Daring the Abyss to Awaken

June 03, 2017:

The X-Men discover something harrowing while they experiment tactics against Genosha.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Close to the Matsya Research Center, Antarctica - Genosha / Argentina disputed territory.

98% ice and tundra. Antarctica weather currently not as harsh as one would expect, a twelve mile an hour wind and close to 25 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. The moon visible with a light darkness and clouds that still visibly drift overhead.

The Blackbird descends through those same clouds. Silent. Stealthy and through radar without notice, even the superior technology of the Genoshans is matched to outclassed by the Shi'ar advancements the X-Men's employ. Unfortunately such resources are finite and modification of them is costly, time consuming, expensive and takes an expertise few on Earth are capable of.

With a hiss the automated hatch to the outside of the stealthcraft opens allowing those inside an exit.

They are an estimated mile of trekking through snow to reach the Matsya Research Center. Their target for experimentation and ultimately destruction.

The base itself is a singular bunker that juts up out of the white landscape about thirty feet, several attached satellite dishes visible from afar and a fenced thirteen foot high perimeter gate encircling the entire location. A half a dozen tracked rovers are visible and parked, snow mobiles scattered everywhere. Armed snowcamo battle-dressed guards with Genoshan flags on their sleeves walk in four groups of two at various separated points inside and outside the fence. Slow, daily routine paces that have them talking more to one another than actually paying attention to their surroundings.

*

It's not like the guards expect a whole lot of action in the frigid cold of the Antarctic, after all. As it is, Jean Grey, a.k.a. Phoenix, is already actively working, even as the hatch opens. Her task has been to try to mask their small group from the Genoshan telepaths and other mutant-detecting technology her power can effect. Not easy, given Nate's bright psionic aura. Consequently, the x-woman is quiet, a tight expression on her features as she continues to concentrate… so those eight patrolmen remain as clueless as possible for as long as possible.

*

Nate hops down into the iced ground with a tin, feral smile in his lips. A white coat is cast over his uniform, and he wears gloves on his hands in consideration to the freezing weather. He feels rested and energized, with the old anger barely contained. Very much ready for a fight. "Look at them," he hisses. "Weapons are forbidden in Antarctic research installations," well, that only if the country has signed the UN accords. Genosha probably didn't. Don't tell Nate. "Beating them up is not even to feel illegal. Is SHIELD watching?"

25F? Illyana was born in Siberia, she's had to deal with far worse. Between her insulated costume appropriately recoloured for the environment, an added pair of gloves and a hat, Illyana's not suffering too much from the climate. Her boots crunch into the ice after Nate's, and her breath mists before her as blue eyes take in the white of the landscape, and the target rising out of it. If she'd have been alone she'd have preferred to scry the place from Limbo, but she's not. She glances across at Jean, noting the other woman's intense expression, and keeps a little something she found in her mentor's tomes at the front of her mind. Just in case Jean's concentration slips a bit. She snorts quietly at Nate's enthusiasm. "Is it going to make any difference if they are?" She asks him, quietly.

*

Scott is dressed in a white fur lined parka. Hands covered in gloves and a white shemagh over his lower mouth, the visor visible above it.

"Remember, Genosha is no longer following UN accords. They expect war on every front." Cyclops says, his voice muffled by the scarf. The trudge through the snow is tiresome and new, a good reason X-Men stay fit. At least most of them. Scott is a bit obsessive about it.

"Okay. We're close enough we go any further and we'll be setting off their sensors. We want anything mutant to stay out of that. This is a magical experimentation first and foremost." Ruby slider settling on Magik, "Something small at first. See if they respond. If they do we want to know how they handle it. Meaning the rest of us get to wait, watch and learn."

There is a snowmobile sound. The noise of it coming from behind the X-Men, its getting closer and could very well disrupt what they're about to do if it is headed towards the group as it sounds like it very well may be. The sound louder and louder. Their visibility next to nothing on it unfortunately as they had to cross over a several snowbanks and frosty hills.

"Scion? Quietly handle that please. Phoenix is busy keeping us covert."

*

Jean has followed suit of the rest of the team, bundled up in white. She walks beside Scott, her eyes darting off in the direction of the sound of the snow mobile. But yes. Nate is much better suited to handle that. "Try not to blow things up psionically," she cautions him. "I can only extend my range so far and keep you covered." Because he's a supernova.

*

Nate hrms. Then comments. "They can bring in reinforcements through communication networks, we should cut that out as soon as possible," the noise of the incoming snowmobile draws his attention, and he nods to Scott. Carefully he opens his mind, partially lowering his psychic shields to 'listen' for nearby minds. Unless the snowmobile is robotic, he will touch the minds of those inside and make sure they see nothing unusual. Not a fancy illusion or anything. They will see what they always see out there: Nothing of note. No Blackbird and no group of intruders.

*

Not so long ago Illyana was in the middle of a firefight with two of her three current companions. Then, she was the picture of unconcern. Now? Her eyes are that bit narrower, her brow is faintly furrowed and her jaw is a little tighter than normal. But she's still quick to nod when Scott gives his instructions. "No problem." She replies, making her tone a confident one.

The snowmobile is a distraction, the buzzing sound of the engine grating on her nerves. The news that Nate has been tasked with dealing with it /quietly/ doesn't do much to alleviate that concern. She puts it out of her mind as best she can and focuses on one of the pairs of guards. Something small… the words that she quietly speaks aren't English, or any language the others might be familiar with, and her hands trace symbols in the air. Scott asked for small. It's small. Just an illusion. But if it works, those two guards should be seeing a file of Emperor Penguins march by right… about… now.

*

Scott smiles in a small tilt behind that white fabric at Jean's words to Nate. He remains hunched down putting trust in the abilities of his team. By all appearances nothing more than pale lump in a white frosted landscape.

The snowmobile lands hard with a splash of upper snow in all directions, it's buzzing engine obnoxiously loud at this distance as the driver and the man (or woman) in the bundled winter coat latched to his back rip past the team without any display of acknowledgement. Nate's touch on their mind says they were easy to convince, exhausted already from a long patrol they put up little to no defense.

Penguins?? Two groups of guards are pointing, one laughs. The other three are moving in to try and shoo them out of the gates, weapons used like bumbers as they approach. Their Genoshan dialect of English at this distance not audible but the dialogue has to be no doubt amusing.

"This is good." Scott's voice inaudible at first as the snowmobile was too close now carries to them, "No alarms have been triggered yet. Try something bigger, something /just/ for their security systems."

*

Jean remains quiet, as much in deference to Illyana's concentration as her own. She does, however, smile at Nate's success and gives him an approving nod, crouched beside Scott as she is. Her mind, since she's pinpointed the psychic defenses anyway, also pinpoints other lifesigns so that she can keep track of who's responding to what.

*

"Cool, no anti-magic alarms, I guess," points out Nate, smirking at the illusion Illyana is sustaining. Nothing in the psychic plane, maybe she does it with light? Oh well, better no overthink, it is magic.

The annoying snowmobile is passing them by, and he keeps the occupants blind, making sure also they don't run over any of them. A soon as they are out of sight, he lessens the telepathic pressure, as not to draw the attention of mutant-detection equipment.

Illyana doesn't look around when the snowmobile bounces down and then roars past. Her attention is consumed by her spellcasting, simple though the results might be to those watching. When her illusion comes off and the guards react to it, she can't help but let a smug little smile of self-satisfaction settle on her lips. She'd thought she'd be called upon to conceal /them/, that's what she'd prepared for, twisting that into an illusion of something /else/… well, she's more relieved than she'd admit that it worked.

It's a much more assured Illyana that looks Scott's way for further instructions as her illusory penguins are shooed away by the guards. "I can do bigger." She tells him, more convincingly this time, although her mind is already racing. Energy manipulation. That should do it.

The words are spoken more swiftly this time, the gestures more complex but also more deft. Within the perimeter of the fence, a circle of ice suddenly flashes to steam, a column of mist boiling into the air, as if suddenly heated from below.

*

Low yield telepathic scans don't seem to trigger the Genoshan defenses either. Jean finds additional bio sources below the surface, almost forty healthy ones and then more than a dozen depleted or fading ones.

The guards are more than entertained by the penguins as it is boring down here on station. Their overseers in Genosha don't offer them a lot of distractions but now they have one! Their laughter though is fading in to annoyance, one of them is actually taking aim at a penguin only to be startled by the now present geyser of mist. Shouts of alarm come from the security forces.

Watchful eyes will see a slender pole on the outposts upper sensory array lift up and rotate, it folds near the top and a green light blips on cycles around in a full circle once before halting movement. It turns red. Alarms below the surface start to go off. The sound then reaches above ground. A loud keening electronic whine that cuts then continues.

The penguins are forgotten, the men and women on patrol are scrambling for defensive positions.

"Okay X-Men. Here we go!" Scott stands up, peeling the cloth off his mouth and a beam of red light ZZZZZZZKRATS out slamming in to the closing bunker doors. Smashing hard enough in to them to force them inwards in a bow, not allowing them to seal completely. He doesn't need to give orders now. It's time to show the Genoshans what the X-Men are capable of. Hopefully they now have enough Intel and a measuring point for use against Genosha later. Phase 1 completed.

*

No longer needing to play suppressor, Jean rises when Scott zaps the doors. They bow inward and she extends her hands, sweeping them outward as she telekinetically reaches out for them. Her fist close and she pulls them in towards herself before flinging them out to either side. In a visual mimic of her gesture, the doors groan and rip from within their pockets, bending outward, pieces of them flying away from the front of the base and landing some distance ahead of the X-Men in the snow.

It's very hard to secure doors that aren't actually there, any more.

*

The second Cyclops says 'go' Nate takes off. While Jean and he destroy the doors, he grabs telekinetically the sensor and communication arrays and systematically rips them off their emplacements, tossing the fragments to the scrambling guards. « Illy. Those guards need some hell » He suggests telepathically.

*
Illyana's expression twists into one of disgust when the alarms sound. What she's learned from this little excursion is that she needs a lot more practice in the mystic arts. Time to fall back on what she's actually /good/ at.

Scrambling to her feet when Scott gives the word, Illyana experiences a brief moment of disorientation, unpleasantly reminding her that casting magic here takes a lot more out of her than it does in Limbo. Nate's voice in her brain gets her moving again. Grimacing, Illyana summons a stepping disc and vanishes in a flash of light, appearing almost instantly in front of the guards. She gives them just enough time to focus on them before the area is lit by a much, much larger flash of light as a much, much bigger stepping disc swallows up Illyana and her victims. When she reappears next to Scott a few seconds later, she's alone. "Don't worry." She tells him. "Nothing's going to eat them." She adds in a slightly lower tone. "They might just wish it had."

*

Cyclops manages a quick grin at Phoenix before he is racing forward, through the chain link fence his optic blast already opened up. A quick dive for cover behind one of the parked rovers puts him out of direct line of sight. No chance of being plucked off by a Genoshan assault carbine or force rifle. At least for the moment.

"DEFEND THE BASE!" One of the Genoshan's shouts, his chest unlike the others is a dark blue plating, he is one baring a force rifle. A Magistrate. Better trained than the men around him and superior in rank, obviously. "No one runs." That African-Genoshan accented English thick, he's a native of Genosha, a true patriot no doubt. His name tag reads Bryggs. "You and you! Get up front."

They do. Joined by another of the security groups and end up vanishing in a whitewash of stepping disc light. "Shit." Sensors are going nuts. Bryggs can hear the monitoring station inside talking about the readouts, panicking about them before they went out. Not genejoke typical registry, this was something else. A code level 5. Exterminate on sight. Highest orders. That is how Genoshans deal with magic. Destroy it. Abolish it. Don't even play with it just ouright eradicate. Bryggs looks left and right, formulating a plan, none is coming to mind, his men are untested lately they've grown lazy.
Shoving his helmet up his face he points at Jean, Illyana and Scott, "Come on you apes! Do you want to live forever!?" A rallying yell from him and he starts to rapid fire at the gathered mutants. Three other men dropping to kneels or shoulder to cover begin to do the same.

Nate meanwhile is being fired at by two more as he tosses chunks of sensory installment down upon them.

Jean can sense a portion of the lifeforms within are heading topside, soon they will be out in the open to join the other Genoshans.

"Lets hope not." Cyclops replies to Illyana, "We just need to keep them bottled in. They only have one attack point. Don't let them spread out or push us back."

Then the ground around them trembles a little, in four points it starts to release snow in puffs, automated turrets start to ascend. They require only a few seconds to acquire targets.

*

Jean ignites a TK shield as force bolts and projectiles start flying, and drops down behind one of the larger segments of blast doors. «We're going to have company, soon,» she tells her teammates. «I'll try to keep them out of the fight, but you'll need to keep the fire off me, if you can, until I'm done.» Because it's hard to concentrate on putting stubborn mutants into sleep comas and maintain a TK shield when someone's shooting at you. Not, mind, that she won't give it a good shot. She's no slouch, after all.

*

Aw, crap. Automated turrets. No brains to hit, and guards are shooting at him. Nate can't get too fancy, he needs shields to stop the bullets. And he is still too slow with the telepathy for the kind of fancy stunts Jean and Emma seem to be able to do as if it was chewing gum.

But he is good as the hammer, and automated turrets are good for smashing. He climbs higher a couple seconds, bullets ricocheting off his now TK-reinforce body. Then dives on the closest turret, hitting it like a missile before it can aim anywhere.

One down, three to go.

He climbs out of the wreckage and attempts a force-blast against another turret.

*

Illyana grins back at Scott in a not entirely reassuring fashion, but doesn't say any more about the possible fate of the Genoshans she's kidnapped. She gives a quick nod to acknowledge his instructions. "On it." She confirms, almost cheerfully, then frowns as she feels the ground tremble. Her head whips around, takes in the situation, then snaps back to Scott. "Just one?" She remarks, smirking a bit, then flashes away.

Illyana reappears on top of one of the turrets, offers a jaunty wave to Nate as he turns another into a fireball, and then vanishes again, leaving the stump of her turret spitting sparks and leaking fluid across the icy ground.

There's another flash of light from the roof of the bunker, as Illyana drops through another of her portals to land lightly in a three point crouch. From her elevated vantage point, her eyes scan the battle below, looking for anyone trying to flank the other X-Men.

THUK
THUKF
VOOMP

Jean finds herself protected by her own powers as rounds and force bolts pelt in to it. A barrage from Sergeant Bryggs and his three fellow Genoshans. These shots relatively nothing to her powers. At least for now. Unless she faulters or loses concentration.

Bryggs doesn't release fire, yelling above the noise, "Where is my damned back up?!? Get me some muties up here to back us up!"

Genoshan Coms Response: "They just fell over! We're trying to wake them up but something knocked them out."

… Past those bunker doors and inside there is two confused Magistrate handlers that are roughly kicking the unconscious Dog Unit. The muties in their skinsuits just laying about in haphazard postures, one by one on their way up the ramp to the outside world they had just fallen like dominoes.

… Topside.

Bryggs swivels around in an athletic display watching as one turret EXPLODES in a spray of debris. A second one getting hit with a force that knocks in to it like it just got smacked by a massive invisible bat. The turret actually rattling back and forth. "Shitshitshit." He's in charge. He is number one and he is watching the X-Men systematically tear down his operation.

Third turret now also going down?! Nothing but a post in the ground where a young dangerous looking woman now stands. "Fuckin' muties." Bryggs takes aim on Illyana and opens fire
FVOOMP
FVOOMP
FVOOMP

All shots aimed center mass. He's a good soldier for a Genoshan.

Cyclops sweeps a blast along the remaining security soldiers, one by one they're knockd off their feet and thrown backwards. Unfortunately he isn't at an angle to take out that last turret.

The fourth and final turret is keyed in on Jean, her TK barrier suddenly being hammered by a continuous stream of machine gun fire. Projectile rounds pounding at her in rapid succession with enough force to shred through a light armored vehicle.

The alarms from inside research bunker still blaring loud, lights inside having gone from typical room lit to red strobe.

*

As her targets in the base slump, Jean raises her head just soon enough to be struck by the first barrage of solitary turret fire. It staggers her back, but doesn't penetrate her shields, now that the shield is all she needs to concentrate upon. The Phoenix aura flames out around her and she takes off skyward, arcing above the turrent and towards it, reasoning that the thing's swivel must have a limit somewhere, leaving it vulnerable. If she can't find it, she can perhaps reflect its fire back in on itself by adjusting her TK shield with the sweep of the Phoenix's wings around her.

*

Nate watches worriedly as Jean becomes the target of the last turret. But looks like the redhead needs no rescuing, so the guards or… those guys kicking at an unconscious mutate slave? He snarls.

Again he takes off, flying at high speed towards the handlers. Unless they have quick reflexes they will barely see him coming. They will feel him, definitely, as the first one is punched hard enough to shatter bones. The second one is grabbed by the neck and carried up a hundred feet up. "Do you like kicking helpless people, asshole?!" He screams on the face of the Magistrate. "See if you like getting it," he adds, entering his mind and smashing his ego and self with a point-blank telepathic blast.

One way to stop your enemy from spreading out is to give them something right in front of them to focus on. Something that Illyana may be doing just a little too well, all things considered, as she's staring down the business end of an advanced rifle. Her instinct is to teleport, but this is a message and a test. She throws one arm up, as if she's clawing at the sky, and shouts words that seem to have too many syllables.

She just has time to think that this had better work before Bryggs opens fire on her.

Force blast meets glowing mystical shield once, and she feels it. Twice, and she grits her teeth and lets out a little "Uff!" of effort. Third time, and she's rocked back as her shield shatters, nearly falling off her perch. Reflexively, she's turned sideways, the silvery armour covering her left side between her and Bryggs, but her eyes are still fixed on him.

"My turn." She snarls, and the Soulsword is burning in her hand - but when she lashes out, it's with her other hand, a bolt of mystical force conjured and leaping from her palm toward him.

*

These turrets though armored and state of the art+ still operate on swivels, it tracks Jean as she takes flight and then starts to knock loudly. Like an electronic door unable to close all the way it keeps trying to route left then right to get at her. The rounds she deflects scatter around it pulping in to snow but she is effectively safe and it's failsafes don't seem to be kicking in. Soon it is locked in place and a signal light on it changes colors. REPAIR required.

The turrets all accounted for Scott steps from cover to watch as Nate flies through the bunker doors and re-emerges with a man in his grip, "Restraint, Scion!" Cyclops yells loudly in reminder. "No deaths!!!" Not waiting to see any further outcome there he is racing inside the bunker. Stopping only when he comes to a stand above the Jean-induced sleeping mutants. Two of the stronger willed ones beginning to come to. "Don't move. We are not your enemies just remain on the floor, take no action and none of you will be harmed."

The singular Genoshan Magistrate in Nate's clutches stares hatred at the man, fear mingled in but mostly hatred, feebly he clutches his wrists. "One day someone like me is gonna kill you and your whole fucking race! Genetrash… Urk… " The whites of his eyes are visible and then his head rocks back, mind-melted. He slackens fully.

Bryggs despite his situation valiantly charges Illyana, a warcry even escaping him that turns in to a shocked sound, mystical bolt putting him on his backside, smoke slithering upwards from his impacted chestplate, he is not dead, he is just gasping loudly, pawing at himself. At his torso and twisting on the ground, mouth open, mouth closed, mouth open… like a fish exposed to air and hunting for water. Maybe he wasn't the expert combatant he thought he was.

*

The turret effectively shut down, Jean turns her attention back to the rest of the fight. She can't protect the man in Nate's furious grip, but she can keep others from suffering a similar fate. She lands in front of the bunker and looks around to see who might still be standing outside before heading inside towards where she knows she felt more minds stirring. «He's entirely too blood-thirsty and headstrong in battle.» she notes privately to Scott, via their mental bond. There's regret in her tone; since she 'remembers' raising another version of a son from Scott and her genetic lines… one who was infected with a technovirus.

But, following up on that thought will have to be for another time. There are still threats about and a job to be done.

*

Nate restraints from completely melting the Magistrate's mind when Scott screams. That man is going to need several months in a mental hospital, regardless. "Better he deserves," mutters the young man, flying down and tossing the man into the snow as if he was disgusting garbage. «Everyone alright? I think there are still a couple guards sneaking around and looking for a good point for snipping. And the crew of the snowmobile…» He has been already inside those minds, so he touches them again. SLEEP.

Illyana feels a vicious thrill of vengeful satisfaction when Bryggs goes down. A potent cocktail of adrenaline, raw magic and some of the… darker… aspects of her being are coursing through her body. She's rarely if ever channelled this much magic on Earth before, and she's going to suffer for it later. But not now. Now she just feels the rush of the power.

A step forward, then she jumps lightly to the ground, blue eyes colder than the ice all around her fixed on Bryggs as she stalks forward, the Soulsword idly sweeping left and right as she advances on him, finally planting a booted foot on his chest. It does nothing to help him get that lungful of air he so desperately wants. Illyana leans down, resting one arm on her knee, and the blade of the Soulsword in the ice beside Bryggs' head. "Now, what…" She asks, a light of unholy anticipation in her eyes, "…are we going to do with you?" She smiles and… are her teeth a little sharper than they should be?

*

Nate's voice sounds in her mind, and her lip curls momentarily at the interruption. Then she blinks. « Fine. » She thinks loudly in his direction, straightening up and calling back over her shoulder. "This one looks important. What do you want to do with him?"

*

Scott stands poised over the rousing mutants as Jean joins him inside the bunker. «I know. I'm trying. There is a lot to work through. Maybe later you should have a talk with him.» Cyclops is incapable of thinking about it too much right now, his red gaze is situated on the Genoshan researchers, scientists and workers who are filing out along the walls of the inside of the bunker, their arms all in the air. They are surrendering. A few of the soldiers are also laying down weapons to uplift their hands above their heads. "All accounted for?" Jean knows there are more. Two healthy lifesigns are in hiding or trapped while near a dozen are further below. Half-alive if not less.

The mind-fried Genoshan Magistrate flops in the snow. What security remains above has been dealt with by the X-Men down to the last man. The last man being Brygg. Brygg who is staring wide-eyed at Illyana, just about to peel free of his chest plate before she plants her foot on it, a sound like a whimper rolls out of him, veins start to appear on red skin, jutting out of his forehead like a lightning bolt and around his throat, cheeks puffing out. The man cannot breath. His damaged armor and Magik's weight even lightly applied is smothering the life out of him.

Inside the bunker they can hear Illyana's question, it's muted due to distance. Scott will let Jean handle it as he keeps his focus upon the Genoshans.

*

"There are two more actives," Jean tells Scott. "I'm guessing they're guarding a prison. There's at least a dozen prisoners down there, if their poor lifesigns are any indication." She gives him a tight, humorless smile. "I'd better go rein in the children."

That said, she's in the air, even in the corridor and streaking out to join Illyana and Nate in the snow.

Jean reaches out her mind to Illyana. «Hold him. We need to question him. That won't work, if he's dead.» Because she doesn't really want to question his soul in Hell. She lands lightly beside the Magistrate's head and shoulders.

*

Now they are surrendering. Bastards. Nate thirst for violence is barely sated, but he tries to control himself. He is not a teenage anymore. He was always so angry back then… this is certainly a step back.

"I'll go check those prisoners." Breathe, "you can handle the Genoshans, I just want to beat the crap out of them all." The prisoners might need first aid, he can do that.

*

Illyana gets an irritated look on her face when she realises Bryggs isn't messing around, he really is suffocating. "For Hell's sake." She mutters under her breath, glaring down at Bryggs - and then Jean's voice is in her head. She reluctantly removes her foot from his chest, then looks up as Jean alights. The redhead gets a crooked smile from Illyana. "You'd be surprised." She answers Jean's earlier, telepathic question, and then drops to one knee beside Bryggs. None too gently she grabs the front of his chestplate and hauls him up to a sitting position, finds the release snaps and yanks his ruined armour off of him, tossing it aside and letting him slump back to the ground. Illyana looks up at Jean. "He's all yours. Any stragglers you need me to pick up?"

*
Betsy appears almost out of nowhere. It's not that she's literally invisible, of course— but a telepath with a hunter's senses and her considerable repetoire of psychic powers and ninjitsu talents makes her the next best thing to it.

I believe the perimeter is secure for the moment,» the kunoichi remarks telepathically, effortlessly hooking into the psychic conversation. «But a second look around would be prudent, in case an alarm was missed.» She looks at Bryggs, then at Illyana, and gestures vaguely back at the fellow.

"Step on him again," she suggests, with bland coyness. "He makes amusing expressions when he can't breathe."

*

"There are still two guards down there. Be gentle, Scion." Cyclops makes sure to use their 'mutant' names in front of the Genoshans and while they're on the field. He stands there with arms folded over his chest as Nate makes his way below. He does not move but only stares at the fearful and angry Genoshans, they are defeated, they are terrified. They have never been in a situation where their lessers had the upperhand.

Brygg's immediately starts sucking in gulps of air, his eyes were actually beginning to black out on him, the spots, stars and discoloration coming back to him. Freed from his gear he looks around, through the haze. He stupidly starts to reach for a couple grenades by the newly arrived Psylocke's ankles. A small satchel of them. "Never surrender… " He hisses.

Below Nate will find two guards. They are unarmored but each has a handgun. They're prepared for siege but also the lowest ranking and least experienced of the Genoshan militants stationed here. What they guard is ghastly. It is not a prison. It is a room full of tanks, inside those tanks are humanoid men and women hooked up to apparatus and machines. Each individual in each tank has evidence of inhumane experimentation, skin peeled open, insides exposed, limbs amputated, odd pieces and parts of tubes or cybernetics jutting from places they shouldn't, boils, lacerations, recorrected breaks that fixed in to deformities.
Closer inspection reveals they all have a similarity, several actually. They're not humans or mutants at all. They're Atlanteans or were. Some of them are so disfigured its hard to tell if they are anything beyond meat and organs. It is grisly. It is something out of a nightmare.

*
Jean gives Betsy a reproving look. When Bryggs starts reaching for the grenades, however, she flicks her hand lightly. The satchel and its explosive contents lifts up and moves a fair distance away, well out of his reach. "You know," she tells him, "You really should be more grateful. Any of the others here will be much less humane in dealing with you than I." Even if she has to extract the information from his mind. She's the one who's most likely to leave him in a recoverable state — albeit perhaps with a changed worldview.

She looks at Betsy again. «You have zipties?» They need to bind this fellow up before he freezes.

*

Nate is not sure what the prisoners are, except they have minds, so they are people. The guards there are mind-blasted without mercy. Not killed only because Nate wants to know the identities of the ghastly experiments. « Looks like these bastards also want a war with Atlantis. Definitely we need SHIELD here… I don't even know where to start. Some of these people will die without constant medical support ».

*

Slim fingers sheathed in precisely articulated, polished silver armour ball into a fist and Illyana's arm begins to draw back - before Jean removes Bryggs' toys. The redhead's absolutely right, when Illyana saw Bryggs reach for the grenades, she was about to punch him in the throat, and that would have been MUCH less pleasant. Illyana glares at him, then stands up, brushing the ice from her trousers. "It's /so/ tempting." She remarks to Betsy, affecting obliviousness to Jean's reproof, and drops her eyes to Bryggs again. "So please. Don't surrender. If you irritate her enough she might let me at you again."

*

Betsy gives Jean an arch look, one brow quirking. She's dressed to kill— black and grey bodysuit that blurs her outline, her aubergine locks pulled back into a tight, braided bun at the base of her skull. A sanguine scarf covers the lower half of her face and a red sash in the same deep colors drapes asymmetrically from her hips.

She shifts her foot slightly and presses the heel of her shoe against Bryggs' fingers as he reaches, casually pinning them to the floor underfoot. Ignoring the main's cries of pained complaint, Betsy gives Jean another reproving look. She stoops with effortless, feline grace and with two fingers extended from a first, punches Bryggs twice, in the pocket of his collarbone on both arms, and aiming her fingertips for the median nervous cluster buried in the muscle.

"It'll be a few hours until he can move his fingers again," she remarks, rising sinuously. She looks down at Bryggs. "And if he makes a break for it, well… /she/ will probably just knock you out," Betsy tells Bryggs, pointedly trying to unnerve him as she gestures at Jean. "I'll break your ankles. And that's nothing compared to what -she- will do," the kunoichi says, gesturing at Illyana. Trickling psychic tendrils of icy fear float from Betsy's mind and start wriggling in Bryggs' brain, trying to plant a seed of terror in any plans of escape he might have.

She blinks, once, at Nate's thoughts, sensing his revulsion. "«Medical support? What has been done to them?» she inquires of the other X-man, sending her curiousity on psychic wings towards Nate to borrow his eyes from a distance.

*

A marching line of Genoshans is waltzing out in to the snow. Fingers interlaced behind their heads. Scott behind the procession with the now awake and somber Genoshan Mutates, these captives normally forced to operate under control of a Magistrate are confused, docile and clothed only in their skinsuits and collars. They don't resist Cyclops' orders. They are actually assisting him.

"On your knees. Keep your hands interlocked behind your heads. None of you are to move at all." «What about Atlantis?» Inquiry to Nate. The one best prepared for medical attention here is likely Jean.

Brygg is feeling the fear, it mingles with revulsion for these mutants and the loogie he was building up to spit on Illayana is choked back, he gags. Already sore of the throat its like hes about to die of his own spittle. He doesn't even pay mind to the manhandling he is getting as he is ziptied up. Threats are hardly necessary to him at this point

"We do not have full SHIELD support yet beyond Agent Lewis. She hasn't contacted me about word on her superiors yet." Scott admits as he joins the other three X-Ladies who stand near the Genoshan Magistrate's prostated form. He only stops moving when he is fully standing just beside Jean. The 'captive' Genoshans all look rather defeated. This is a sad victory for the X-Men but one none the less. "If Atlanteans are in this facility this is going to be a whole new batch of problems for us."

*

«I'm on my way,» Jean tells Nate, indeed the best suited to medical support. She looks at the others. «Don't kill him. Don't mutilate him. We need him alive and I hate having to do more medical treatments than necessary.» So, stop breaking his bones or making him bleed, is the undercurrent to all of them. Sparing the enslaved mutates a sympathetic glance, she then heads back into the bunker to find Nate and the captive Atlanteans.

*

Nate rejects Betsy's contact. No need for anyone else to see this carnage yet. «// Call SHIELD, Scott. We have a situation here. It is not just mutants. The UN needs to get involved //»

Yes. Even worse than he expected. Maybe he is an optimist deep down, because human savagery keeps surprising him despite seeing a whole world go up in nuclear fire once. «// Not to mention, what the hell are we going to do with so many prisoners? Unless you have changed your opinion about Limbo //»

*

Illyana flicks the fingers of her unarmoured hand to her temple in a sketched salute to Jean as she receives her instructions. Really, now that Betsy's incapacitated him so thoroughly, Illyana can turn her attention elsewhere. She takes a couple of steps to where Scott is standing. "I can start porting people out if you want me to. Just give me a destination." Her eyes skim across the mutates, then the Genoshans. She'd leave them here, happily, but she's supposed to be an X-Man. "We can't leave them out here very long if you want them healthy."

*

You're no fun anymore, darling,» Betsy sighs at Jean, insincerely. Mostly. She helps get the last of the prisoners in order, frog marching them into line with the others, and brushes a stray strand of purple hair from her face so it's pinned properly back into the wealth of tight braids at her neck.

"It /is/ cold," Betsy agrees, though she's hardly shivering in the bodysuit. "I think the fun is done, now. Time for the diplomats to take over," she says, nodding at Scott as if echoing Nate's sentiments.

*

«That is not your call to make, Nate. Jean will assess the situation and then we will discuss this before we make any snap decisions.» SHIELD can wait. Cyclops understands the ramifications of this but he cannot have them interfere on behalf of the UN or even Atlantis. The X-Men have plans for Genosha. He has plans and how much of this should be leaked is questionable. «No one here talks about this until we have decided our best course of action. Too much hinges on timing in regards to Genosha.»
Scott has no response to the fun being had. He is too deep in thought, but he is adamant they are not contacting SHIELD or anyone… yet. Plans need reworked. Opportunity is now and this is all very convoluted suddenly.

"Yes, Magik. The mutants first, take them to home. The others… leave the soldiers and scientists for last, in that order. Drop them off somewhere they won't die but they won't be comfortable."

Cyclops just walled his psyche up, only Jean through their link can feel that cold simmering rage he is doing his very best to contain.

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