The appearance of the tree woman has her startling for a moment… "Uh, visions of horror and fear, tend to do that." the brunette really wants to go down there and help out. "Who are you?" Realising that might be a little blunt, she sighs "I'm Brin. Were you the one that called us?" With a look, the X-Red's wings appear and she lets herself down from the tree.

She'll wait - for the tree woman to join her and to see how Wanda responds to Bobby.


You would think that someone who can tamper with minds would be able to resist being tampered with but it can be quite the reverse. The illusions are more vivid, more real, when your mind is set to do the same thing back. So that is why Wanda is shaking in terror from what she experienced - it was more than just seeing something, she felt its 'reality' to her core. And when Bobby pulls her into that hug and finds himself in a maelstrom of chaos, he gets to experience it too. A city devastated and in ruins. The cold concrete walls splashed red with what seems to be blood…or is it Wanda's magic? In the center of the street, the air filled with the acrid stench of death, is the eviscerated remains of Wanda's twin, Pietro. And standing over the body, a knife dripping blood in her hand, is Wanda herself. Her eyes crazed. A rictus grin on her face until she looks up at the sky. "Bobby?"

And then they're back in the forest, Wanda burying her head in the Iceman's chest and struggling for air through the heaving sobs that rack her body. "I saw the future" she rasps before pulling away and wiping away at her tears. "I am okay now" she lies before taking a deep breath. "My head is fine." A tap of the side of it to somehow prove this is the case. "Where did they go?"


"Gone…" Bobby says, keeping Wanda in that hug until she's good and ready to leave it. "They ran. You're safe." He doesn't say 'you're okay' because after what he just saw he's pretty shaken himself, so he's got a good idea that she might be as well. Brin can probably see him trembling from where she is. Wanda can most certainly feel it. That was…

Well, much like for Wanda it seemed real. Perhaps it was. The future? He'll have to ask about that later. "Your head is always fine Wanda."

The ice nerd glances up briefly, realizing they've got a guest. "Who's your friend, Brin."

"Call me Ponderosa. She saw the future? Doesn't look like it turned out so well." The woman glances over to Brinley and then back down.

"Thanks for saving my ass though. I've got some information about the people who tried to kill a bunch of us around the world. Stuff the Brotherhood heard. We're pretty… shattered here in the states though. I was hoping you guys could do some good with it." She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a stick drive which also, incidentally, has the look and texture of pine bark. "It's all on here."


Brin can feel what the two of them experienced and she has to take a moment to turn that ability off. It happens, when she's tired or stressed, her mind is open to it all, and it can have some adverse effects. When Bobby lets go of Wanda, Brin moves forward, first hugging Wanda and sending a wave of reassuring emotion in her direction … it causes her head to pound more, but it's worth it. Then she looks to Bobby, and puts a hand on his shoulder, sending a similar wave of emotion in his direction.

"Probably not, Ponderosa." Brin murmurs. "But I believe the future has many branches." No, that wasn't a deliberate pun "It's likely she just saw one of those." Taking the data stick, marvelling at the look of it, she looks back up to the tree mutant "We can try. Want to give us the cliff notes?"


Wanda appreciates the hugging. It probably would have worked even without Brin's abilities. "The future is never concrete" Wanda adds for Ponderosa, even though a few moments earlier she was convinced it was. "Hello, I am Wanda" she introduces herself, managing to summon up a little smile. "Who was the person that they stole…and those collars. They do not control powers, or stop them, so they are just like a shock upon command?" A glance to the trio before she takes half a step back. "Answer Brin's question first."


Ponderosa melds into the tree and then walks out the bottom of it when Brin leaves to give Wanda a hug. As she leaves contact with the tree she turns into a rather ordinary looking brunette woman with hazel eyes and freckles. "Cliffs notes? Bad people doing bad things because they're bad? Seriously take a look. It's all a little vague but it has something to do with someone called Hellstrike and where he was on the day of the attacks."

Bobby quirks an eyebrow at that. Interesting. Much more comforting is the notion that the future isn't set. That was a pretty bleak future in a lot of ways. He prefers to think that Wanda will end up much better than that to say nothing of her brother.

"I don't know who it was but he was definitely a mutant and a telepath. Don't think he was a local. Telepaths aren't real common. I'll ask around. Those suits. Never seen 'em before. They're really high tech, though. Like, better than the Stark stuff I've seen the military use overseas. Anyway, I should go. I don't want to be around if those guys come back. You should probably skeedadle too. Look at that stick." Pun not intended.

"We will. Thanks." Bobby says as the woman rapidly departs.

"Do you need a minute Wanda?" Despite the urgency of what they were just given it's not like they can't take a bit of time. What Wanda and Brin just went through reliving horrors, or living horrors yet to come, was pretty intense.


"That's what we wanted to hear…" Brin actually mutters. Maybe it's her headache making her tetchy. Or maybe she really doesn't like getting snarked at. Take your pick. "Thank you, then. We will take a look." The mention of the suits is just filed. It's something else that will bear looking to into - later.

Brin pockets the data stick as she looks to Wanda "Let's get Wanda home and settled. Then I'm going home for a hot shower and something for my head. We can start the analysis on the data stick in the morning." When Wanda is ready, they'll depart.


"No…I will be fine. We need to get out of here" Wanda replies to Bobby, her life as an itinerant resurfacing for a moment - do X-Red need to get out of anywhere? It's not as if they were doing anything wrong here. "It is okay, Brin. I can make my way back and will meet you at the base, da?" With that she lifts, rather clumsily, from the gound. Scarlet energy crackling from her hands as she propels herself back to HQ. A lot on her mind to think about.


"I'll head straight to the HQ. See you there W-" She's gone. It's gonna be another all nighter for the Ice Nerd.

"See you when you get in Brin. Pick me up a croissant or something if it's late enough, if you don't mind?" Bobby doesn't want leftover chinese food again.

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