HoM: Find Aurora

April 09, 2018:

The Cuckoos make a deal with a certain redhead. They go rescuing Marcos, Monet and finally little Aurora. (Emits by Nate).

Sinister extra-spatial lab somewhere in Norway


NPCs: Madelyne Pryor, Harpoon, Riptide, Blockbuster

Mentions: Polaris, Havok, Magik


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

One of the advantages of being made of diamond besides total (maybe?) invulnerability to more telepathic/illusion shenanigans is that wearing a wet bridesmaid dress is not a problem. But on the other hand, no mind-link, no telepathy, muted emotions.

Looks like the American reporter just found Illyana Rasputin, and the other mutants are rushing to meet her, leaving the Cuckoos behind in the brightly lit lab where they found Lorna. But it is in the lab where there are some interesting working machines that for some odd reason they feel vaguely familiar to some of the diamond blondes.

Suppressed memories of other super-tech clone labs, perhaps.

And then a few seconds as the last of the X-Men leaves the room a door slides open behind Esme. A door that wasn't there a second ago. "Please, come here, quickly!" A whispered female voice. Sounds like Jean Grey.

"What? …Jean?" The girls come out of their reverie all at once. They turn as one toward the voice and then one of them starts forward toward it.

"Sophie, don't."

"What if it's a trap?"

"What if it isn't?" The Cuckoos' leader shoots back. "If she needs help form us we have to go to help her." They all turn to look around dazedly, examining the machines. There was something here that made the girls feel sick to their stomachs. Yet for some reason they all stare before moving toward the door that had opened behind Esme.

"What is it?" They ask in unison. "Is everyone okay?"

"No, of course not," murmurs 'Jean' from the other end of the corridor. "But you are invisible to psychic tracking and that is very, very convenient right now," and it is Jean! She wears a black skinsuit and her red hair is wet with the gel from one of the tanks.

"I am Madelyne," says 'Jean'. "I want to get out of here and I can help you escape without leaving anyone behind. But, hmm… I have some reasons to insist no one of the others know I am here for now. I want to make a deal with you."

"What sort of deal?" Esme is the first to leap on an opportunity as always but even she sounds wary as she steps to the front of the group. "Why haven't we met you before? …Why do you look like Jean?"

The other girls speak in murmurs and it seems decided that Esme will lead the charge for now. She does so, hips swaying slightly as she moves to the fore. "If you're trapped here we'll help you as soon as you tell us- why the secrecy. What are you doing? And then the deal."

The other Cuckoos nod in agreement.

"We have not met before," replies the redhead, "and I don't know why I look so much like Jean Grey. It is possible we are related? I can't remember," she sighs, leaning against a metal wall. "I am trapped, yes. And the others, your friends are drawing attention; they are going to be attacked soon. If they manage to survive then we have a good chance. You, me and the little unborn girl that was pulled out of that green-haired girl."

"…They took Lorna's baby," one of the Cuckoos says suddenly, ais f she is just processing this for the first time. Then all of the girls are speaking at once again.

"We have to find Aurora."

"We were supposed to protect her."

"That wasn't real."

"But this *is*." All of them round on Madelyne at once then, their crystalline gazes intense. "Tell us what you know. We need to escape here. All of us."

Negotiations are apparently over.

"Yes," agrees Madelyne, offering Esme a crooked smile that is very un-Jean. "I can take you to Aurora, she is in a portable incubator just a few rooms from here. But we would be attacked right away. And then… we would die, or worse." She shrugs. "I don't want Nathaniel or Illyana, or any of the others knowing I am here. But if you agree to help me, I will tell you where the other mutants taken from the wedding are right now, then you can try to rescue Aurora and escape."

"Okay," they all agree. "Fine. If you can show us where they are and we can escape with them we won't tell anyone you were here." The five identical girls look between another and nod. They array themselves around Madelyne and turn toward the hallway 'Just tell us what we need to do."

Madelyne smiles, looking somewhat relieved. "Very well. Take the corridor to the right. Third door. There is an override passcode for the case the retinal scan is not responding, you need to open the second panel to the left of the door." And then type a nine characters alphanumeric code. How does Madelyne know this if she is a prisoner? She volunteers no information.

"The groom and the maid of honor are there," adds the redhead. "You will fire the alarms freeing there and I don't know how to prevent it. So move quickly. Get out of the room, turn the first corridor left and take the emergency ladder up…" a few more indications are given so they can reach Aurora.

An explosion is heard in the distance, and Madelyne looks towards the far wall. "You are lucky, they are fighting. Hurry up now." She points to the hallway. "Go. If all goes well you will never see me again."

"Does everything ever go that well?" One of the blondes gives Madelyne a wry smile, but she is quickly hauled away by one of her sisters.

"Esme, we need to move!" calls another, who is already lifting a diamond fist and slamming it into the first of the pods. The sound of metal tearing and contorting beneath the force of superhuman physical strength echoes through the room.

"Monet? Marcos?" Each of those being rescued is dragged into the open and picked up bodily as the Five-in-One dash down the hallway. It's just for expedience; they'll be let down as soon as they prove to be fully conscious.

Getting dragged out, Monet slumps to the ground and already is starting to wake up. Her brain kicking back into gear. She looks over at the five girls and then looks over at Marcos. Her eyes going over each as she coughs up whatever goo was in that cylinder and looks at herself. She growls softly as she stands up. She stretches to her full height and eyes the area around as she wipes some of that stuff off of her face, "What is going on?" She looks over at the others, "What is this place and who am I hitting?"

Marcos gets dragged out of his pod and he is slumped over as the girls Drag him..though he is initially slow to come back to life, as it were, Marcos does…and the moment those eyes even barely open, they go absolutely wide, and he coughs up cylinder goo. He looks around then in a panic. "Where am I?" a deep breath as he has fear in his eyes. "Where's Lorna?!"

"We're hitting everyone we don't recognize," replies one of the diamond shapes. "Lorna's fine, she's already out with a bunch of the others. We were captured by a bunch of crazy powerful telepaths. We need to get out of here."

The girls turn left, as ordered, but three stand aside to gesture for Monet to go past them. Marcos is gingerly lowered to the ground. "Up this way. We can rejoin the others. Marcos, you're not well-shielded so you need to focus on getting out. We've got you covered. Okay?"

"Deep breaths."

A look over at the girls and then the woman walks up to the door and with a balled fist leaves a dent in the doorway before continuing along. She looks back over at the others and then looks ahead, "Alright, lets just leave." She then follows after the two and then says, "If I see someone, I'm breaking them, though." She nods her head and looks to the girls as they state Lorna and others are out. She looks to Marcos briefly before looking ahead and just generally being grumbly as she goes along the way.

The place is a very high tech medical lab. Not even Monet can figure out what half the machines are doing, at least not without studying them for a few hours. There are no minds nearby but theirs, but some distance away Monet can feel Nate Grey and with some effort, a few other familiar minds. Lorna, Alex, and the weirdly shielded mind of Illyana Rasputin.

The Cuckoos lead the others to another lab. Through a ladder and what look like a narrow maintenance corridor. The lab is brightly lit and looks recently used. Sit under what looks like an ultrasound scanner there is a smaller life support pod with a tiny, underdeveloped baby inside.

At the other side of the room, in a larger pod, floats a middle-aged, scrawny man. Some might recognize him as Jason Wyngarde, the powerful criminal illusionist codenamed Mastermind. Totally unconscious, as his mind seems to be gone into a deep telepathic shock.

Marcos looks then to the Cuckoos as they explain to him that Lorna had already escaped, and he takes a deep breath. "okay…is the baby alright?" he asks then, before he stands up to his feet in a sluggish manner, but one with someone who is invariably pissed off. He moves with the ladies around him.

He sees all the containers as they move on. "Where in the hell are we…" then when he's told that he doesn't have good psi-shielding, Marcos looks at them. "Well….I'm screwed then." he does take the deep breaths, but clearly he's intent on leaving this place.

"Marcos, just take a deep breath," the first Cuckoo begins slowly. Then they continue in unison, "Aurora's right there." The frontmost diamond girl is pointing at the underdeveloped child being incubated in front of them.

Monet gets a nod from one and yet another moves to free Jason Wyngarde. She's going to keep avery tight grip on this man in particular.

"We need to get the baby before we go. Monet, can you carry the incubator? It should have emergency power. Just don't - shake it around."

A blink at the girls and she states, "Don't shake the baby? Really?" She then sighs and shakes her head as she looks this over, "This is terrible." She reaches over and looks around it seeing if there's a safe way to disconnect it before she hefts it up and starts toward the exit.

Marcos does take a deep breath. He wasn't afraid…but he wanted to -get out-. That is….until he sees an underdeveloped Aurora in a pod.

A. Fucking. Pod.

Marcos shakes with such extreme anger that the light actually looks like it's burning hotter than ever around his body. "I'm going to kill whoever did this." he rushes immediately to Aurora, looking at her until Money manages to get the pod in order.

"…let's go. Then I'm burning this place to the ground."

Aurora's pod seems fully autonomous, although one would assume it will require a power recharge and nutrients at some point. The baby girl's mind is still, although not comfortable, she feels something is wrong.

Wyngarde is obviously into comma, vitals very low. He is wearing some kind of high-tech mesh suit. Possibly part of a power amplifier array. His presence in his sorry state does explain in part the whole House of M dream-illusion. The power needed to amplify his mutant abilities to the point it went through the psychic defenses of people like Magneto and Jean Grey is certainly quite worrisome.

As soon as Monet picks Aurora's pod the room lights go red.

Another explosion shakes the complex. Alex Summer's plasma discharges are certainly impressive.

"That's the alarm. We have to get out of here now," Sophie (presumably) calls out as she starts a dash for the exit. It's probably clear now why Monet was asked to carry the incubator- if nothing else, flight makes one immune to shaking buildings and various other unpleasant occurrences. Also, super strength.

"Burn it to the ground if you need to, Marcos, just not until we're all outside. Aurora's okay. I know it's - insane. But she's okay. The rest of it has to wait." One of the Cuckoos takes up the dangeorus position of being just to Marcos's left. Another reaches out and touches Monet's arm.

At this point it becomes a sprint.

As the building rocks, Monet does indeed lift off. She doesn't want to hurt the child and as they fly, she looks back at the others and keeps going. She's flying easily enough. She just wants to get everyone out for the moment, "Burning it to the ground is key on my list of things to do. I don't know who did this or why but they are going to be taking a hell of a beating when I get my hands on them."

Marcos sees what the room has now become: red. There's hell to pay now. Either way, at the plea of one of the Cuckoos, Marcos seems to visibly calm down. "Okay….fine. As long as she's okay." he glances to that pod then, his eyes looking saddened amidst the rage. But, as one of the Cuckoos move next to him to keep with his pace, Marcos is in a sprint too, making his way out with the rest of them.

"Let's just hope we don't run into the bastard who did all this." then that massive explosion is heard. "…I really hope that was Alex."

"We'll probably find out," Sophie mutters, half to herself. One of the other girls shifts to her human form all at once and then pauses in midstride. "…Turn right. Nate's found the exit," the girl calls. The others, perhaps seeing their sister is fine, also turn back to their normal selves. They turn right essentially as one unit, and continue to their flight.

Running… running where? The lab complex is a maze of metal corridors and rooms, most of them full of high-tech equipment. The metal and ceramics that form the walls and doors are so hard it would take Monet several minutes of punching (and bruised knuckles) to break through a wall; and she needs to strain herself to force a closed blast door to open. Marcos' lasers also work, but it is slow to cut through. Madelyne codes do not work after they pick up Aurora.

Still, not all doors are so solid and they are moving towards the battle. Unfortunately their enemies know where they are, and can move faster.

"Hey girls, where do you think you are going?" A shrill, Spanish-accented voice comes from the front, a skinny man in dark purple body armor stands there, his features blurred as he moves way too fast in short bursts. Seeing Monet is carrying Aurora's pod, he spins at nearly supersonic speed, sending two resin blades to the dark-haired girl legs. The daggers cut the tux and shatter against her invulnerable skin. But surprisingly they scratched her!

"Nowhere," growls another, deeper voice behind the group. "They are going back to their pods fast." This one is massive, as tall as Colossus and even wider, moving quickly forward to grab the Cuckoo going last.

Monet blinks as she hears something and then frowns as she feels the stings of the blades. She winces and looks down before looking to Aurora, "Please don't go anywhere." She says softly and carefully sets Aurora down with a frown. She looks again down and then looks over toward the speedy fella and then big man. She stares for a moment, "You two really want to play this game?" She flexes up once and looks at the nearest Cuckoo and nods, "Keep Aurora safe." She then flies at the big fella at full speed, fist first.

Marcos sees the smaller skinny purple-suited guy first, before his attention is stolen by the colossal guy behind them. Without almost a second thought, he turns around and blasts at the big fella to help Monet with her punching! then his attention is on the purple dude. "Alright…let's go."

and he'll rush at him! bathed in pure light as he leaps at the smaller enemy! fight night!

Monet dives at the colossal giant wand the Cuckoo near her watches as she flies through the air. "Get him, beautiful!" She calls in a cheer while the others just regard her with bemused disbelief. They seem to be content to watch this happening. Then the speedster dives at Aurora.

"Don't you DARE!" The scream that follows involves the slight shock of Celeste tearing away the psionic power of all of her sisters and throwing it full-force directly at Riptide as he is diving to wrest away the child. It's so intense that others nearby would feel just an inkling of it.

It's like having your skin melted off by a nuclear bast, backed by the powers of all five women at once. Which means that when Marcos dives… He'll probably be preoccupied.

Blockbuster, who is the giant, takes Marcos' blast on the chest with a grunt. Instead of a hole, he gets a painful burn. Then Monet slams a fist on his face. The impact rattles everyone's teeth.

Blockbuster takes a step back, shaking his head. His lip is busted, nothing more. "Not bad…" he notes, aiming a massive punch to Monet's mid-section. "…for a girl," he adds, trying to grab Monet and throw her against Celeste at a speed that would pretty much turn the young blonde into pulp.

Meanwhile Riptide crackles like a maniac, avoiding Eclipse with a rush of superspeed, throwing a couple barbed darts at the young man's back. To cause pain and bleeding, not to kill. Raw sadism. But his goal is grabbing Aurora's pod.

The Cuckoos mind-blast hit him a few feet from his quarry, though. He has impressive mental defenses that look of technological origin, but the Five-in-One mind-blast punches through and make him scream in pain, sending the assassin tumbling down the metal floors. Stunned, but his mind is very fast and is quickly recovering.

A third man appears from the front corridor. Not very tall, but very stocky. He wears blue metal armor and carries a quiver full of harpoons. "Clumsy, Riptide," he grunts, throwing one of the harpoons to Sophie. It turns into lightning in mid-flight. An almost deadly charge.

The hit takes Monet hard and she oofs before she is suddenly thrown. She is nearly about to hit Celeste when she slows down quickly and then a blast of air from the throw will slam into Celeste but that is all. Monet will have stopped mid air before her and hten looks at Blockbuster, "Huh, good throw…" She nods her head, "…for a giant bitch." And then she rushes back toward him, "Help the girls." She calls to Marcos in passing and aims to hit Blockbuster again, though this time she slams into the ground suddenly and rockets up again to slam her fist into his jaw in a vicious uppercut.

Marcos nods to Monet as she tells him to aid the Cuckoos. Though as Riptide is foiled in his plot to get Aurora, his eyes fall on the tall metal man who apparently throws lightning. Marcos actually tackles Sophie out of the way, looking at the man as he covers himself with light again, attempting to fire a beam of photokinetic light at this being!

"Cuckoos! keep the speedster out of this fight. Your the only ones here who can keep up with his speed." he says then as he focuses….seems that everyone has their opponent now.

It's fortunate the energy lance is being thrown at Sophie. She's the most martially adept of the cuckoos. Still, the blonde lets out a shout as she dives to the ground to avoid being struck. The lightning grazes her and she screams, the air filling with the smell of signed cloth.

Celeste mumbles a brief thanks as Monet stops herself from doing more than ruffling the Cuckoo's hair and then she speaks again. She's joined by two other voices. "You think you can hurt a child. In front of me? Take her from her family? From her home? Lorna trusts us to protect her. That includes her child."

"You're going to wish this would actually kill you." Three of the Cuckoos, acting as one, reach into Riptide's mind and begin to pull, smashing violently at the stunned speedster's thoughts. They start with his memory of pain.

Blockbuster stands his ground, taking Monet's punches stoically. It is like punching a metal wall even for Monet. And the giant certainly hits harder than anything she has felt before. The huge man tries to corner her to the wall to reduce her ability to fly and move fast, and then punches her repeatedly; trying to shatter her ribs and smash her head so hard against the metal wall she is knocked out.

Riptide manages to crawl back to his hands and knees before the Cuckoos gather energy for another psychic attack. This time he can't resist so well, and screams loudly as the telepathic hive mind tears his mind and memories apart. In a few seconds he is unconscious.

Harpoon moves quickly, almost dodging Eclipse's beam. The corridor is too narrow, though, so the Inuit assassin escapes with a nasty burn gash to his left arm. Undeterred, he pulls another harpoon from his quiver and attempts to drive it through Eclipse's belly.

An oof and Monet is hitting the wall. She groans as she then feels a hit, then another hit. She is going to feel these hits in the morning, so to speak. She growls and tries to block, but she can feel even her own body breaking. She then switches gears and Blockbuster might not expect this. Right as his fist is about to impact, a psychic scream will be sent ripping into his mind with all the force that Monet can muster. She'll then follow that up with a drop and a kick upward right to the man's giant crotch.

Eclipse is on Harpoon! light emanating from his hands as he fires blast after blast at the man. He has an advantage due to the small corridor. Alas, he has a bit of pride on his face as the Cuckoos show unwavering loyalty to their word. Touching, really.
Monet has Blockbuster, right?

anyway, a harpoon is thrown and Marcos just -barely- moves out of the way, attempting to throw a large ball of light at Harpoon! which will undoubtedly explode once it hits something.

The Cuckoos leave Riptide damaged but alive. He'll be very confused when he comes to but the damage shouldn't be permanent. They then rush over to cluster around Sophie and help the other girl to her feet. She looks a little dizzy but it seems she's going to be okay with some time.

A psychic voice reaches out to check the location of the other escapees. Then there is group of very angry telepaths turning their attention on the remaining foes. They haven't regrouped quiet yet, but it seems inevitable that psionic violence is about to be enacted on both Harpoon and Blockbuster in manner similar to that of the fallen Riptide.

Blockbuster's mind is also protected, and Monet psy-blast barely manages to make him shake his head. A momentary distraction which becomes dangerous when the young woman kicks him hard between his legs. The large man grunts in pain, jaw clenched, and goes down to one knee. "B-bitch, will kill you… ack!" The Cuckoos psi-attack is much stronger than Monet's, and the giant grabs his head with his hands, falling fall on his back.

Harpoon has reached hand to hand range with Eclipse, and it is easier for him to avoid his laser beams. He is an excellent fighter, feinting with the harpoon to kick Marcos, trying to break his knee, then head-butting. Very fast, too. His mind is more disciplined than those of his teammates, tougher. The Cuckoos attack makes him recoil, but wouldn't have knocked him down.

It makes him a good target for the ball of light, though. He screams, burning, and falls back, very seriously injured.

All the Marauders are down. Time to run again!

Slumping to the ground, Monet winces and holds her side before simply floating up and then flying over to the baby. She hefts it up again and grits her teeth as she does. She floats up and then says, "We gota moment, lets go." She then starts going but it is clear she's in severe pain.

Marcos knocks down Harpoon and -definitely- doesn't seem to be guilty about practically roasting Harpoon alive, leaving him in critical condition. He starts to get moving. "Let's go!" he helps the Cuckoos get up as needed, before he looks to Monet. "You alright?" he asks her then with that soft smile, looking to his child as they move them.

"Let's just hope this base doesn't havea self-destruct or anything like that…"

It takes them still a few minutes to reach the door out, and along the way they find the shattered rooms left by the other escaping mutants. The gates of the lab seem to lead to a frozen mountain range, a blizzard blowing. But before they have a chance to explore the place Nate pushes them through one of Illyana's stepping disks. And from Limbo to the X-Bunker a few seconds later.

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