Demon Bear: The Trials of Illyana, Dani and Rachel Grey Part 1

October 26, 2017:

Dani runs Illyana and Rachel through a random selection of Danger ROom scenarios with each successive scenario harder.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The world is right once more.

Age of Apocalypse is no more. Or, at the very least, the Mansionites have finally returned from that very screwed up reality.

It's now days, weeks later even, that a promise made to a certain blonde has finally come to fruition. It went something like this.


A message was sent to Illyana - both as a note and an e-mail - stating simply: 'Hey, time to get back in shape. Meet me in the Danger Room this afternoon. Bring a friend. It'll be fun. I'd advise not wearing club gear. -Dani'.

When Illyana and Rachel arrived that very afternoon they would have found Danielle Moonstar ready for business and decked out in black. The only relief from that severe color was the belt of turquoise around her waist and the quiver of arrows slung across her back. The bow itself held loosely in one hand. "Afternoon Ladies." Is the prompt greeting from the Cheyenne, "Let's get started. I programmed the Danger Room to run us through a few different scenarios, with each one successively harder. Let's get started." Unspoken there - and see who survives.

Now the three women are currently in the second scenario. The first one was pretty tame - take care and handle a search and rescue mission. This second one is proving harder; albeit in a similar rescue vein. The trio needs to successfully negotiate with terrorists who've taken over a plane. A plane that the three women found themselves passengers of.

Dani and Ray (who are the only sane individuals here) rose to their feet immediately, intending to talk the terrorists down, but it's Illyana who took actual matters into her own diabolical hands. There's a flash of light at the front and the back of the cabin, where two of the men were. A corresponding flash might be seen from the windows outside and down the men fell. Screaming all the way. Unbeknownst to any of the women was the fact one of those men had a deadman switch and now, with the switch out of radio frequency the bombs that line the plane detonate.

And that's where we are.


Explosions can now be heard running along the underside of the plane.


With the last muffled explosion a new sound emerges - well, several new sounds -

Screams from the other passengers and then the sickening sound of metal twisting, tearing and being rent apart.

Dani, at this point, turns a look to Illyana, "/Yana/!"

That's all she gets though, before a shudder reverberates throughout the plane and it begins to crack. Soon this will be a sectional plane. Think fast.

When Illyana invited Rachel to this shindig, the red-head was bemused at the fact no clubbing outfit was allowed. She nearly decided to wear a costume that was far more 'club' orientated, just to be contrary. There was a lot of pondering, but in the end, Rachel decided to just go full normal costume. As the first scenario went fairly easy and quick, with the promise the next one would be even more difficult, Rachel was content to find herself suddenly in a commercial airplane - and in coach no less! Well, content is a strong word, she grumbled a bit, stretched her long legs out, and fiddled with the seatbelt several dozen times. "Seriously. Couldn't you program it to at least give us business class? And did I really have to be in the middle?" She bemoaned to Dani.

Of course, not long after Rachel's complaints, then a terrorist done decided to make a threat on the lives of everyone present. Swiftly starting to rise to her feet - Rachel suddenly found the seatbelt was still attached to her waist. A distinct *oomph* echoed from the red-head as she found herself sitting roughly back down into the hard seat after trying to get up. Precious seconds ticked by as Rachel removed the seatbelt then, and finally was able to stand up. Talk first. But Illyana decided to take matters into her own hands.

And then.. just as the terrorists began falling from the sky, all freaking hell broke loose.

For the red-head, Rachel lets out a curse that could rival any sailor, before her powers reach out swiftly and quickly. The tearing and rendering of the plane begins to cease, as Rachel's powerful telekinetic abilities roar into existence. Her teeth grind together, making a horrific face, even as the bright golden and red aura of the Phoenix bursts into life about her eye. "Get.. Everyone… together.." She grinds outwards, as she tries her best to keep the plane from tearing itself apart.


Illyana knew, just /knew/ that Dani wouldn't be able to let her teasing about sleeping in late and eating junk food while Dani's probably enduring early morning calisthenics pass without revenge.

Probably because she's jealous.

Whatever the reason, Illyana was expecting Dani's summons, although the fact she got a note AND and email made the demoness smirk. "Dani, you know me so well." Bring a friend, though. That gave Illyana a moment's pause. But only a moment. Rachel's needed something to perk her up ever since their trip to Nate's dungheap of a reality. Something OTHER than Illyana's brother. So she's promptly identified as Illyana's victim.

And Illyana doesn't take no for an answer.


America proudly declares that it doesn't negotiate with terrorists. Illyana's not an American, but apparently Limbo doesn't negotiate with terrorists either.

Illyana didn't even bother to get up when the terrorists made their play, continuing her conversation with Rachel. Commiseration is also something Limbo apparently doesn't do. "Hey, it's not Dani's fault you have legs like a giraffe." Illyana tells the redhead. "I'm fine." Illyana also has the aisle seat and her legs stretched out into said aisle, one booted foot propped atop the other. But it seems that Rachel's too distracted by the terrorists to banter.

While the redhead's still attempting to master seatbelts, Illyana leans out into the aisle, looks forward, then back, then waves her hand dismissively. And dismissed the terrorists are.

The explosions are an unwelcome surprise, and Illyana scrambles to her feet, not having bothered to buckle her own seatbelt. "What?!" Illyana turns to Dani, spreading her hands out as if she really shouldn't be blamed. "We're on level TWO! What's level THREE? Galactus?!"

Still grumbling to herself, Illyana does at least join in with the attempts at rescue, and as terrified passengers start being sucked out through cracks in the fuselage they start reappearing in flashes of white light.

It's getting very crowded, very quickly.

Miracles upon miracles the plane stays together - which is a good thing as the Danger Room was just about to mark all of them as 'failed', but for the moment that failure is forestalled.

The plane, itself, begins to shimmy, shudder and shake. It's still up in the air, but again, that's only because Rachel Grey is managing to hold it /altogether/ with telekinetic tape. The howl of wind and the depressurizing cabin can be heard above the screams and those greedy fingers of air begin to drag at the people near the back of the plane. Several of the passengers find themselves pulled through the rips and cracks, but thankfully a trip via a portal finds themselves back in the main area.

From above the oxygen masks resolutely deploy, even if it seems a little pointless at this stage of the game, but there it is.

Dani's eyebrows climb upward at Illyana's response and with a faint huff of amusement, the dark-haired woman says, "It better not be!" But before Dani can get into the merits of level two versus level three shenanigans, Ray reaches out with a mighty telekinetic hold.

While Dani isn't necessarily on the same psychic playing field as Rachel Grey, she can still feel the power the other woman is putting out, and that brings her attention back to the red head. Those muttered words of Rachel's likewise kicks Dani into gear and with her own mutter, the SHIELD agent makes a decision. "Away from the back. Let's get to the middle. To the MIDDLE people. The MIDDLE." It's going to be hard though herding all the screaming cats around them. Even with the help of the steward and stewardesses. It's likewise going to be hard for Dani to traverse past Ray and Illyana, what with holding the most coveted position of window seat.

Though honestly, it won't matter in the next few seconds.

A final explosion can be heard. It's far ahead, past business class and first class, and right smack-dab in the cockpit. A third terrorist made his way inside and now, knowing his fellow agents detonated their bombs, the man's thumb presses down upon the button -

The cabin and nose of the plane explodes within a flash of BRIGHT light and a rolling ball of flames.

For Illyana and Dani, that likely won't make too much of a difference for them, beyond a 'aw hell no', but for Ray she'll find a shockwave shudders throughout the plane. Beneath that telekinetic grip of hers the machine bucks and heaves, the metallic skin shivering and rippling as it struggles to disintegrate further.

More cracks and crazed lines appear upon the shell of the Jumbo Jet.

At one time, Rachel was one of the mightiest of the mighties and an incident like this would not have been too much of a problem. Yet, when the Phoenix leaves you, you tend to lose the power of a cosmic being with it. There isn't any time for bantering, no time to offer even words of wisdom. As Dani and Illyana work at getting the occupants of the plane towards the middle, Rachel's doing her best to keep the plane together long enough for them to do so.

And then - there exists a final terrorists. The explosion rocks the cabin as the flames lick outwards. That fire is met by a different kind of fire, a raging telekinetic power that refuses to let it tear those in its protective bubble away from her. "I can't save everyone." And she can't. The plane is going to go, and there isn't anything Rachel can do. She's going to have to let the plane go soon, and that means anyone who isn't protected in the middle - goes with the airplane. Only those within Rachel's sphere will be kept safe.

Rachel's pushing her powers to their limits and beyond to keep the plane from going, she can only achieve this for a very short time before she'll have to let the plane go and anyone who isn't in the middle, will go with it.

"It better… this is YOUR PROGRAM!" Illyana reminds Dani with some asperity. But even she reaches her bickering limit when the last explosion rocks what's left of the plane. Illyana's hands clamp on to a seat either side of the aisle, knuckles white, and just about manages to avoid being knocked off her feet by the extra shaking and shuddering. "Hells." She says under her breath, then looks back at Dani. "OK, that one was definitely on me." She admits, actually looking just a smidgen contrite. But only for Dani.

When Rachel makes her grim announcement, Illyana's just grins at her. "Then don't. Starting with me." She glances quickly back to Dani. "This would be a LOT easier if you'd brought your flying horse." She tells the Cheyenne, adding sourly, "I just want you to know that." That parting comment delivered, a circle of light appears at Illyana's feet, and she seems to vanish through the floor of the plane.

Seems, and in this case actually does, reappearing ahead of the plane and falling. She engaged in a few teleporting shenanigans to kill her forward motion, just to give her a chance of not spinning completely out of control, but she's still freezing cold and there's not much air. She doesn't have a lot of time. As the remains of the jet passes over her, Illyana opens a huge stepping disc, trying to catch as many falling passengers as possible and deliver them to Rachel's bubble.

If the redhead could catch HER before she passes out from lack of air, that would be great too.

"A program the Danger Room devised!" Is Dani's immediate rejoinder to that last bicker of Illyana's.

But like the blonde, the black-haired woman likewise knows her limit and knows when to be serious. This is the serious part.

While the woman inside Dani rails at the pronouncement that Ray can only save those in the bubble, the newer, more ruthless SHIELD agent understands exactly what the red head is saying. "We'll save who we can save." Begins the Cheyenne, but her words stall when Illyana offers those next words of hers. "Illyana -" Starts Dani, both a note of warning and a note of hope held in that other woman's name, but there's not much more she can say as Illyana is already on the move. Or teleportation in this case.

That last parting shot, about Brightwind, adds a twist of amusement to Dani's expression. "Hey! If I could squeeze him down here, I would have." But even an intelligent winged horse has his limits, it seems.

Then Illyana is gone in a flash and outside. The people falling from the great gaps within the plane are snapped up like a fish greedily gobbling worms being dropped in the water. The bubble that holds Ray, Dani and the survivors grows more crowded and loud. There's too much confusion for anyone to really understand and it's enough to cause the group to cry out, scream, push and even shove.

But still the people within continues to grow as more people are snapped up in that very large stepping disc. It's a good thing it won't take long for Illyana to capture them, as with the last passenger caught, the plane finally bows down to entropy and collapses with one final shudder. All that holds everyone safe is the telekinetic bubble that surrounds them -

Next stop, picking Illyana up and when the blonde has been rescued, or teleports back within the bubble, the Danger Room suddenly shifts.

A generic masculine voice says: Mission Success. Trial Three to begin in 3, 2, -

Before the last number can be said, Dani turns a quick look at Illyana and Ray, "Good job, ladies. Took a negative and turned it into a positive. Two for two, let's see if we can make that three -" And just to note, the negative here was Illyana's somewhat unsuccessful first move.


Once again, the Danger Room shifts. This time to something less urban, less citified. It's a forest. Trees and greenery everywhere. Snow lays heavily upon the branches and the ground. The air is cold and crisp, the creatures around them deathly silent.

For Rachel, really. She doesn't want to leave behind anyone. It isn't the best choice or option, by any means. Yet, she also knows that the good of the many - those protected by her sphere - outweigh the good of the few. Thankfully, that's where death defying Illyana comes into play. The blonde's actions are reckless and yet, very useful.

The instant the plane finally gives in, Rachel lets go of trying to keep it together. It's a relief on her powers, keeping everyone in the bubble is far easier than trying to keep a 747 aloft and together when bombs are tearing it apart.

It also gives her an opportunity to catch a falling Snowflake. A burst of telekinetic energy will gently wrap itself about Illyana, slowing her descent until it's safe to stop, combining as much oxygen as it can, before drawing the sorceress back into the bubble with everyone else.

All the crying, and screaming, and carrying on is silenced with a single thought. "Shut it, you're safe."

And then - the scenario is over, and Rachel and the others find themselves in a far different environment. The red-head doesn't care if the ground is cold and wet and damp and full of snow. She flops down into it, rubbing her temples with the index of each finger. "That was the craziest damn thing - ever - Illy." It worked, though, so Rachel doesn't have much more to say to that.

On her knees, still rubbing her temples and trying to calm down, Ray's gaze flickers about the area. "What's next?"

The sky was going alarmingly grey and blackness was beginning to creep in from the edges of Illyana's vision when Rachel finally deigned to scoop her up. She's not exactly the model of poise when she's delivered to the relative safety of the bubble, more concerned with getting enough air into her lungs to avoid passing out. Somehow she does manage to offer Rachel a nod and a smirk, though.

And the voice announcing Round Three gets a roll of her eyes, too.

All too soon, though, they're somewhere else, and Illyana finds a convenient tree to lean against, arriving against the trunk with a bit of a thud. She's still trying to get her breath back, but at least there's plenty of cold, crisp air for her to suck in. She's lucky to be missed when a big clump of snow slides off a branch above her, falling to the ground beside her with a wet thump. Illyana looks from the pile of freshly arrived snow to Rachel, and shrugs. "Couldn't let you hog all the glory." She remarks, then adds after a slight pause, just a little longer than needed to replenish her breath. "Thanks for the save."

Looking around, her breathing something like normal now, Illyana takes in the snow, the cold, the lack of sound… and shoots a look at Dani. "This is familiar, and last time was so much fun. There best not be Mad Max reject Guthries, or I'm out."

A hand will be offered to Rachel, to help pull the other woman to her feet, even as Dani's brown-eyed gaze moves over to Illyana. Now it's the Cheyenne's turn to smirk, as a corner of her mouth twitches upward at the exasperated demoness.

"Nah, it's pulling random scenarios from some of my old programs, and I can say I have definitely /not/ programmed Mad Max Guthries into /any/ of them."

Once Rachel is upon her feet, with or without her help, Dani starts to move. "This looks like a hunting one -" Which brings the vaguest of crimps to the woman's mouth as her gaze flicks up and around, searching the area around her. "Just not sure which one."

Though, that's not quite the truth. There's something in the way Dani says those words and the way she looks that perhaps shows something, even on a subconscious level, is concerning her about this scenario. "Let's move out. Try to muffle your steps. Usually it's all about catching things by surprise and bringing them down."

And with those words of wisdom said, Dani pulls an arrow from the quiver upon her back and loosely nocks it against her bow. Then with careful placement of her feet, the SHIELD agent begins to move forward, moving purposely quick to get ahead of her two teammates. They best move fast if they want to keep up with Dani Moonstar, SHIELD agent, Asgardian Valkyrie and Cheyenne woman.

Gratefully accepting Dani's help up, Rachel stands on, at first, a bit unsteady feet. "Mad Max Guthries." She inquires, brows arching upwards as she looks from Illyana to Dani and back again. "Here I'd wager more along the lines of 'Duck Dynasty Guthries', instead of 'Mad Max'." And yes, Rachel's grin is there, as is her fairly dry sense of humor concerning the Kentucky loving Guthries.

And then, it's back down to business, as Dani gets a quick lead on Rachel (at least). The red-head /does/ know quiet, though, and it doesn't take long for her to follow in Dani's tracks. Her eyes narrow in on Dani, picking up the emotions she's trying her best to hide. » I have a feeling you know a bit more than you're letting on. « It isn't judgemental, it's just curiousity in the telepathic voice offered to Dani's thoughts. Telepathic cause - she really should be quiet.

Illyana just nods, when Rachel questions her. As if Mad Max Guthries require no explanation. Besides, Ray sat that one out, so she doesn't get let in on the story of that little adventure. The suggestion of even more alternative Guthries does make a faint smile flicker across her face, though. "Not sure if that's an improvement." Illyana remarks, although she's not giving Rachel all of her attention.

Instead, her eyes aren't straying far from Dani. She's not a mind-reader like some people, but she knows Dani, and she knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. So she keeps her eyes on Dani until the Cheyenne feels the weight of her gaze, and gives her a brief, knowing smile when she catches her eye. That's all.

As Dani moves out, Illyana straightens up from her slouch against the tree without a word of complaint. Illyana might walk through her life as if she doesn't care who notices her, but here? She keeps up, and she keeps quiet. She might not be Dani's equal but she's had to hunt and kill, too. Cold blue eyes scan the equally chilly surroundings, watching the small group's back.

Duck Dynasty Guthries.

Dani's going to remember that one. For later use, possibly. Sam and Dani have always had a give-take-slap-upside-the-head type of relationship and that Duck Dynasty might serve her well one day.

The weight of Illyana's gaze isn't missed either. It brings Dani's eyes around to the blonde and while there's a smile there, for Illyana, it doesn't last long. Then it's back to the forest around them.

When Ray dips within Dani's head there's the faintest echo of 'shit shit shit shit shit' reverberating through Moonstar's head. She does know what this is and she's kicking herself for not remembering to exclude it from the randomization of the scenarios selected. Dani likewise understands why it was picked as the level three scenario to be run, the majority of the safeties are maxed out. Meaning, someone can truly get hurt here. Not killed, never that, but definitely hurt.

The Cheyenne turns then to give Rachel a second of side-eye, then, mentally she says, // I do. It's a personal routine - listen when the bear comes - //

And the thought never finishes, as suddenly a shadow darkens the area around the trio. The shadow immediately causes Moonstar to straighten from her cautious sneaking around posture. "Scatter!" She shouts to her friends and then Dani Moonstar, Cheyenne warrior, releases that arrow that was so carelessly strung. The TWHIP of the bowstring is heard and while the arrow lodges within the shadow, it merely causes the dark rolling mass to ROAR with anger.

With that roar the beast takes shape; a massive brown-furred bear. It's taller than any of the women present. Almost as tall as a large tree and within its gaze madness can be seen. A crazed madness. That madness, however, doesn't stop the bear from lashing out at its preferred target - Dani.

Knowing what's going to happen (as it has a hundred times before) Dani tries to roll, but the Beast is too quick and the claw-laden paw slams down upon Dani. Then those claws pull the insensate woman up by an ankle and with a harsh shake, the Bear vents its displeasure again with another howl of rage.

The Bear carelessly tosses Dani aside now and with a grunt, those insane eyes turn toward Rachel and Illyana.

Guess who's next.

To Be Continued …

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