Desperate Measures

November 06, 2017:

(Backdated to the last days of August, during the X-Men/Genosha War). Nate contacts Professor X and the older telepath manages to anchor Nate back to the physical plane. Unethical telepathic involved.

Carrion Cove. Genosha.

Characters

NPCs: Xavier

Mentions: Rogue, Meggan

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

ASTRAL PLANE. Bounced rather forcibly from his physical form by Madelyne Pryor Nate Grey has been existing as a ghost. An untethered entity unable to rematerialize, his telepathy has allowed him to breach planes, to feel along them for minds he is connected to. it was not a telepath this time that he seen in the spirit/dream/psychic barrier crossing but his own 'father' shouting and running, a flicker flash through through the 'space between' not to Nate, to something unseen. As quick as it was there it was then gone…

GENOSHA NOW. The downpour that has held Emma Frost captive on Genosha has ceased. A fine mist hangs over Carrion Cove beyond the small shack that she has taken refuge in. The pilot of her plane had to be put to sleep again as did a certain hysterical President Madame Reneau.

The day is still trying to rise above them, the overcast doesn't allow for light but the clouds no longer hammer them, instead it is a faint drizzle.

Scott Summers 'Cyclops' in ruined X-Garb awakens with a snap on the couch he was earlier left to. The visor on his brow sparking to life with a gleam of red across it. Time is lost to him right now.

The fisherman who owns the structure and slept in the other room woke up many hours ago and sailed out in to the ocean, nets on the ready. Normalcy required or Genosha authorities may become suspicious of him being a mutant sympathizer and working with the rebels and worse, the X-Men.


Emma's managed to dry out a bit since her arrival, and at some point she's even taken pains to freshen up with a new application of cosmetics and a brush through her hair.

She is curled over what must be her fifth cup of coffee, the caffeine having sustained her through a sleepless night. "Good morning, dear," she murmurs in Scott's direction at the sounds of movement, all other conversation lost to the requirement for another sip of coffee."

She's been taking opportunities as they come to check on the rain, and now that it's stopped… Her desire to leave has ceased her. Now, time spent here is a liability. The unmarked plane could be identified. Bodies could wake up and cause trouble. There are at least a dozen ways and reasons more that they could be found here.

And she most decidedly does not want to be found here.


The psychic inferno left in the Astral Plane fades slowly. It will be there for weeks. But it is not spreading, but dispersing, if slowly. The metaphysical consequences of the event will give headaches to mystics for a few years, but perhaps it won’t leave permanent scars. Maybe.

Playing with the cosmic fire of entities with anger issues like the Phoenix is never a good idea.

Nate Grey shattered consciousness becomes more coherent as he gets used to the psychic pain of the astral fire, and as the conflagration also weakens. His core self is still anchored to the flames, however, he can’t quite escape, nor die for good. Both would likely mean the same right now. But he can’t watch, he can talk (somewhat) and a certain sense of causality-consequence is reforming.

How long has he been here? He honestly couldn’t say. It feels like weeks (just hours). Yet he can sense the X-Men are still in the area. Some are. The lack of physical senses is disorienting, but his telepathic perceptions are a sharp as ever. Maybe too sharp.

« Emma »

The ghost has found the queen.


"You were awake this whole time?" Scott questions Emma, a blink inside the visor has the crimson line in gold visor darken then light up again. "I feel terrible." At least being a mutant ones body is accustomed to channeling energies and possesses a notch more than human hardiness and Cyclops is a very fit man. Plus plus.

"Had an odd dream. I think I seen Nate in it briefly. Felt real." Scott isn't the superstitious sort but hes also not the close minded time.

"I could use a toothbrush." There isn't one to be had. A breathment package and coffee will have to suffice. With the light rising it is getting unwise for Emma Frost to remain, especially considering her package. Fortunately the Citadel at Hammer's Bay had been 'lanced' in half last night by a mutant terrorist attack; it was during that mayhem in which Cyclops escaped with Reneau to meet Emma here in Carrion Cove under the canopy of storm.

Scott himself is clueless to any psychic presence. Now at least that he is fully awake.


"Don't feel terrible," Emma says, sipping again. "Except for the toothbrush thing. That makes anyone feel like they've been sleeping in trash. But, really, it's not exactly as though you can keep my handy little reference manual asleep. And once I get back to the mainland, I'm going to get some better rest." Because there are plans.

She looks at her nails. "And a manicure, I think. A job well done calls for more than just a color change."

She hears her name. Not in the physical world, but in the one unseen by most. Her demeanor changes, as her eyes narrow a slim degree. "Did you?" she asks of Scott, even as she hums to herself for a moment.

« Hello, there, » she greets calmly to the astral plane, unheard by the man who shares the same space as her physical body. « What have we here? »

"What did you see?" A chuckle. "Other than Nate. Briefly."


"I admittedly don't remember the rest." Scott says. "Just thought I was about to have a conversation with him and he drifted past me after something else like I wasn't there. Just an eerie sensation really." The small rooms space is cleared to the build in kitchen and he turns that tin coffee pot to pour himself some as well.


Nate drifted past. He does that lately because regular minds do not usually have the psychic presence telepaths do. But as Emma replies, the ghost refocuses.

Another fine mess you got me into, Scott.

But maybe it was his idea. Usually it is Nate's fault, so instead he goes. « I am here… I suppose » this time to be heard by both. For a few brief moments a frayed astral image manifest to be seen by physical eyes. That definitely did not look healthy. « Where are we? »


"Genosha, dear. Although you seem to have misplaced something important," Emma says, continuing to sip the bitter coffee in her cup from behind those blonde tresses of hers with a deceptive calm, speaking into both planes simultaneously. Which may make her sound entirely like a crazy person, should Scott miss that spectral image when it flashes.

Then, over her shoulder, she calls to Scott. "It wasn't a dream, Mister Summers. Say hello to Mister Grey, won't you? He's here."


"I don't understand but I'll try and that trust route we have been dancing around." Scott informs Emma, Nate is indeed near. Close to them. The coffee is swished back and forth in his cup thoughtfully, "Nate, hello. I guess I wasn't dreaming." He'll chalk it up to genetic connection or his link through Jean or simply the fact he was in his first sleep after days of him, Meggan and Rogue securing Reneau. Who is now or should be in transit with Emma.

"What does he want? I mean, what is going on exactly?" Too many questions not enough time.


What is going on? Why won't they tell Nate? Remembering is not easy right now. He speaks to both now. « We attacked that lab. There was a woman who looked like Jean. She summoned the firebird and I had to stop her »

Speech is not enough. So he shares the mental impressions. The powerful psychic attack that would have hit like a small nuke, at least. Killing most X-Men. His desperate struggle to channel all the power to the Astral Plane. Which would explain to Emma why it is so broken now.

And burning to ash.


Ahh.

And, as Emma closes her eyes and lets pictures and feelings wash over her, she frowns a little as Emma finally gets the pieces strung together that she needs. And, if she needs to, she's perfectly content to offer whatever stabilizing force that Nate's astral presence need to stay, to hold, to strengthen, to speak.

"Before you called me, Mister Summers, I had a brief — very brief — conversation with Miss Grey's friend, the Phoenix." She pauses, and then turns to look in Scott's direction, with a note of apology somewhere in that expression of hers, although he might not recognize it. "That's why it took me a little longer to pick up the phone, and why I was asking earlier."

Her head tilts as she looks towards Nate. "I'm sorry," she tells him sympathetically. "I'm glad you weren't entirely destroyed. …but that does leave the matter of what to do now."


"The Phoenix shouldn't be… " Scott's jaw tightens. "Whats next? Can you reach the Professor if you get out of Genosha?" The talking to a psychic-ghost is strange and new to Cyclops. He has seen a lot but this is still harrowing. Nate is kind of like a son as well, Scott doesn't exactly know how to process a whole lot in this.

"Reneau will only be sedate so long and your pilot, what about him?"


Reaching for the Professor is something Nate should have done already. But that requires clear, rational thinking, which he lacks at the moment.

Still, he is more coherent than just after he died, when he attacked Jean. « I can reach anyone, usually. And I am very charged… » with fire. But pain is something he can handle fairly well. He is usually ‘bright’ to other telepaths, but right now he is pretty much the voice of the astral conflagration.

Focus is the problem. It takes him almost a minute to remember Xavier enough to send the call. And when he does it is pretty damn loud. « PROFFESOR – I AM ALIVE/DEAD? »


Emma's expression tightens at that force, but she at least keeps herself from physically wincing. …She does not keep herself from pulling back a little, however. From giving herself a little space to brace against him.

As Nate handles that part - of reaching across the great expanse, refocused - the blonde looks solemnly towards the X-Men's leader. "I don't know how much longer I can keep them down. The pilot is… borrowed time, probably. Reneau, I will put whatever needs to be put in her system to keep her down. Still, all things being equal, I would like to get this settled and then be on my way, posthaste."


"I understand. We cannot jeopardize you as well." Or Reneau. Scott shows a moment of concern as Emma's expression alters, a gloved hand reaching out to cup her shoulder with a curl of fingers as if that bit of a physical touch will give her some strength. Force of habit. He understands telepaths more than most and he would have done the same for Jean right now. It's a reflexive action he doesn't think twice about.

"The fisherman supplied me with some sedatives. I'll send those with you."

NATE! An alarmed voice shouts back, I sensed as much days ago. I have been meditating and trying to seek you but I am… too far from the point of origin. A great and terrible thing has stirred awake and you unfortunately were at its center. They know he speaks of the Phoenix. The connection spreads, Emma can now feel Charles Xavier's mind. Not just feel it but he is opening a door inside of it. Emma. Aid me if you would, I sense you with Scott. I am glad he is well.

That 'blue' doorway that just creaked open appears on the other side for Nate also. The Astral Plane. It appears Charles himself wants to see both of them 'in person'.


Nate does not hesitate to serve as bridge between Xavier and the other two. But it is a good thing Xavier and Emma are very skilled telepaths, because he burns. Through the link they can feel the young man’s mind wracked by the psychic fire, his astral form is damaged and yet unable to retreat to a physical body to regenerate. « Yes. The firebird was tethered to not-Jean’s empty mind. And the Genoshans had angered it »

Illyana had teleported to the school briefly to tell the X-Men of her meeting with Nate’s ghost, so Xavier probably already knew some details.


« Of course, Charles,» comes Emma's very cordial reply. If she's pained by proximity to Nate - and it's hard to imagine that she's not - she is not immediately letting on.

The touch on her shoulder is unexpected, and Emma tenses for a brief moment before exhaling and settling against it tentatively for want of that support. And then the cup of coffee, which she had kept so protectively in her hands is finally relinquished to whatever happens to be the nearest flat surface. « Should I bring him along, or do you think we're enough? »

"I'll definitely take them," she jokes, her voice more tight in the physical realm, "and promise not to use them for a week long beauty rest."


The Astral Plane presents Charles Xavier standing inside of it. Bald, lean, dressed in an immaculate suit. His eyes glowing blue as one hand lifts up to spread fingers out over the roasting fire that is Nate Grey, You have shown surprising tenacity in keeping yourself alive this long, Nathaniel.

I will assist you as best I can but you are beginning to lose cohesion. You are dying beyond just your physical form I fear.

Scott is forgotten outside by Charles, there is a place for everyone and this here is not one for Mr. Summers. He as far as the Professor is concerned can tend to Emma's securty while they await.

With your link fading and your mind with it your powers are weakening. We must tether you soon to something in the material plane. Something with a lifeforce.

Emma, near you and Scott are there any viable hosts?

Listen to me, Nate. This will not be… pleasant for you or whomever you are to occupy. I fear it could if Emma and I are not strong enough damage your host or possibly kill you. Are you prepared for this?" This is the Professors way of asking for consent to do horrible Telepath things to the unwitting and unknowing. //I have seen this only performed once with success… but I have faith with our gifts together we are capable of this. Or so the man hopes.


« I don’t feel weak (I feel burning) but I feel I am losing myself. Forgetting pieces of what I am » admits Nate.

Link to some life-force? That makes sense, of course. But the idea of mind-control someone at that level is well within the ‘horrible telepath things’ section of his powers that he has never attempted or even considered as a valid tactic.

He hesitates for a few seconds. He wants to live, but not as a thief in a stolen body. « This cannot be the solution, professor. I am not so eager to live as to take someone else life like you propose. »


In the physical world, Scott will feel the slow slump forward as Emma dedicates more energy to the matter of her astral projection and holding it up against Nate's presence. She appears on that other plane as she so often does in the physical realm, with cape and boots and a cool indifference. She is unphased by the proposal. « I've a pilot, » she offers generously. « Although I'd prefer he survive all this. I was planning on using him to get off this God-forsaken rock. »

The woman crosses her arms as a hand unfurls as she thinks. « I'm assuming you mean this to be a temporary measure, but what to do about the physical body? » A glance shifts in Nate's direction, and an eyebrow lifts. « No need for your precious morality to get all ruffled. This needn't be a death sentence for your anchor. »


Time is of the essence, Nathaniel. Emma is correct. This is not a permanet solution. You are not going to be occupying your host for long and they will not expire, they will simply share their body with you. Two minds in one vessel. It is the safest way we can keep you from passing on. Charles gives a warm smile upon seeing Emma then proceeds to speak gravely with Nate.

You are fading, you cannot remain in the Astral Plane forever and with us all so far apart and the status of things there is little much else we can do.

Discomfort will be there but harm in any form only comes from Emma and I failing in this endeavour. You must have faith in us. I understand, however, if you are unwilling to inflict yourself upon someone else in this manner. It *is* invasive. It is perhaps a good thing Charles knows nothing of Nate Grey's actions towards the D.E.O. Not that the Professor has not had his own hand forced in the past for the greater good. I am tiring, we must hurry. Decide quickly, Nathaniel.

Genosha - Scott's forearm eases forward underneath Emma's slumping form to guide it upright and against his shoulder before she is eased down to a more comfortable position upon the couch. She'll hate that, its a very ugly couch full of patches and colors the 70's tried to make popular. Colors now reserved for disgusting flavored gag jelly beans. Making her as comfortable as possible he then moves to the door opening it enough to begin his vigil while the telepaths do their telepath dance.


One thing is to invade the mind of a super-villain to get information and another to possess a random person. But since it is just temporary and it won’t harm the other person he can maybe justify it.

To do what tomorrow? Maybe die anyway. Can even a normal human mind handle his powers, his own body could not. But his body was also the source of his powers. Or not, he still has them!

He can’t even think clearly. But Xavier believes it is a good idea. So!

« Very well, what should I do? »


Very well let us begin. Charles reaches over and takes Emma's hand, their conjoined power now engulfing both of them as Xavier opens a portion of himself and they are both at work to calm Nate's out of control psychic fires and through Emma link outwards, through her body and familiarity limited or not with the slumbering pilot.

It is almost as though Xavier is a very heavy handed pilot but it is gentle, a calm pressure that is focused yet Emma can feel that he is putting a lot in to those. A state of weakness wherever he is. This is taking its toll upon him, Yes. We need everything you have Emma. Nathaniel, remain a quiet curled flame, be as small as you can make yourself and remain this way for as long as you can maintain it. We have this.

They are a dynamo when it comes to telepathic might, the pilot already being of an unprotected mind is shunted to the side of his own psyche. Not killed. Not even harmed just pushed deeper in to his subconscious for now.

As soon as Nathaniel calms himself enough he will shatter in the Astral Plane. As he does so Xavier cries out and his connection to them is gone. He is no longer felt. Emma is left standing and alone in that final delivery. That guided transferrence of mind.


Nate is linked to the psychic fires, so moving his mind, his astral self, into the pilot’s body is even harder than it would be under normal circumstances. But at least he is not as conflicted and angry as he usually is, since her very self was being annulled.

Only two telepaths of Xavier and Emma exceptional skills could have managed the transfer without killing ghost or man. And soon enough the pilot suddenly draws breath and awakens. Xavier has to break the link. But Emma can see the man’s left eye glowing gold. Briefly. Then Nate tries to rein his powers. Surprisingly easy.

He is not the psychic beacon he usually is now. But there is a trail, a link to the Astral plane that hints not all is normal there. “I am…” he looks at the unfamiliar hands. “Strange. But at least I can think clearly.”


Emma is more than content to offer up whatever power she has to the exercise, lending the additional strength to bolster when she feels Xavier's falter. She knows this practice, and she can appreciate the gentleness that speaks to mastery. Of care.

There's a part of her that revels in the sheer, raw power of the partnership, in the dark crevices of her heart.

But the job remains unchanged. Unchanged until…

Until she has to manage all on her own. « I've got you, dear, » she tells Nate, her voice just as calm as Charles's was. It's a nearly maternal tone, meant to soothe. Protective. And exceptionally rare. « It's going to be alright. »

And that is when Emma bears down, her projections own eyes set to glowing. And she carefully finishes the job of tethering.

And when Nate wakes, Emma doesn't see it. Because he's in the plane. He's… in the…

Emma awakes with a start and sits bolt upright, on that horrifically ugly couch, and without her coffee. And with the tickle of something in her nose that she rubs at self-consciously. "Annnnd, it's time to go," she says, starting to get unsteadily back up to her feet.


Scott snaps his head to Emma shooting upright, the trickle of blood noticed first he moves to the sink grabbing a rough old yet clean cloth, wetting it to hand it over to her. "Your pilot is stirring, I seen a light in the cockpit out there and now movement. I can go tranq him down."


« I am in the pilot » points out Nate, addressing Scott. « And if the Genoshans are still monitoring telepathic activity we just made a lot of ‘noise’ » he adds, the projection far more coherent than before, and yet not as loud as he usually is.

« So what now, fearless leader? Rogue and the others are looking for you. And I still don’t… okay, nevermind » the pilot did know exactly where they are. So no Nate does too. It is about as weird as he expected, but seriously less weird (and less painful) than five minutes ago.

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