Hunters Hunted

June 01, 2017:

Mutant hunters are hunted by mutant fighters, and in this clash of wills the X-Men pull ahead (emits by Nate)

A military outpost close to the Indian Ocean

Destroyed during the scene

Characters

NPCs: Genoshan Sentinels and Magistrates

Mentions: Ravager

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A few minutes ago this was a small military-style post. A full platoon of the Genoshan Magistrates had set camp, dug in, prepared defenses. Psychic bafflers, dampening fields. The works.
After losing three press gangs they knew someone, possibly a mutant gang, some local superhero, or even a Wakandan war party, was fighting back their raids. They were going to hunt down these interlopers and destroy them. Make an example of it, too.
The lost the communication center right away. No reinforcements would come through the Pipeline. The psychic bafflers burned and half the Magistrates fell to a telepathic strike before the platoon commander activated the trap.
That was a minute ago. And Nate Grey has been forced to fight three Genoshan Sentinels simultaneously, with the surviving Magistrates throwing everything and the kitchen sink at him, too.
Four says without sleep have sapped the young mutant strength some, but not dismissed his rage or his thirst to fight. One of the sentinels has been thrown away fifty yards and is standing up, looking somewhat battered. Another is firing twin shoulder-mounted chainguns, the massive weapons disintegrating threes and vehicles at 9000 rounds per minute. The last one is attacking with the napalm flamethrowers in his hands. Magistrates add machine gun fire, lasers and even grenade launchers to the onslaught. A couple of them are armored up and carry large railguns.


Illyana is not Nate's keeper (although some might say he needs one) but it's usually a good bet that if you want to find the dimensionally displaced X-Man, she can find him for you.
So when Cyclops mentioned that his texts to the temporarily-exiled Nate were going unanswered and enquired about checking in with him on Muir Island, Illyana was all too happy to reveal, with every impression of complete innocence, that Nate hadn't gone to Muir at all, and was instead sunning himself in Kenya. And that she was certain he wouldn't mind if they dropped in on him unannounced.
That was about five seconds ago.
As Illyana looks at the raging firefight that they've just teleported into, there's really only one thing she can say. "In my defence, I didn't think he'd have started a war this quickly!"


When Scott requested Illyana seek out Nate he did not anticipate being drug from one end of the world to the other. While in transit he has drawn his cowl up beyind the golden rimmed ruby visors. Not too pleased to be on a joyride through Limbo. He did ask though. This is partially his fault; he is fast learning how Illyana Rasputin operates. What you ask for is exactly what you get, whether you like it or not and specifics are important. Maybe she is just twisted or likes to screw with Scott? Possibly both.
"I should have just asked Storm to check on him but she was bold enough to go commercial." Which means it would have taken even longer to know what is going on with Nate after his temporary exile but it wouldn't have been as… thrilling.
It's arrival that has Cyclops looking directly at Magik then the firefight, "Wonderful." No hesitation for the X-Men's once again leader, he is already racing off the stepping disc to fire a high powered optic blast at one of the sentinels. That same blast widens then arcs towards the ground sweeping over four Genoshan foot soldiers and a Magistrate. Magistrates are usually tough to deal with but these ones seem to be fresh, new recruits or just simply inexperienced.
"While I applaud your initiative Nate this level of recklessness remains a concern."


** Alert. Two new alpha class mutants detected – Unit Sigma 65 engaging **
That is said by Sentinel number 3, who was standing up a distance away from the main battleground. This fourteen feet tall war machine turns to Cyclops and Magik and opens fire with the chainguns, running towards them at top speed. Genoshan Sentinels are usually geared to subdue mutants, but these three have been armed to kill.
Still, the Sentinel is not quick enough to stop the first optic blast from smashing one of the other machines. Hit by the equivalent to a speeding truck, the Sentinel falls to its knees and hands, and the stream of napalm ceases. The back armor is not as strong as the chestplate, so it is blown away in parts, revealing the mechanisms and circuitry underneath.
The Magistrates are surprised, and sent flying, bones broken. Only the armored one stands up and manages to pick up his gun.
And from the center of the fire and destruction Nate takes advantage of the momentary pause to take the offensive, launching forward and smashing against the chest of the Sentinel, bringing it down on its back. His is a figure of golden light, burning with napalm. And screaming something in rage. Before the Sentinel can recover, a telekinetic blast surges from his left eye and smashes the faceplate of the robot, shattering its head.


With Illyana, it's definitely a case of be careful what you wish for. Perhaps she's just obedient and literal to a fault?
More likely Scott's suspicions about her are on the money.
As Scott hares off into the fray, Illyana hangs back for a moment, blue eyes finding Nate in the thick of the fighting. "Should have gone for the cocktails on the beach idea, Nate. I did tell you." Reaching up, she draws her Soulsword, polished silver armour materialising around her left shoulder and arm as she does so, while her clothes shift into something a little more combat-ready. She takes a couple of running steps and vanishes into a portal…
…to reappear close to Scott. "You're taking this better than I expected!" She calls over to him, but despite appearances she is paying attention to the battle. As the chainguns zero in on her she smiles a truly evil smile and conjures a stepping disc into existence between the Sentinel and them. The stream of bullets vanishes into the glowing portal and, after a brief trip through Limbo, exits from another portal…
…right behind the Sentinel itself. "See how you like it." She tells the Sentinel, tartly.
And then there's a raging, flaming Nate tearing into a Sentinel. "You've looked better." Illyana says under her breath, then glances at Scott. "Pull out or stay and play?" She calls to him, not seeming particularly concerned either way.


Cyclops is not trying to kill the Genoshans only destroy their armor and cripple them. The wider optic blast was actually weaker than the more focused one that struck the Sentinel. Footsoldiers get more of a crowd control approach as opposed to direct and deliberate damage.
"Am I?" Cyclops composure is quite solid and unreadable. He doesn't appear to be upset, angry or concerned right now. He simply appears focused.
As the teleportation disc appears between them and a hailfire of rounds and is then redoubled back on the Sentinels he grins a tight small thin-line.
"It's a small unit. We have the advantage and should press it. We're likely just going to end up facing them again later anyways."
"Take them all out."
There is another lance of crimson light heralded by the loud VZZAP sound. This one actually hammering in to one of the neglected Sentinels to richochet off and pound the exposed side of the other that one of his fellow X-Men is attacking. A banking shot. Cyclops is showing off. Sentinels are something he can fully unleash on. No reason to hold back with automatons.


It takes Sentinel Sigma 65 0.2 seconds to realize what Illyana portals are doing and stop firing. But in that time 30 hypersonic 30mm armor piercing shells hit its back. The composite high-density ceramic armor is superb and it stops 25 of them completely. But the other 5 penetrate the inner mechanisms of the chest cavity, ricocheting and exploding inside, causing catastrophic damage through the Sentinel’s CPU and engine. The giant robot stumbles forward a few more steps, and then topples down when hit by Cyclops ricocheting blast, face-first.
Nate is not replying to Illyana, since the decapitated Sentinel is still fighting, trying to grab him with massive hands. Instead he grabs them and rips the arms off. First one, then the other.
The last Sentinel manages to roll over and stand, bracing himself to Cyclops blast, which this time hits its heavily armored front. It retaliates with a barrage of grenades heading to Magik and Cyclops general direction.
The remaining Magistrates rally behind the Sentinel, opening fire with small arms and rail guns.


Apparently Sentinel Sigma doesn't like the taste of it's own medicine. Still wearing that evil smile, Illyana steps unhurriedly out of the way of the toppling Sentinel, the shock of its impact whipping her hair about some and sending a few pieces of shrapnel to ping off her silver armour, but otherwise leaving her untouched. She raises her Soulsword, pointing the gleaming blade at the Magistrates. "You're next!" She calls out to them, a touch of unholy glee underlying her words.
And they respond with a rain of grenades!
Illyana's head snaps around, finding Cyclops. "You'll like this." She tells him, as if explosive death wasn't falling from the sky, and they vanish in a flash of light, right before a rapid series of blasts craters the area they just vacated. Right behind the cowering Magistrates, a circle of light appears, depositing Cyclops and Magik. "All yours." The Russian sorceress tells Cyclops, generously.


Satisified with his last attack Cyclops is formulating the next step when a shower of explosives is cast towards him and Illyana. It's not something he can think himself out of but fortunately Magik is beside him.
Putting faith in the sorceress he awaits their transition. Calmly, deadly calm he nods to Illyana, "I do." Like it? Yes. Very much does. It's not just the back of the Sentinel he has exposure to but also the Magistrates
A slender strong set of fingers lift up and touch to the side of his visor widening the lense.
"Nate. Shield Yourself!"
KSHAKKKKKKKKKRAZZOOOM
A red eruption of light engulfts not only the Magistrates in a wave of strobing pulses but also the exposed backside of the Sigma class robot. The damage already present means he doesn't have to amplify it more than a wide area of effect blast that concussive in nature should at first just send the smaller units rolling across the ground, clattering out of range like they're being blown by gale force winds before the harder impact begins. That WIDE 90 degree arc narrowing in, zeroing down to a pin point laser beam no larger than the thickness of a baseball bat. It pierces through the armored backside and actually writes an X.
Scott's mouth quirks only slightly. No more than an uptilt like earlier. He won't release his shot until the Sentinel topples.


The last Sentinel name is actually coded Tau 66. Not that it matters when Scott’s blast hits its weakened back armor. The mutant punches a big hole through the machine, which actually seems to glow red as the energy eats its insides, turning them into pulverize metal and semi-conductors.
Most Magistrates are knocked down too, although a few managed to remain conscious and try to crawl away, bruised and terrified. Despite their excellent training, they are not used to real battles with powerful mutants.
Nate, shields. He shields himself and the Sentinel he is systematically dissembling (and cursing while he tears it apart). “Gotcha!” He finally shouts.
TK shield comes down, and a bruised, battered Nate, half of his face covered by blisters and shrapnel holes decorating his uniform with red, turns to Cyclops and Magik and grins. “I have the CPU. Intact. A trophy for Kitty.”


There is a snort from Illyana's direction as she takes in just where and how Cyclops has signed his work. "Just in case they didn't realize it was us?" She suggests, although her attention is already being drawn away by the fleeing Magistrates. Ice blue eyes narrow. She's tempted to open a few more portals and give her pets a treat, but… she glances back over her shoulder at Cyclops and mentally shrugs.
Instead, she turns smartly on her heel and walks over to where Nate's been enthusiastically dismantling that Sentinel. "I'm sure she'll be thrilled." Illyana says it with the kind of fake, long-suffering tone that knows Kitty WILL be thrilled. She looks Nate over, taking in the obvious damage. "You got yourself half killed souvenir hunting. This is new."


Cyclops walks past Illyana and Nate as they occupy themselves with the Sentinel. A hand rises up and points at one of the straggling Genoshans, "Retreat. Tell your superior officers the X-Men are going to stomp out every last outpost, rats nest and hideout your people seek to claim. This is no longer a safe world for any of you who wish to enslave or harm mutants. We are being merciful this time but this is only the beginning. No go!" A ZRAKT of red dances out, shoots a line in the ground by the Magistrate and then snaps back out of existence.
"Now. I am satisfied." The mutant says as he joins the other two, "Nate, what is going on? You're starting to form a habit of poking at some very open and ugly wounds. Ones that poke back. I tell you to go to Muir Island for a bit and you show up in Africa fighting Genoshans?" Cyclops doesn't sound angry. His voice is just flat, baritone and carrying. "If not for Illyana responding to me… " He trails off, done speaking to let Nate do so. He is ready to listen.


"I was fine," lies Nate. No, he could have been killed, and he is pretty badly injured, but also… indifferent. Grim. "I poked them until then sent Sentinels. Now I can get back," he adds, "I have learned quite a bit about Genosha." He looks with narrowed eyes at the retreating Genoshans, giving them the same kind of consideration Illyana was. Only his plan involved merciless mind-scanning, mind-wiping and tossing them into the worst prisons of Kenya. But Scott is around and he is not going to make an argument out of it. "Lets go."
Illyana might notice Rose is nowhere to be found.


Oh, they weren't done? Maybe Illyana should have offered to clean the area of errant Magistrates after all. Too late now. Besides, Nate is failing to explain himself to her. Her eyes narrow dangerously. Lying to her is not appreciated. "Yes, you look fine." She tells him, turning away as Cyclops joins them.
"Nice speech." She tells him, and might actually mean it. When Cyclops mentions that she let slip where Nate had gone, she just glances at the younger man and shrugs. If it was supposed to be a secret from Scott… she probably wouldn't have listened anyway.
"'Let's go?'" Illyana repeats, as if she expects perhaps a thank you or at least a please to be tacked on somewhere. "Fine. Am I picking up anyone else on the way?" She asks pointedly. Nate's at least half suicidal and Rose missed the firefight. Illyana's not THAT slow on the uptake.


"Thank you." Cyclops says cooly to Illyana as she compliments his speech, "Can you give us a moment?"
The older X-er doesn't await her response instead he walks to Nate, his voice holding a firm edge to it. A tip of his chin indicating the wreckage and ruin. "You think his is fine?" An immobilized Sentinel shooting out sparks suddenly ignites in fire, one of it's hoses breached and catching blaze. "This is not fine. This is rage and pain."
Closing in on the telepath Scott stops and stares at him, that red visor locked on Nate's own eyes.
There is a long silent moment then his gloved hand lifts and falls to drop on to Nate's shoulder. "You do not have to go through this alone. We are family. You and I are blood, you are the closest thing I have to a son and you belong with the X-Men. As of this morning Storm has left the X-Men and we are in need of every single one of us, even you Nate. You need us. We need you. It is that simple."
"I am working out an angle with Agent Cooper and I will be speaking to our SHIELD liaison soon. Just come back with us to Westchester for now…. "
Scotts hand falls away and he walks towards Illyana coming to a halt beside her, "Thats it. That is all I have to say for now." His delivery was emotion lacking but it's the best Scott Summers can manage right now.


"No, no one else here. All the way to New York," beat, "please," Nate remembered politeness at some point. "Mutant Town works, you can take the electronics to the mansion labs. I will email Kitty or just tell her telepathically."
Scott's delivery makes Nate wince. It is the speech he expected from Jean, not from Scott. A speech he is not sure he believes. Rose left the X-Men after clashing with his 'parents'. That is a failure right now he can hardly forgive. It pushed her further into the dark road she is walking now.
"I got to talk with Ripclaw. I owe him." He states flatly. Dr. Corben can check his injuries and patch him up. "But I'll drop by the mansion later the weekend."
"Genosha must fall." He concludes.


There's a not very nice part of Illyana that wants to keep poking at Nate until he comes clean about exactly what happened between him and Rose. It's the same bit that's responsible for the flicker of irritation in Illyana's eyes as Scott walks right past her and commandeers the conversation, leaving her holding the Sentinel's CPU as some kind of weird consolation prize. She wrinkles her nose a bit as she looks down at the thing, then steps back to give Scott his moment with Nate, uninterrupted.
Illyana nods briskly when Scott stops next to her. "Back home it is." She confirms, before Nate just has to be different. It's enough to draw a frown from the Russian. "Or not." She shrugs. Two destinations are easy enough. "I'll come and find you if you don't show up, Nate." She tells him, warningly, and summons a pair of stepping discs. One for her and Scott, one for Nate.
A moment later they're gone, with only wreckage and a tagged Sentinel left behind.

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