HoM: Marauder Dance

April 09, 2018:

Continuing the escape from Sinister lab, the X-Men and Lois Lane face the murderous Marauders. (Emits by Nate)

Sinister Tesseract out of Spacetime

Characters

NPCs: Scalphunter, Scrambler, Arclight and Prism

Mentions: Sinister

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There are some attached labs to this one, connected by sliding doors that open automatically when someone comes close. Lois finds little difficulties doing some exploring while the others wake up Lorna.

But eventually she stumbles on another thick blast door that won't open. Looks like there is not going to be so easy just leaving. No communication equipment either. There are computers, but they seem to have retinal scanners to activate.

The labs are creepy. Often containing human or non-human remains floating inside glass tanks. In one of the rooms there are a dozen half-formed babies, and they seem alive and still growing.

The last lab is a bit different, it has only one containing cylinder and there is a blonde young woman floating inside. She is wearing a blue bridesmaid dress and Lois probably can recognize her from Polaris wedding. There is a blinking light at one side of the tank that announces 'Danger - Sedated'. Looks like someone really wanted this particular mutant knocked out.

Meanwhile, back at the back where they found Lorna, Nate is trying to find out who is out there. But there are psi-screens and personal shielding involved. "I think I can get a bead on Eclipse, but I am not sure. Good to know you have a full charge, Alex. Where is Ms. Lane?"

Yes, he is not talking about the missing Aurora. There is going to be hell to pay soon, but right now he can't afford losing his head. Alex looks willing to take charge, which is great, but can he do it? If not, Nate is the most veteran, and oldest. What an *alarming* idea.


There was a glance to her wrist as she leans against the wall. Yeah, she didn't have the watch. But lately she's been on a kick. One that made her nearly want to write if anyone needed Superman at all. Yet in her time of need, she didn't find herself screeching like a banshee in hopes that he would come swooping in.

No time to think, however. Separating herself from the group, Lois continues. And what she sees was horrifying; bodies of all sorts. Grotesque flesh. Grotesque fluid. And it was -unjust-. Her need to flee, fight or flight kicked into one made of curiosity. To investigate. To know. To wander and roam and figure out just what the fuck lead them to this place.

And then the blonde. She knew her. Well, knew of her. She was sure that there were pictures that she had on her camera. With a look into the room, careful.. she slowly slides into the room, approaching the little console with the weapons there, random button pushing until she gets to where she needs to be.. and then a smash of a hand down hard upon the console, with hopes that it actually malfunctions into doing what she wants.


Lorna shrugged as she glanced back toward Alex, and seemed to hesitate, before returning to his side briefly, looking him over and moving slowl. Her steps pained and it was clear she was trying to hide how badly. "I'm a fan of blowing everything sky high.. but I suppose if there are people here that we should save first.. that does put a damper on the simplicity of things."

Green eyes flickered toward Nate as he mentioned having a lock on Eclipse, and a scowl threatened to pull at her features. "This wouldn't have happened if he'd just listened to me about eloping." She snarked, and huffed a breath. Her weight shifting into the air to float on the magnetic currents, clearly irritated to get moving. A glance around the room was spared in regards to the missing human and she rolled her eyes.

"Guess she ran off.."


Making an appropriately grim Scott-like impression, Alex scans their surroundings. Things, probably alive, in various jars… He considers the ramifications of just letting himself go full Angry Havok. Would these … babies? Survive a broken tank? Is that for better or worse?

Summers' anger simmers, sharpening to a point as they progress through the labs, "We all know what priority one is." Alex casts a sidelong glance at Lorna, "Finding who's running the show here might end up being in the service of that priority, might not if we're lucky."

He huffs a breath through clinched teeth, then adds, "And then, priority two is getting out of here. Payback might have to involve a return trip after innocents are safe." Pausing a beat, Havok looks to Nate, "Sorry if I'm stepping on toes. Agree?"

Alex is well aware that most of his relevant experience is limited to a mostly-solo operation that went sideways, and hadn't particularly been -thinking- about taking charge.


Illyana floats in her cylinder, the drugs circulating in the fluid that surrounds her enough to prevent her waking fully from the dream that had consumed her until a few moments ago. A dream where she'd thought she was someone else, only to have that comforting, innocent illusion ripped away. Now she floats in darkness, nothingness, except… on some level she's aware that she's no longer alone. That a presence is nearby. And Illyana sluggishly begins to move toward wakefulness.

Of course, Lois recognises her. She was the only blonde member of the bridal party who wasn't identical to the others. But when Lois saw her at the ceremony, did she have a pair of ram's horns curling back from her brow? Did she even have them when Lois entered the room? And when Lois slams her hand down on the console, sending a jolt through the systems keeping Illyana alive and sedated, and her eyes snap open… were they blank gold, without pupil or iris?

Illyana's mouth moves, a single, soundless word that reveals teeth that seem far too sharp, and the cylinder shatters, glass and metal exploding outward. Illyana falls to the ground, retching as she clears the liquid from her lungs, but where it pools around her hands and knees the liquid sizzles, as if Illyana is burning hot.

"That." She says, thickly, although she's rallying fast. "Is the LAST." She adds with vehemence. "X-Men wedding I am EVER going to." She looks up, flat gold eyes finding Lois. The eyes narrow, Illyana blinks, and…

…ice blue eyes open. Did she ever have horns and fangs? Because she doesn't now. "Hey." Illyana says, as if nothing odd has happened. She climbs back to her feet, looking down with disgust as her gooey dress tries to wrap itself slimily around her. "Thanks." She says absently, and suddenly there's a sword in her hand, glowing silver. Her outfit's different, too. A blood red jacket, black trousers, black boots. "Where are the others?"


"That seems like a plan, Alex," confirms Nate. Slightly weirded out he is looked up for approval. Never happened before! Well, he seems to remember Illyana did once or twice, but she kind of doesn't count for this. He is pretty sure Illyana *never* tells him the whole plan.

Speaking of the devil. He winces at the spike of anger of the blonde waking up. "Damn. Illy is here…" he rushes into the lab to save Lois or something, only to find Illyana is already looking normal and shifting her clothes to a X-Outfit. "Ill… Magik! You got taken too, I guess. You okay? Can you teleport?"

The answer is no. Because they are actually in a tesseract, a pocket of space insulted from the rest of the world. Lorna would be familiar with the concept, since she saw one in the Age of Apocalyse's Washington back in September. No contact with the magnetic north either. And no telepathy out.

And as the mutants (and Lois) get into the smaller side lab, there is a loud rushing sound. The blast doors out of the lab just opened, and footfalls, metal on metal, can be heard approaching.


Lorna tilted her head as she considered Illyana's figure as they made it to the side lab and .. oh there was the human, Ms. Lane? Nate had called her that, right? Either way, Lorna wasn't entirely in the mood for waiting either. Assured that at least Illyana was alive and for the moment, herself.. the green haired mutant turned and made her way out another door at full tilt, the metal doors wooshing open before her as she threw her hands out and stormed down the hall..


Illyana Voice catches Alex's ear and he moves in that direction. Rather than checking on her well-being, however, he seems to be in more of a tactical mindset. In order to ( poorly ) conceal said mindset, he leads with an obnoxious quip, "So I guess right now would be a terrible time to propose, huh?"

It's clearly a rhetorical question, as he segues straight into echoing Nate's question, "Can you get us home? Once we've got everybody accounted for, of course?" Seems like Havok has decided to play the role of Scott until Scott shows up or somebody tells him to knock it off.

The approach of footsteps draws his attention, and Alex turns. The disc upon his chest seems to pulse, his fists clinch, and anyone within arms' length might notice the temperature begin to creep upward. "Try not to step in front of me…" He offers, staring toward the recently opened doors.

Tough call regarding whether eager-to-blast Havok is an improvement over scared-of-own-powers Havok.


Ookay. She did -NOT- look like that when Lois took a picture of her. There was a slow step back, her eyes widening as she reaches back to grab ahold of a pen or something to quite possibly -stab- the thing with until.. one blink. One blink and it was all that it took to see that..

"OH! HEY!" Lois nearly barked out, embarrassed. "Hi.. uh.. yeah me ne.. well." There was consideration. If weddings had this much action, she may or may not decide to show up.. but..

Once everyone gathers, and everyone begins to move, Lois kept watch of the ground, looking for something, anything to make due with. People had powers, she had wits, and a really good right hook. Time to get it moving. A well placed brick was taken in hand. And held. Yes. A brick. Noses will be shattered, jaws will be broken, noses will be bloody; a brick can work a body over good.


Illyana sees Lois recoil from her, reaching for something to use as a weapon, and smiles. She looks almost impressed, but there's no time for anything more.

Illyana swings around as someone runs into the lab, sword coming up defensively, silver armour now covering her left arm and shoulder. She grimaces faintly at her own reaction when she sees it's Nate. She has a right to be jumpy, but she still doesn't particularly want anyone to see it. "Never better." She replies, sardonically, as she relaxes from her battle-ready stance. "But if this is the place Lorna chose for her reception? She and I are are going to talk." A talk that's going to be delayed as the green-haired magnetokinetic storms out. Illyana's eyes follow her for a moment, and a frown draws her brows together.

Now is not the time to ask why Lorna's not the shape she remembers. And Illyana's probably the worst choice for that conversation, besides.

Alex's quip is a convenient distraction, and Illyana smiles back at him. "Depends. How much worse do you think your day can get? I might say yes." The smile widens just a bit, before Illyana becomes as businesslike as she ever gets. "Let's find out." She answers both Alex and Nate, and calls a portal to Limbo.

Or at least she tries to. What appears is an indistinct, translucent circle of light that shudders and flickers like a poor special effect, before splintering into a a dozen pieces that fade away to nothing. The feedback rocks Illyana back a step and causes her mask of indifference to slip. "No." She snarls. "I can't." Metal gauntleted fingers clench into an angry fist, but the flare of anger is swiftly hidden. "We're somewhere outside time and space. Limbo can't find me." She sounds disgusted, again. Today's bringing that out in her a lot.

Illyana cocks her head to one side as she hears the approaching footsteps, and she grins. It's a nasty expression. She steps up alongside Alex. "We need one to show us the way out." She remarks, casually. "Only one, though."

As if remembering something, she looks back toward Lois, and her brick. Again, the smile. Definitely impressed. "Hold still." She tells her, although it really won't matter if she doesn't. A flicker of fingers in a complicated pattern, and Lois tattered wedding finery is replaced with a jumpsuit in black and charcoal grey, complete with gloves and boots. It's basically an X-Men training uniform with all the colour sucked out of it. "Better." Illyana judges, and grins.


"Lorna wait," says Nate as the green-haired woman stomps out. Glance to Illyana and Lois. No teleportation. Right. It would have been too easy. "Yeah, that would explain why I can't reach anyone telepathically either. Except people in the complex… which probably means Dark Riders, Clan Akkaba or…" he peers out.

Marauders.

Lorna stumbled on four of them: Scalphunter, Arclight, Prism, Scrambler. Nate clenches his jaw, and shifts to telepathy. "Mindlink now," he states, glancing at Illyana because she needs to lower those demon mind-shields. To Lois he gives her no choice. « Marauders are the team of killers that massacred the Morlocks. They are pretty dangerous. Scalphunter is a marksman with some kind of super-tech firearms he builds himself. Arclight is very strong and tough and causes earthquakes. Prism is made of crystal and shoots light and lasers. Scrambler can disrupt powers and turns on the user » It would be very, very bad if Scrambler touches Alex or Nate, whose powers are barely under control on a good day.

"Well look," States Arclight, grinning. "The chickens have escaped the hen house." And Scalphunter picks up. "But the foxes are here, so chicken boys and girls… back to the cages." And Scrambler adds, "or not, we can make you bleed first. It is really fine for us. It is boring here." Prism just cackles like a maniac.


Havok is in little mood to deal with discussions, threats, negotiations, or really any bullshit whatsoever. He listens to Nate's quick mental breakdown, decides that a ranged threat is the biggest immediate problem, and abruptly points both fists toward Scalphunter.

Before running into Meltdown, Alex would've likely spent the first fifteen minutes of the fight considering the ethical ramifications of actively firing a plasma blast at a living being. This is not that Alex. This Alex supposes that Scalphunter should've just made better life choices and things will work out how they may.

Without a word, a blue-white burst of heat, light, and noise is released toward the Marauder with greatly improved accuracy.


Everything moved fast. This was Lois' pace. The outfit change was welcomed, it fit to the form and hugged the frame and there were no snags that would allow her to get caught. Good. Then the words. The words that make her gaze snap up, her eyes unfocus and focus, finger in her ear and head whipping back and forth. No. Don't say anything. It was time to get down to business. Brick in her hand.. she was ready to go.

Havok goes first. That was fine by her, the light of the blast causes a cringe but immediately the adrenaline kicks in. It was going down. The accuracy was point, for it allows her to quickly move (cause she's Lois Lane, Pulitzer Prize winner of course) into action with a few steps forward into the fray and an arm cocked back, and a brick thrown with her own bit of accuracy towards Scrambler. Even if it hits or not, she keeps moving, falling into a slide upon the ground with the hopes of sweeping his legs from underneath him.


Illyana looks sharply at Nate when he speaks. Because he sounds like he's taking charge and giving orders? Or just because he's giving orders to her? For about half a second she holds his gaze, and then she shrugs as if she couldn't care less about letting him into her head. With a small effort of will she makes her mind human enough for Nate to link with.

« Everyone try not to die. » Illyana's mental tone doesn't match the one she uses when she speaks. "We're a lot more interesting when we're awake." Illyana tells them acidly, and is almost caught off-guard when Alex takes the first shot. Aside from possibly Lois, she'd expected him to hold back the longest.

Suits her perfectly. Her arm comes up and she punches it toward Prism, fingers clawed. A bolt of arcane force leaps from her hand toward the crystalline mutant, flickers of silver-white flame crawling around her forearm as stray magic grounds itself against her armour.

The brick that goes sailing past her at almost the same moment is a bit of a surprise, but not as much as seeing Lois follow it in.


As Alex shoots, the Marauders move like the veteran killers they are. Scalphunter dives right, avoiding the plasma burst and shooting a burst of high-caliber bullets at Alex with a large assault rifle. Scrambler dive left, and tries to sneak forward, hiding under lab tables and high-tech machines. His goal is ambushing one of the mutants. The brick to the head thrown by Lois comes as a nasty surprise for the Korean assassin, and he is knocked out outright.

But Arclight and Prism stand their ground. The plasma blast makes the metal wall behind them explode and melt, but although they are peppered with shards of melted metal, they don't seem to care. Arclight hits the ground with a feet, sending a shockwave to the group of escapees. Prism follows with a blinding pulse, and then a burst of laser beams aimed to Nate, although his aim is shoot when Illyana's magic blast knocks him down. Not really hurt, though, the crystal man stands up quickly.

Nate reacts fast, too, shielding Alex from the bullets with a telekinetic shield. He gets blinded by the light flare, but still keeps the shield up, deflecting the first laser.

No help from Polaris, she was knocked unconscious before the other heroes came to out of the side lab.


Damnit, they're dodging instead of standing there to be vaporized. Who would've guessed? Havok grits his teeth and takes a running slide for some cover to try and spare Nate from needing to focus on keeping him from getting himself shot.

While it's a decently executed dash and slide, Arclight changes the parameters a bit while he's sliding, and Alex is bounced and disoriented. He ends up flat on his back, though fortunately mostly behind cover. It takes him a couple moments to clear his head and scramble to a crouch.

No Cyclopean precise ricochet shot options for Havok, but he does have a couple options between a direct burst and completely exploding in all directions… Fanning his fingers out, Alex concentrates for a moment, aiming low.

The resulting burst of crackling plasma is a bit chaotic, even for Havok. A wider cone of energy arcs, aimed more generally at the floor beneath Arclight's feet.


All the trash he was talking, and Scrambler is taken down by a brick to the head. From the only person in the room with no powers whatsoever. Illyana's not usually given to praise, but if there weren't three other killers trying their very best to murder them, she might actually applaud Lois' work.

Unfortunately, there are. As Illyana is reminded when she's thrown from her feet by Arclight's shockwave. She hits the floor hard, sliding backwards to smack into the wreckage of the cylinder they'd been keeping her in. The rest of her armour manifested as soon as she was hit, but now it's smeared with the goo that's still dripping from the ruined pod.

Illyana is not having a good day.

Scrambling up to a crouch, her eyes track toward Arclight - and find Nate, a rain of bullets splattering against his telekinetic shields. Time to switch things up. Illyana grits her teeth and calls more deeply on her magic. Without Limbo to power her spells it's draining, but she's too angry to care. A stream of silver-white witchfire streaks across the lab, arrowing toward Scalphunter. Hopefully he's too busy trying to perforate the boys to see it coming.


This time Alex blast hits its target. It was hard to miss the floor! But the idea was good. Arclight was charging when the floor under her feet is pretty much pulverized, and the woman falls down into the cavernous sublevels of the complex.

Prism is again up and firing laser blasts, and Nate is unable to see him. But fortunately the crystal mutant is not the sharpest of the Marauders. He thinks Nate is helpless and keeps trying to pierce the shield, giving the young psion enough time to blast him telepathically. Despite his appearance his mind was vulnerable enough, and Prism goes down screaming.

Then Scalphunter stands alone, and the big Native American tries to find cover to start snipping the escapees. He has the ammo he needs to pierce telekinetic shields and he is almost invulnerable to psychic attacks, so Nate will die first. Or that is the idea when Illyana sets him on fire instead. Screaming in pain and rage, he dives to the hole in the floor to escape, tossing a grenade behind as cover. And is he can kill someone, all the better. The explosion rocks the lab.


The brick was a godsend when she picked it up; Lois was already down on the ground while Scrambler tries to run, and gets knocked out for his troubles. The slide came to a stop as soon as the man stomps upon the ground, the shockwave kicking her up into a mess of limbs which has her landing hard upon her side, elbow placed wrong. She felt a snap. Or more or less of a pinch. Adrenaline does funky stuff to a body.

Yet, as the shooting goes on, it was a good thing she was already on the ground, rolling to her hands and knees to crawl for some broken thing, another pipe or perhaps another brick that she could throw to disrupt the attack.

It all goes fast, people were dropping like flies all around them, Lois finds the means to get to her feet just as the last is set on fire with a fall down the hole. It looks like it was a victory! All is won!

And yet, a grenade was tossed into the room.. and Lois being Lois.. was not too fast to react.

"What is tha—-.."

*BOOM*

Whatever position she was in in that moment? She was -not- there now..


Illyana's lips draw back from her teeth in a wolfish grin as her witchfire wreathes Scalphunter and starts to burn not only his body, but what passes for his soul. Getting back to her feet, Illyana watches him burn, unblinking, the silver flames reflected in her cold blue eyes. "Still think you're the foxes?" She asks, far too sweetly, as the big man dives through the hole that Alex opened up in the floor.

As he vanishes, Illyana snickers quietly to herself - and the not-very-nice sound is cut off when the small black grenade clatters to the floor. Illyana reacts quickly, but after her trick with the witchfire she's running low on reserves. She raises a hand between herself and the grenade, her fingers closing into a tight fist as she calls a shield into existence, her other hand reaching toward Lois.

Shielding herself is something she can do. Shielding someone else, particularly at any distance? That's new. Her arcane barrier takes the edge off the blast, and then it shatters. The backlash sends Illyana into the closest wall. For a moment it feels like she was the one who was set on fire. She's rattled, her eyes won't seem to focus, but she's still on her feet. Somehow.


And the one that could have protect everyone from the grenade is currently pretty much blind. Nate does try, but his shield is not in the right place and the only one protected by it besides himself is the unconscious Lorna.

Muttering a curse, and half deaf besides blind, Nate staggers forward, to help Alex back to his feet. "Head count? I got Alex," he notes. "Someone pick up Lorna. Where are the Cuckoos?" He moves forward, there is a way out a couple levels up, he saw it in the minds of the Marauders. They need to get out of the way before Arclight and Scalphunter return, anyway. At least until they can recover some.

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