Welcome Wagon

March 22, 2017:

Storn and Phoenix greet Reader with Iso in tow, as well as tales of Ennilux

1407 Graymalkin Lane - New York City

Xavier's Institute grounds are located on 1407 Graymalkin Lane in
Westchester County between Graymalkin Lane itself and Breakstone Lake (30
miles outside of NYC itself). A large portion of this is acres upon acres of
woodland forest. To the farthest eastern portion of the Institute's grounds
there is a stretch of low foothills.
Upon entering the Institute grounds immediately past the heavy
gated entrance one finds themselves on a carefully paved road that splices
in two directions, west and east.
The west leads to the School for Higher Learning where gifted
youngsters are educated and taught to use their unique talents. Here almost
year around children and teachers are housed.
To the east miles away lies Xavier's Mansion where Professor Xavier
himself and some faculty members of the school live. These "special"
individuals are those aware of Xavier's more clandestine operations, the
administration and training of the X-Men.
Beyond the neatly walled mansion's yard in those foothills is an
obscure landing strip that leads to a hangar complex and a subtly hidden
facility. A facility that houses underground sub-levels, a danger room,
Cerebro and the training halls of one of the most advanced mutant fighting
teams in the world.
An underground monorail connects the School for Higher Learning
with the Charles Xavier's Mansion and the X-Men's Hidden Complex. Security
is tight in this region, by means of limited magical warding, advanced
future tech security systems and telepathic sweeps. Tread carefully.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Black Bolt

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Well it took some hoping around after the escape from Ennilux. But Reader has finally gotten him and Iso away enough, and managed to get rest. Once he was rested, well Reader was able to teleport the two of them to the Mansion. Sure opening up a port to front lawn of the place isn't always a smart move, cause hey they could think it's an attack or something. Which is why the blind Inhuman makes sure he goes through first, followed shortly by Forey. The way is left open for Iso to make her own way, after Reader has made sure the way is clear of course.

There is the look at Forey, "Is the way clear boy? Anyone not happy to see us right now?" Hey have to be on the safe side. Especially considering the trouble, he could be dropping right into their lap. "Iso it's clear, if you want to join us. Just wanted to make sure we didn't startle them." And Reader has rarely used his own abilities around the X-Men yet, so well they may not have realized it was him that was showing up.

It has been a long, bewildering couple of months for Xiaoyi Chen, and she's hardly had time to stop and process everything that's happened. This afternoon's events are just case in point, really: she knows nothing about the X-Men, but here she is, stepping through a portal across massive distances in order to theoretically throw herself upon their mercy, in the hopes that they can teach her more about what she /is/. And she's making that journey alongside a man who sold her to a company that wanted to wipe her mind, turn her into a vehicle for someone else — a man of whom she now has, it's fair to say, a somewhat complicated opinion.

All of these things contribute to the faint wariness evident as she emerges from the portal, dust-smudged and slightly disheveled, in the hodge-podge outfit she and Reader were able to put together to replace the hospital gown in which she escaped Ennilux.

For comfort, she stops beside Forey, dropping into a limber crouch and setting one hand into the ruff of fur on the dog's neck, dark eyes slashing across the landscape and the manor. "It's…pretty," she admits.

The opening of the portal is enough to disturb Jean from the work she was doing. Her head rises and she sends a quick alert to Storm and other X-Men. Out the front door of the institute, she rises up telekinetically and flies at speed towards the portal. Upon recognizing Reader and Forey's signatures, however, the sense of immediate evaporates. She lands some feet away from the pair, just as Iso emerges from the portal behind them. "Reader," she greets. "What's going on?"

One moment, Storm is casually leaned over a pool table, that leather attire that only emphasizes the 'punk' of alabaster mohawk that falls like a veil over the contrasting dark shoulder of deep tan hue. The cue is pulled back…

…and hits the pool table without a grip upon it, a chill air sweeping over the lounge as the balcony doors had been thrown open and Storm leapt from the second level to hover just above Jean to her left, the foliage beneath them pressed flat under pressure beneath combat-booted feet as she surveys the portal while it closes and who steps through.

Slowly, Storm lands beside Jean and steps forward, her chin slowly rising as the Kenyan observes Reader, Forey, and … Iso… A light tilt of her head, siding with Jean.

Not yet speaking as the true question has been asked.

Once she comes through the portal, there is a rub on one of his cards, closing the portal that he had opened "I have been told that it is." Sure rub in the fact that the blind guy can't see the place. "Jean, Storm. This is Iso, she is going to need protection." Well sure that will need some explanation but for the moment he just leaves it at that one. "Please, help her." Forey himself moves a little closer to Iso when she puts her hand on him, and yes he barks at Reader after he talks. Reader himself gets the message.

"I was recruiting Inhumans for a company called Ennilux, before I started to help you out. Iso was one I recruited for them, it seems they had other plans for her than what I thought they were going to do." Well okay there is more too it, but that is a good sum up. He sighs to himself, "I got word of it, and had to go and free her. Ennilux will more than likely come after her."

After that he looks between Iso and Forey, well looks towards them anyway, "I will answer any questions that you have, but I need to make sure that she is safe first, please." She may not like him, but Reader is definitely sorry for what they were going to do her.

It's safe to say, judging from the guarded, ready set of Iso's shoulders as she rises out of her crouch, that what she didn't expect to see when she turned up for this meeting were people swooping around in the air at high velocity. Recent events have left her understandably on-edge, and she regards the pair of hovering women with uneasiness that reads more in her posture than in her expression, which manages to remain reasonably neutral.

She keeps her gaze on the women until Reader begins to explain the situation, at which point he gets a brief glance that flashes with some emotion difficult to put a name to, though she presses her lips together into a thinner line. She keeps whatever thought provokes it to herself, and returns her attention to the pair of floating figures, waiting in that cautious way to see what they make of what they've been told.

Now on the ground, Jean looks to Iso as Reader explains the situation. She then glances to Storm, her look silently conveying to her friend the obvious: If this is all legit, of course they'll help defend Iso. She remains silent for a moment, however, letting Storm answer on behalf of the X-Men. Meanwhile, she studies Iso. It would likely be a simple matter to scan the woman's emotions and mind for the truth of it, but she refrains for the moment. Not a good way, after all, to win friends — though it's great for influencing people.

"I cannot judge for what you did before now." Stom states, though her tone towards them is cool, level. Placid. "You have your reasons, and though you keep them loose," A pause and Storm looks towards Jean. "If you want our help, being vague is something you may want to reconsider."

With Jean's deep emerald look, Storm's own is almost crystalline in inspection. An opal fading from one to the next of Aquamarine levels. Iso is regarded then, deeply. "And what do you say? We seek to end this divide and harbor many Reader speaks for after the recent…" Storm stops her wording to only leave it open, though diplomacy evident.

"A hand for a hand."

"I have told you a majority of what I can. All that is left is that Ennilux was going to kill her in a way. From what I was told they were going to make her the next Capo of their group, it is not a good thing." Hey how else can you describe they were going to erase her mind and put someone elses there! "I was the one that put her in danger, it was my responsibility to get her out of it." See it's good to have the eyes covered at times, they do help cover the emotions that normally show through them.

""You have put a lot of trust in me, and I appreciate it. I regret working for Ennilux, but I did think they would take care of Iso, I found out differently." Sure his eyes may not be shown but he does hang his head, "But they will be coming for her, I'm not sure when, but they will try eventually. She is too valuable for the current Capo to lose." Sure eventually he will die without her, but who knows how long that will take.

More complicated glances at Reader, from Iso. She keeps her mouth closed, but whole volumes of mixed feeling are written in the way she looks at him. Her fingertips stir in Forey's coat, scratching behind one of the dog's ears. And then Storm addresses her directly.

That effort toward diplomacy is somewhat lost on Iso, who tracks the interaction between Storm and Reader with sharp, dark eyes. That hanging sentence with its tactful reluctance to describe the Terrigen…incident…produces only a blank look in the young woman with the half-shaved head. "Everything I know about the world has been until the last two months almost entirely academic." She's soft-spoken, but there's a quiet self-confidence in her words that implies more fortitude of will than one might expect. She retains a heavy Mandarin accent, but her English fluency is flawless. "Wulingyuan is rural, out of step with the rest of the world. I don't know anything about what's happened — nothing more than Reader told me as we travelled. I'm not…" She hesitates, then presses her lips together, summoning her resolve. "I'm not prepared to be political. But I know…that…I need help. And I also know that I might be dangerous to give help to." She ticks her gaze from Storm to Jean and back again. "Reader says that you want to study Inhumans in order to help them. I don't know what that means, but if what you do here really is meant to help people, I can give you whatever assistance I can." After a brief silence, her shoulders fall a little. "That's really all I have to offer in exchange."

«I think they're telling the truth,» Jean sends privately to Storm. So, that said, she steps forward towards Iso. "Well, there's no sense our standing around out here in the cold. Come in and have a cup of tea, at least. I, for one, would like to find out more about Ennilux." A beat. "Also… What's a Capo?" She's actually not that familiar with InHuman politics. She's been out of the loop until recently.

Storm regards Jean with the words passed, a tip of chin and she steps forward as well. "Captain. Leader. Capo/ne… Al…" Storm states with a smile as Iso is stood beside, a hand rested on her shoulder while the other gestures to Reader.

"We have harbored before, helped, and resisted. But we have to know what we are up against." Those pale blue eyes close.

«The children…» To Jean, as they should not see what unfolds, ultimately if all goes south. It has before, she has read and seen it - they should not.

"Tell us how to prepare. All we need in turn as those we have offered safe haven to… You help. Nurture where we cannot." A pause and with the gestures offered by both Storm turns and heads for the mansion.

"We still have room we will make, food, and clothing. Thank you. For being true." A smile to Jean and Storm lifts a hand.

"Perhaps dinner over The Godfather. Goodfellas?"

"The leader, the guy in charge. An old Inhuman who has been in charge of Ennilux for a long time. He has an astral form, but not sure what his range is on it." Well that is a good sum up, of course Storm already explained. "Ennilux is corporate, they have offices spread around the world. They also have resources that even I am not sure of. But they are dangerous." Maybe he should have just tracked down Black Bolt, he could have stood up to them, they wouldn't cross the guy, would they?

"I do not know if they can track us. I spent some time doing what I could and jumping around with Iso for as long as could. I did not want to take them straight here." Reader pauses again after that, "Food would be good." Is all he can say on that one, "I am sorry for having to do this, but I do not think we had other options."

It would be a lie to say that Iso looked /completely/ comfortable, but then given what she's said, she's very much a stranger in a strange land. Her entire life has been turned upside-down in ways she has yet to be fully educated about, and now she's casting her lot in with people she knows hardly anything about, on the faith of a man she no longer entirely trusts.

Rough month.

She does look /grateful/, though, when Jean says they ought to go inside and have tea, and for the first time the corner of her mouth turns upward. Just a little. "That would be nice."

The smile fades in favor of solemnity as Storm tells her what will be expected of her in exchange for safe harbor. She her head in a nod deep enough to suggest a bow. "I understand. I'll do whatever I can."

She glances at Reader, and grudgingly nods. "I think we were careful." Whatever her feelings about his bounty-hunter activities, she can't deny that he's gone to some lengths to keep her safe since the escape.

Jean is pretty sure the children will be fine. While she doesn't disrespect the threat that this Capo represents, she's a good line of defence against Astral Plane attacks. "I'll keep an eye out for any astral attacks," she promises. "And for other intruders." But, as far as she can see, the decision's been made. Iso is now theirs to protect… along with the children. "We can always take them downstairs, if you prefer." In this case, she's referring to the facilities beneath the mansion that the children don't access. Regardless, she gestures towards the building. "I'll go get the kettle on." It's not like she can't keep an ear on the conversation from a distance, after all.

"Do not worry. You are safe here, we promise." A small up-tick of one corner of Storm's lips and she glances back while the doors to Xavier's are pushed open to them.

Jean's words have Storm pausing, thinking and giving a low dip of crown in acknowledgement. "The last time we offered such, the children bore witness. Too young, but we were not this prepared and it was not this… New. ((Or Nu?))" A roll of bare shoulder and The Institute late-night is open to them, but limited in access. Reader could guide Iso, as he knows the limitations within as well as the places left open after the guided path from Jean and Storm. "We need contact with your Royalty. Soon. Time is running out, but it does not mean you should not be shown what little time can grant."

A glance between Iso and Reader, then the cafeteria doors open. Empty save for Jean's preparations and what can be gathered by them all from the large line of refrigerators and freezers.

A key is flicked from twixt Storm's fingertips to Iso from nothing to something. "Your room, unless you prefer to room with Reader and Forey, clothing will await outside your door in the morning." Beat. "Help us, help you?"

A flash of an ivory smile and Storm moves back behind to leave them to their own respite.

Reader follows Storm as she starts to lead the way, "I am not sure if Iso would be comfortable staying with me. But if she wants, Forey can stay with her to keep her company for now, if she wants." Hey that would at least make him feel comfortable as well, she gets some kinda protection as well, it works for him. "Iso, just avoid the three headed dog on the upper levels, and you'll be fine." Hey someone got him a braille copy of Harry Potter, he had to make some kinda reference eventually. His face glances between her and Forey, and then he kneels down and scritches at the dog, "Take good care of her boy. If you sense danger just start barking."

"Iso if you hear him barking, just run. I will be there as soon as I can, and will make sure you're okay." Hey he will always feel guilty over selling her to Ennilux. But he's going to try and do what he can to make it up to her.

"Storm, thank you for this. I am in your debt, and will do what I can to repay you." Of course the X-Men have given him a home recently and a place to belong. He can't begin to repay them for everything they have given him.

Reader follows Storm as she starts to lead the way, "I am not sure if Iso would be comfortable staying with me. But if she wants, Forey can stay with her to keep her company for now, if she wants." Hey that would at least make him feel comfortable as well, she gets some kinda protection as well, it works for him. "Iso, just avoid the three headed dog on the upper levels, and you'll be fine." Hey someone got him a braille copy of Harry Potter, he had to make some kinda reference eventually. His face glances between her and Forey, and then he kneels down and scritches at the dog, "Take good care of her boy. If you sense danger just start barking."

"Iso if you hear him barking, just run. I will be there as soon as I can, and will make sure you're okay." Hey he will always feel guilty over selling her to Ennilux. But he's going to try and do what he can to make it up to her.

"Storm, thank you for this. I am in your debt, and will do what I can to repay you." Of course the X-Men have given him a home recently and a place to belong. He can't begin to repay them for everything they have given him.

Quick reflexes on Iso, apparently: she snaps the keys out of the air even though she didn't expect them, and then glances down at their glinting shape in her palm. She tenses when it's suggested that she might prefer to stay with Reader. "No thank you." The words are polite…but firm. And perhaps to downplay that obvious tension, she summons up another small smile for Storm. "Thank you."

Of course, Reader continues to try to make up for what happened, which produces another conflicted expression on Iso's face. Arguably, the balance should be even, given he came back to get her out, but…Iso is capable of holding a grudge, apparently, as it doesn't seem she has any intention of letting that go easily.

She /does/ want to stay with Forey, though, and shoots Reader a grudgingly appreciative look. "Thanks," she says, and then glances down at the keys in her hand. "I'm going to go wash up."

Translation: 'I need some time alone to think about all of this, and maybe sleep in a real bed for the first time in two months.'

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