It's Not Paper, It's People!

October 04, 2018:

A group of X-men patrol the streets of Mutant Town. Shadows that are more than shadows attack and leave a mess in their wake.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Alex, Scott, X-men of various, Brotherhood


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Given the social outreach and efforts the X-Men put forth in Mutant Town, it should come as little surprise that their resident leopard, Cloud, is no stranger to the place. As comfortable on rooftops as she is on tree branches, the clouded leopard often visits Mutant Town with others and splits off, stalking said rooftops to get the lay of the land and check on the people. There are those who will spend time with and accept a four-pawed feline visitor but will avoid or even hide from her two-footed compatriots. In this way, the often-furred X-Woman does her part to help the people who need help by being as aware as possible of who is where and how they are doing. She is also not above bringing along bottles of water or snacks and treats in her service vest, though it has been a while since she once came through dragging a fresh kill intent on trying to feed it to those in need.


The half light of the demon incursion remained the constant in the city, the only constant, in the otherwise chaotic world that was literally Hell on Earth. Here, in the heart of Mutant Town was an eerie silence on the streets. Outside of the borders of Mutant Town, humans ran, the military had set up a blockade, and demons spread terror. Inside at least, the demons had more or less cleared off save for the stray here and there.

The Community center had been reinforced to become a steel bound bunker where those that refused to leave had remained. The leaders of the Brotherhood had vanished, and Polaris had stepped in to fill the gaps wherein the protection of the mutants had fallen upon her shoulders. The green haired mutant had moved into the Community Center, and took to patrolling the streets with bodyguards of various Brotherhood members and even one or two Acolytes typically. Lorna came out of the center, leather jacket and boots riveted with steel flashed in the gloaming as she stalked out.


Sage had made several trips, between the Mansion and Mutant Town. Sometimes, to help ferry refugees, as they had, at first, seemed to come in waves, refusing to leave at first, but then agreeing once their children were taken away. Sometimes to help bring in supplies. No one really bothered to ask her where she had gotten them, or why some of them seemed to have their markings removed. It was food, and medical supplies, and other necessities that were all roving more difficult to come by as they mutants had slowly been reduced to the small area of Mutant Town, which seemed only smaller when you could not safely leave. Now, however, she was doing neither of those things. Instead, she was stepping down from one of the still occupied houses, not far from the Community Center, some odd, bluish-white light shining through her sunglasses, illuminating the skin around her sockets before it faded. By the time she made it down the stairs, she looked and seemed the same as ever.


Well they'd told her it was demons, so Rogue dropped $20 dollars online and soon-thereafter was printing off her Ordained Minister certificate. With that in hand she stopped by the Occult Shop a couple of doors down from her own store and she picked up some Holy Earth (it came in a cute cloth bag that she totally saved too). Mixing that Holy Earth with a big jug of water pulled off of an office water fountain, which she attached a hose to it (borrowed from a friend) and then she attached the firing weapon onto the hose (same friend, also borrowed)…

And NOW, Rogue is flying over Mutant town with a giant bottle of holy water strapped to her back, her Minister Certificate rolled up and sticking out of a inner jacket pocket from her leather bomber jacket, her Aviator sunglasses on over her eyes and her two-toned hair flowing in the wind behind her as she goes.

"Rogue's on site. Rogue's ready to kick some demonic ass." She announces over team comms. She gives her holy water gun a few more pumps of air pressure, ready to blast some evil fools. Will this even work? She doesn't know, if it doesn't, she'll just punch them until they explode.


Cloud finishes her visit with one of the few other fortified homes remaining, having spent time with the children there. With the fear and tension rampant and very little outlet, a visit from a warm, cuddly and furry leopard who was only too happy to roll around with them, without fear of any of their mutant talents or differences, was just what a doctor would have ordered, if one could find a doctor right now. With a last nuzzle, she drops off the supplies she was carrying in her vest and then wiggles her way out through one of the tiny openings, then lopes her way down towards the street.

When demons stalk the city, a leopard on the sidewalk isn't so much of a big deal, even one in an X-stamped service animal vest. The leopard looks up as her collar transmits Rogue's communication signal, but she keeps up her steady pace, heading towards the community center and other scented humans.


The crackle of the X-men comms had Lorna digging her own out from her pocket and jamming it into her ear. She winced as Rogue's voice cheered over audio and she exhaled a breath, her lips twitching briefly. "Well, come on over toward the Community Center. I've been running patrols. Some guys think they saw something up." She murmured, her voice dryly amused as she caught sight of Sage on the sidewalk nearby. She waved toward the other mutant, nodding as the bodyguards from the Brotherhood fell back in a protective, flanking manner.

"Hey, up for handling some chaos?"


Sage nodded, the motion almost imperceptible, as she heard the transmission, piped in, not through an earbud, but through the communications array built into her glasses. "Are the skies clear, Rogue?" Sage paused, as she got to the sidewalk, head turning to look in the direction of the approaching leopard, though she did not move in that direction herself. Instead, she turned to make her way towards the community center, and the gaggle of bodyguards neatly arrayed around the green-haired mutant. The bodyguards themselves received, each in turn, an accessing glance before Sage turned her attention to Lorna. "I've finished my rounds for the night, so yes."


"Roge'ah dodge'ah." Rogue replies over the comms as she's a block or so way and up a good distance enough to get a great view of what's going on down below.

"Everythin' looks quiet up here. A little too quiet, but hey… at least it's not a live reenactment of a mid 90s video game at the moment, right?" Doom, anyone?
Rogue swoops down as she draws closer to the community center, she knows the place because she used to play basketball there five or six years ago with some friends in town. By which she'd fly up to one of the basketball hoops and sit on it and then slap away the ball any time someone shot it. She thought it was fun.

Not… many others did.

Once there, she drops out of the sky with her giant jug of water on her back and her high powered custom designed super soaker, she glances around at those here and starts walking toward where the others are, her dark aviator lenses cover her eyes. "Hey, at least it's not the school, right?"


The clouded leopard in the navy-trimmed gold service vest comes padding down the sidewalk towards Polaris and her bodyguards, Sage and Rogue at a reasonably sedate pace. She prefers rooftops, of course, but when reaching humans sometimes ground level is required, and she's capable of that. She chuffs to let her collar transmit the sound to the others as she comes around the corner and walks their way, hers flicking this way and that as those feline senses probe for anyone or anything, threat or person in need, as she heads for the others. Keeping others safe is why she joined, and it's always her priority.


The green haired mutant turned an exasperated glance in Rogue's direction as the other woman landed with some kind of a thing on her back. An arch of her eyebrows followed, a tilt of her head as her arms crossed. "School or not, it's still too close to home for my tastes." She murmured softly. The roads were quiet around them though it was decidedly due in part to the lack of people that remained. The city had thinned out, either willingly or not.

"What's that on your back anyways, Rogue?" She shoved her hands into her pockets as she started down the road.

"Anyways, I've been doing a circuit around the borders, easier to keep the demons out and protect everyone here in Mutant Town that way."


Rogue takes a breath after landing and she holds her water rifle tucked into her left elbow while her right hand stays on the grip and the silver trigger, its clearly custom made. At Lorna's question she glances down at it and then back up at her.

"It's a beer blaste'ah." She says with a grin then. "I've repurposed it inta a holy water delivery system. I got ordained online, so I can make holy water anywhere I go now." She seems very proud of herself, but she stops grinning then. "You said demons, right? I mean, this stuff's supposed t'burn'em, right?" She does a look around, right to left, and the water in the giant jug on her back sloshes about inside the clear blue plastic barrel.


Sage made her approach, settling in a few feet from Lorna. Close enough to be able to have a normal conversation, not so close that either woman was in reach of the other. Or the bodyguards, for that matter. The approach and the landing take Sage's attention, the slightest crook of her head as she studies the contraption.
"That is quite an interesting invention. I will look forward to seeing just how effective it is. If it does work, it might be useful in other arenas. Fire suppression system,s for example."


A snort, and a twitch of her lips escaped Lorna at Rogue's admission about what the thing on her back was, and well, the news about the whole 'ordained' thing. "I dunno if it will work or if like.. this is that kind of a demon thing? Or how much uhh internet priests count." Her eyebrows furrowed as she shrugged once, a roll of her leather jacket that cause it to creak.

"But we might as well try it. If all else fails, ripping them apart works. Or bashing them in." She paused, considering as she started down the road, her boots clicking against the pavement as she moved.

"Alex.. Uh Havok is back. He and I kind of took out a living ish demon taxi. Worked to rip it to shreds. Nate and I tore apart another one."


Rogue grins at Sage and just nods her head a single time. "I'd use it on fightin' fires too, if nothin else. But come on, if it doesn't work on these guys, then do they really qualify as 'demons'? I mean if it doesn't work, then they're just straight up 'monsters' more than anythin' else, right? Demons are… biblical, religious based, right?" She looks between the two of them because SHE sure doesn't know the answer to that. "But yeah, I just figure a little ranged weaponry wouldn't hurt much in this instance since I can fly over the city and all that. Scott doesn't want me usin' real guns after all. And I get that, kinda… shotguns would be fun against demons though, watchin' blow up!" She makes a hand gesture then. "Booooooosh!

Demon guts everywhere. That'd be satisfyin'. Nasty little freak bitches that they are." She looks around again then and sighs sharply. "I like Mutant Town, I don't want it gettin' more trashed than it already is."


While Sage perhaps thought better of making any further comments about the feasibility of Rogue's demonic portable crop duster, she did move to walk in step with the other two women, reaching into a pocket, likely one of many that lined the interior of the jacket she was wearing, withdrawing a box which she offered to Lorna. If she chose to open it, she would find a full three dozen shaped rounds which looked like miniature arrows, "Flechette rounds, explosive. You might find them useful." She did not offer a gun, but then, when you could control metal and manipulate magnetic forces, guns were rather a downgrade." She also did not bother to comment on what she thought Scott Summers might think about the use of lethal force. The mention of his brother though, "Does Scott know that he's returned?"


The Brotherhood members that were trailing after Lorna didn't leave, though they hung back, slipping into the shadows and the edges of the women's line of sight. There were X-men and Brotherhood members on the same street, working, in general, together without added chaos. Who knew it would take a demonic invasion for that to happen? "I dunno the details about where they come from or not. I mean, Nate said something about Limbo. And beyond that? Everyone's reports have been vague and I've been—" She broke off, she had been a hot mess. As Sage dug into a pocket to draw out a little something, Lorna took it, surprise coloring her features as she ran a finger over metal with a grin.

"Nice, I think they'll be very useful. Can't wait to test them out." At the mention of Scott she shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I haven't put in the report.."


Rogue nods back at the brotherhood people following them, she's still got her dark mirror finished sunglasses on over her eyes. She doesn't know they're Brotherhood members, she probably wouldn't nod at them if she did. She was WITH that group, almost a decade ago, they'd lead her into a dark place, trying to use her mutation for their own benefits… as they do.

"Alex, huh." The southerner says. "Miste'ah, Here Now Gone Tomorro'ah." She releases a light sigh and shakes her head. "I prefer the eye-beam one over him. Reliability is always better than folks that come'n'go as they please." As they proceed on water, she glances at the weapon hand over, but doesn't think much on it. "I should probably go get out there and find something' t'test this on. I've killed demons from Limbo before, but that was… with Rasputin's sword. Hellava headache I had after that…"


Sage continued along, in a close grouping with Lorna and Rogue, with the bodyguards trailing not too far behind. "From what I have been able to gather, they are somehow related to Illyana Rasputina," came Sage's comment, propelled, perhaps, by Rogue's story of the previous demon-fighting. "But there have been no reliable reports of her whereabouts that I have been able to glean from my sources. Whether or not finding her will put an end to any of this, or simply give us another tool in our arsenal, I don't think that it really matters. We need to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the threat these demons pose to the city." She did glance back to Rogue, "If you would like something to supplement your weapon, I brought a few other items which might be useful." And then a glance back to Lorna, "How much farther until we get to where we had the reported disturbance?"


A rough exhale followed Rogue's comment about Alex's tendency to come and go, his instability in comparison to Scott. She smothered a laugh, "Scott is way too serious," She tucked the box with explosives away into her jacket pocket. Her gaze carefully trained on the twilit streets ahead of them. It was quiet, in the manner of being too quiet. Burned husks of cars littered the area. Debris from fires and half-collapsed buildings from before the demons had been pushed out.

Rogue's question about where the reports had come from earned a nod ahead. "Next street up. Supposedly, there were reports of some kind of shadowy demon thing. Darker than the rest of the area. The scouting report was vague." She grimaced, glancing back toward Sage as the woman added in her own summations about the scattered reports and information they'd managed to gather.

"Whatever it is that caused this is why my brother is missing, and my sister is unwell." She wasn't going to say crazy. She'd been called 'crazy' before and didn't entirely appreciate the connotations associated with it.


Rogue's sunglasses covered eyes look over to Sage and she nods softly once at her. "Maybe, I need t'see what we're fightin' first. I got my own bugbears when it comes t'weaponry'n'such. I don't like causin' a buncha death t'fall on people that don't deserve it… thus it's easier t'control my fists in that regard, or…" She holds up her beer-blaster-converted-into-holy-water-super-soaker. "No harmin' good folks with this. Just all the evil ones." She grins some more then before her eyes drift back over to Lorna.

"Scott's gotta be serious." She replies then. "Its what keeps us all in-check. If he didn't do it, who would? God almighty, we'd all be like… a buncha feral cats in a shoe box." She clears her throat then. "Didn't your brother help put Scott in the hospital?" She inquires next. "I wouldn't mind payin' him back for that."


Sage nodded, at Lorna's report, attention seeming to shift in that direction, "I will see if I can locate the demon." She paused for a moment before she continued,
"Human minds are easy to probe and track. Demonic minds are less so, but their very alien nature makes them stand out." Sage did not often comment on the fact that she was, like, perhaps some would say, too many, a telepath, but in times such as these, she was pragmatic enough to use whatever tools she had in her arsenal. Rogue's comment receives a nod, though she doesn't look back in the other woman's direction, only her voice drifting back into the conversation, "I often forget," though this was Sage, who never forgot anything, "that I am working with X-Men." Who did, by and large try to avoid murder, though not always mayhem.

"Scott is what Xavier made him to be, for good or ill. And he's been left alone to shepherd the dream of the X-Men. That is not a light burden."

Eclipse was in Mutant Town.

He'd been helping kill Demons where he could and keeping people out of harm's way. He had no idea Sage, Rogue, or…perhaps even worse, Lorna were there as well. After another vicious argument, they weren't exactly on good terms as cooler heads did not prevail.

But, he seems to be wearing a leather jacket over his plat shirt, jeans and simple shoes. Though beneath his clothes was the uniform that Scott gave to him when he first joined the X-Men.

For now though, seemed to just wander.


The street ahead read on the telepathic plane like much of the area. Like an unnatural scream, of death and chaos and after effect of some hellish, angry minds that buzzed about. As soon as the three women made it to the four-way stop, the broken down stop lights hung from above, half smashed on the ground. Power lines were scattered against the pavement, along with the 'usual' debris that had come to be common for the city.

Strangely though, were the clothes. Clothes and scattered shoes lay in pools on the street. Otherwise looking untouched. Rolls of what looked to be paper lay scattered about among the piles. All of which lay in pools of shadow; be it the shadow of a building, car, or trash can. A darker pooling compared to the dim twilight that surrounded the city on a whole.

Lorna slowed her steps, "Look, I'm not saying that Scott as a leader isn't good, he's fine. Being serious is great then. But compared to Alex? C'mon. Those are two very different things." She murmured, her humor died though as Rogue brought up the fact that Pietro had hospitalized Scott months ago. She grimaced, "He's still my brother." She murmured, "And he doesn't deserve to be messed with by demons or whatever it is that has him. Okay?"

Around them, Sage would feel the creeping sense of something hungry. Something vicious, and small, about a dozen somethings. Angry. Ravenous. And very much surrounding them.


Rogue shifts her holy-beer blaster from one arm to the other and then reaches up to lift her aviator shades up so they sit on top of her forehead amongst the strands of snow-white bangs atop her head. "Yeah, I agree. He doesn't deserve t'have demons mess him up, I'm all for findin' him and savin' him. Then hospitalize him myself." She grins a little before her eyes look over to Sage. "Scott's doin' his best though, it's a lotta burden, yep and I think that's partly why he's so 'serious' all the time."

The silver and black gun is lifted up and rested on top of her shoulder while her uncovered eyes roam over the area around them before she spots a familiar face. "Look'et, Lorna, it's your beau." That's probably not what Polaris wanted to hear him called if they're still fighting though.


The feel of the street, the sense of the aftermath of the damage was, for Sage, much like coming home again, in the worst possible way. And in one sector of her mind, memories of another warzone long ago and far away began to spool up in her thoughts. But that was only one small sector of her mind, "One mutant, not quite incoming, perhaps half a block away. Male. He did not do this." She gave no further information, as Rogue managed to spot the man in question. Sage stepped forward, moving to take a knee by one of the piles of clothes, pulling off one of her gloves to allow her bare fingers to touch the paper, searching in that odd way that she had for whatever genetic signature might be there. She had seen too many terrible things, to question whether or not this might be another one of them.

"Skin." She lifted one of the bits of paper, which began to crumble under even that slight pressure of her fingers. "Whatever is here…consumed these people whole, and left only husk behind." She lifted her head, "We are being surrounded. Rogue, Lorna, if you both could take off, I will remain on the ground to draw them in. Three vectors of attack will be more beneficial than one." Sage rose from her knees, reaching beneath her jacket to remove a pair of handguns, slightly smaller than submachine guns, so manageable, both with extended magazines. A flick of her fingers and a pair of blades extended from the grips. "We very rarely get the things that we want in life." And then she was silent, pushing mentally, extending out the sense of her, her mind, her potential, as if she were some animal, scenting the air to entice predator towards its prey.


Marcos kept looking around, even as he saw clothes littering the streets. Maybe even a blood splatter or two here and there, hidden in the rubble. But..Eclipse seemed saddened at what had happened here. But, he seems to look around a moment, investigating around corners to see if there was a Demon about to approach. His hands ready to create photokinetic energy, ready to burn any demon who was unlucky enough to cross his path.

Given, he had no idea if one was present in the immediate vicinity or not, but it was still warranted to concern He's been doing the same thing as he moves between areas. In this case, he was moving away from Lorna, Rogue, and Sage.

Especially since he didn't know any of them were there. He was focused. Extremely focused.


Lorna trailed along behind Sage, frowning at the scattered clothes and strange bits of paper that littered the dusky streets. The perpetual lack of sunlight was beginning to get to her. The taste of light and warmth from Genosha had blinded her and had also shown her that the past week spent in constant half-light was beginning to wreck her emotional state even further. Distractedly, a hand closed around the metal pendant that hung low on a silver chain around her neck. Her thumb and forefinger playing over it idly.

Rogue's words earned a frown, a look of confusion and her gaze landed on Marcos' departing figure. Her mouth parted, her figure lifting up off the pavement an inch, two, giving her a better perspective on the man who quite literally, until recently that is, lit up her life.

"Marcos? What—" And then came Sage's revelation that the bits of paper weren't bits of paper after all. But skin. Husks of skin. Remains of the dead. Completely dried out and without moisture to the point that the touch left them crumbling into dust. So much so that with a lit breeze, they might not have been found at all.
Her chest tightened, horror gripping her heart as she lifted higher into the air at Sage's insistence that they were, in fact, surrounded. Lorna's gaze swept around them, but there was nothing visible to her senses. Nothing but the deep shadows of that lurked around fallen debris and abandoned cars. The same that there was on every block seemingly.

Even with Sage's telepathic encouragement, nothing broke the silence. Not a sound followed. Though mentally, the angry, ravenous, minds churned with unrestrained desire. It was like a wriggling thing. As if one could peer into the mind of a leech, or a tick. They wanted to consume, they wanted to feast… But it was just.. out of reach.. just out of…

As Marcos continued on his way down the path, the shadows that he stepped into, wriggled and lurched, slithering up in an attempt to consume him there on the ground.


Because she's the Queen of Awkward moments, Rogue shouts off after him. "Marco Polo!" But it doesn't seem to have any effect. She stares a moment longer before she shrugs her shoulders and looks back to Lorna. "Maybe it wasn't him, I 'unno." She then looks toward Sage, then does a fully 360 degree turn while eyeing everything around them. "Fly off?" She replies, her holy-beer-blaster brought back down into her hands, ready to fire. "When there's somethin' strange, in our neighborhood?" She pumps the blaster's air-compressor a couple more quick times.

"I ain't afraid'a no Demon." Whether this situation is truly horrible or not, one has to understand that for over 10 years now, Rogue has considered herself to be invulnerable to just about everything and she hasn't felt much of any pain or found any foes that could break through that, its left her more than a little arrogant toward dangerous situation and its left her more than a little disinterested in 'threats' that may be way more threatening to other individuals than they are toward her.


"I was not telling you to leave. Only that it might be advantageous for you to attack from above, and not from the ground." Sage paused, a fraction of a second, as she felt that alien mind, no, those alien minds lurking, like oil or dark water, slithering towards where she felt Marcos the feel of them moving, coalescing, hunting, "They won't come into the light. They're…dark. Shadows." Though she was running, her voice was still audible, transmitting across the team comms. Already on her feet, Sage moved, running towards the sidewalk where she could sense Marcos' human mind, "Lorna! Those power lines, can you get the lights up?" She did not stop to hear the answer or to see what the other two were doing. She simply ran.


Marcos was just walking about, minding his own business when he notices a shadow slithering towards him! Leaping backward, Marcos summons his photokinetic light to his hand and blasts that shadow until it's no longer a shadow! Because…isn't it a logical thing for a guy who can wield light to be able to banish darkness?

Well, least it works in fiction novels…

Regardless, Marcos stands ready juuust in case. Though he coulda sworn he heard his name somewhere. Too busy killin' shadows!


A frown marred Lorna's lips as she lifted higher into the air, her gaze swinging around and around, desperate to try to figure out what the hell was supposed to be attacking them. Whatever it was that the reports the scouts had left behind had been. The skins. The clothes. It was all some kind of nightmarish landscape. "She has a point Rogue." She drawled. Even as Rogue stayed on the ground, pumping the blaster a few times. Nothing moved toward her, nothing slithered out. Not so long as she more or less dug her feet in and stayed where she was in the otherwise dim twilight.

Sage's words had Lorna's chest knotting painfully. Shadows? How could they fight shadows? She couldn't punch a shadow— Of course, then Sage was mentioning power lines and Lorna nodded, flying toward one of the electrical lines that were still mostly standing. "I can try! But it won't hold for long. The wires aren't meant to hold raw energy like mine. They'll blow. I can't make electricity." She shouted, not without some considerable converters and extra supplies. Supplies they didn't have on hand. She clasped the thick black wire with both hands as she flew over to it, closing her eyes as she threw her senses out.


The shadowy demons that jumped out of the other darkened areas around Marcos slithered at him as he jumped back from one and blasted it with a beam of liquid light. The one he caught boiled, and screamed, burning up with an acrid smell like burnt flesh and hair. Even as Sage ran toward him, the telepathic whispers of hunger and want followed her. The shadows lined the street.

Then, street lamps blared to life, and the unnatural shadows became that much more clear. They writhed, and moved, pools of inky blackness that in the tiny pools of light hissed and screamed, zipping to the nearest shelter out of the light's direct path like bugs scrambling away from a flashlight in an attic.

Lorna gritted her teeth as she tried to keep her powers on the lowest setting she could while still pushing the current through the wires. It was difficult, the concentration she needed immense to keep a steady current that didn't rapidly shift between her fingers. It pulsed, causing a rapid flicker of the lamps all the way down to where Marcos fought his own battle.


"That's definitely him," Rogue said when she saw the light leap from the distant man's hands. But she was busy now because yeah, Sage had some sage advice, who knew! Rogue lifts up off of the ground and is about 20 feet in the air now when she watches Lorna do her thing with the electrical situation. "I don't remember this place being quite THIS dirty." She mutters as she flies toward some of the shadowy areas. When she sees movement is when she raises her blaster up… generally used to deliver wonderful foamy beer into the faces of drunken partygoers, now the blaster is here to deliver righteous holy fury. "Drink up, you freaky bastards!"

Rogue shouts as she squeezes the trigger and sends a gush of rushing water at the moving darkness! Her water jug on her back gurgles bubbles inside as it starts to funnel more into the hose and down out of the rifle! Will this work? Who the hell knows!


Sage ran, as though she couldn't see the gathering shadows, or feel the threat they posed. Or perhaps she did, because she moved in a practiced way, almost a dance, as she drew closer to this shadow or that, close enough for the things in the darkness to feel her, her life, her blood, her…whatever it was that the demons had sought for and found in the humans they had already consumed. She was, in a word, trying to lure them all closer, clump them together, around herself and around Marcos, whom she could now see fighting off the demons attempting to eat him. "We need to draw them together, force them to pull in, amass themselves. So we can try to take them out at once, instead of trying to fight them a piece at a time, when this whole damn place is dark." That, on the comms, but softer, in that voice that was both just like Sage's voice, but also entirely unlike hers, for there was more humanity in it than anything that ever passed her lips, she spoke to Lorna alone, 'I know you can't. But I know what you are, and I believe in what you can do. I will buy you the time.' Sage pulled up short, as she came to within a six-foot span of the light-wielding Marcos, "Pull your light back, keep it away from me!" With luck, the creatures would find her the easier target than Marcos. Time to double down on the Sage versus demon scrum.


Marcos kept blasting at shadows with his light, stepping back towards Lorna, Rogue, and Sage. Though his back was to them, those shadows seemed to just keep coming for him! With blasts and beams of light, he dispels one after the other, apparently not even necessarily threatened by their presence since he holds the key to their destruction.

It's only now that he notices the trio of mutant women who are also fighting. As Sage arrives, Marcos nods to her, looking back to the shadows and trying to lump them all together.


The blasts from Rogue's water gun seemed to pain the shadows whenever it landed on them, shrieks followed as they fled into deeper, drier shadows followed wherever she squirted at them. It wasn't the bubbling death of light, but they decidedly did not enjoy the water. Either because it was holy, or because they didn't like being wet. They fled, trying to escape her and the dreaded water gun.

The pools of darkness skittering this way and that up the street and away from the lights. The only truly good news is that where the remaining street lamps flickered to life under Lorna's powers made a barrier against which the demonic shadows could not or would not cross.

The shadows hissed and screamed under Marcos' light bringing hands that burned with the sunshine of a hot summer's day. They did not like it one bit, and as Sage came racing up, the shadows slithered away from the light toward her with hungry intent. Her plan it seemed, was working as the nearest shadows lurched out from their hiding spots to try to grasp at her from their position on the ground.

Lorna, for her part, struggled with the damaged electrical grid, her powers pulsing and sending the lights into flickering, strobe-like patterns. She was distracted, and it showed in the way the lights flickered. Marcos was down the street. Marcos-
Sage's voice cut through. And frustration made Lorna grit her teeth.

"What I am?" She muttered in disbelief, straining as she tried to force herself to calm her breathing, the racing of her heart and focus. The electrical lines beneath her hands crackled and transformers down the streets flickered to life with sparks as she forced her powers through the gird, pushing, pushing, pushing. Lights came on in houses down the street that had remained standing. Light bulbs sparked and burned in lamps as the whole of the localized energy grid came spluttering to life once more. If only for a moment.


Rogue continues to hover about 15 feet off of the ground and she keeps spraying her holy-beer-cannon into the darkness, she gets a big grin on her lips when she hears the screams from the foul beasts. "Yeah, thats right! Run in fear, ya Harry Potter rejects!" She shouts after them, when Lorna's lights seem to help steer them away, Rogue leans forward in mid-air and zips after them to the edge of the light, not far from where Marcos' fancy light-bright hands are doing the job probably way better than her holy water gun… but still.

"They hate water, AND light. These guys are weak as hell!" Rogue shouts back over her shoulder. "Pun intended!" She also adds a second or so later, while her hands start to recharge the gun with air pressure and she cackles gleefully up where she's hovering.


Sage moves down along the sidewalk, away from the light and the water, off of the sidewalk and towards the center of the street. This being New York, they really did not have that much room to work with, but it was what it was and she slipped the guns back under her jacket. She wasn't likely to find them to be much use. And so, she settled, instead, for setting herself out as bait, taking a knee again as she waited, eyes darting behind her glasses as she brought all of her systems online, reconfiguring the projection system for her virtual reality. Waiting, for the demons to arrive, what was left of them. Knowing they would be hungry, hoping they would be desperate enough to come for her. Sustenance to help them gather, regroup as they fought to escape the light and the damaging spray of sanctified water.


Even if those shadows were no longer tolerating their literal weakness and went after Sage, Marcos still was shining blasts of light at those slithering creatures of the night. Marcos then noticed Lorna, his features softening before he shakes his head.


He starts to move through. Get to a different angle. he tries to move up the rubble of a building to get to higher ground.


Rogue most certainly was able to chase the shadows about, the creatures running in fleeing droves down the way, bouncing between the street lights that formed a barrier along the edges of the street. The shadows swirled and jostled and bumped down the road, shrieking the entire time as she railroaded them via the spray bottle on her back. The masses pooled together until it was one large swirl of pitch black against the concrete, a light absorbing shadow that roiled and spat.

The mass fled Rogue's weapon, straight down the path toward Sage's presence, driven on and egged on between two forces.

The shadows that had once chased Marcos had fled his light hands in burbling streams and hisses, becoming caught up in the telepathic surge that drew the others in. As Marcos made it to the high ground of the rubble from a fallen building he would clearly see the mass of shadows barreling down the corralled street.

Lorna grunted from the effort, her eyes watering as she pushed her limits to keep the lights going, sparks flew from transformers, and loud bangs popped as some exploded from being overwhelmed. Light bulbs sparked and exploded as she struggled to push magnetic energy through wires never meant to convert the raw power. A strangled shout escaped her as she pushed herself ever onwards. It was hard, to maintain the level of control over such an expanse of cords, wires and electrical equipment.


Rogue continues to push back at the demon horde with her water gun but she stops when they've gone past the edge of the lights that Lorna has up. She turns around then and glides through the air, raising up higher off the ground and speaking into her team comm unit. "How do get rid of these things perma-style?" She asks in her thickly accented voice. "Chasin'em around is fun'in all but we gotta stomp these buggers out, yo."

Rogue sets down on the edge of a building and she spies some movement in the darkness below her, she raises her gun up and just rains holy water down on the shadows beneath her with her water jug backpack just bubbling way on her back as she uses up more of her reservoir supply. "Ya'll need me somewhere, shout it out!" She adds over comms.


Sage rifled through the sectors in her mind. In one, she was tracking the approach of the creatures, marking the way they slithered and gathered along the sidewalk. In another, she sent out that psychic lure, trying to draw them down into a single clump that could be attacked on multiple sides. In yet another, she prepared the screens of her usually internal HUD, replicating them as white sheets of light, preparing to project them when she needed to. In yet another, she sensed for any remaining life that could possibly draw them away from where they were being herded. "Light seems to be the only thing that destroys them completely. The water is working, but there isn't enough of it, and we don't have any way to broadband it. We don't have any sort of fire suppression system in place, or access to the water lines that feed the fire hydrants."


As Marcos found himself on higher ground, he saw that mass of shadow slithering down the street. They were hopelessly outnumbered…but with the proper tools? Marcos can bring out the sun. Or rather, take its place for a few short moments. Channeling his strength into his hands, letting them glow with such intense light, Marcos would lift his hands up then bring them down, attempting to fire a massive blast of light onto the street below to cleanse it of those dark demons below.
Would it work?

After all, it would be extremely good to keep them clumped together so people like Marcos or Sage can take them out en masse.


The shadows roiled and rushed Sage's figure as she was both in the path of their fleeing Rogue's squirt gun o' doom, and a tempting target for the mass of shadows to roll over and consume. Marcos and Sage were at the end of the street that was clearly going to be ground zero for the shadow masses. The combination of plans from the group was coming together. And just in time too, as the shadows slid and slithered down the empty streets, towards Sage and Marcos, Lorna's powers finally broke.

Lights down the streets burned brightly, the grid flashed brightly all at once, lighting up nearly the whole of Mutant Town, and bursting street lamps, electrical sockets, and light bulbs inside the still standing houses. Sparks burned and fell in waves of green all along the road as Lorna's powers burned through what remained of the grid.

Which left the group once more in the grey half-light that had populated the area for the past few weeks. The shadows had arrived to surround and attack Sage just at the same time.


Rogue could hear the words over the comms and she reached behind her to tuck the rifle on her water-pack back into its housing on the side of the tank. "Not enough water, right," Rogue mutters then as she takes to the skies again and is soon to wrap her hands around the edge of a metal and wood billboard advertising the last Kenny Roger's Roasters in the NYC area… the poor sign isn't long for this world though as the southern bell tears it from its signposts and is now gliding along above the buildings and tracking the shadows down below. "Ya'll are doin' amazing, I'm seriously gonna put all of'ya in for raises after this!" She says to whoever can hear her.

"Lets see… right, there." Rogue quickly drops down out of the sky with the big billboard and lands right next to a yellow fire hydrant. "Action kick!" She shouts as her right boot snaps forward and kicks the cap off the hydrant side while swinging the billboard around to suddenly catch the BURST of water coming out of the hydrant…

She uses her immense strength to bend the sign and redirects the torrent of water AT the shadowy mass. "God bless you!" She shouts at the water, because she figures that makes it holy enough to work, after all, she paid $20 for her minister's license online, that's enough really, right?


Sage waited until the very last minute, eyes downcast, avoiding the explosions of light, and electricity and debris as Lorna burned out the grid in the area, driving the shadows towards her, as Marcos did the same, as Rogue rained (literally) down destruction on them, the water falling in a torrent around her. She waited, and then she activated her internal displays, as the demons surged onto her over her, setting the projections of her internal monitors to their full light capacity, squares of bright white exploding into the visual field, forming a dome around her. It was not sunlight, and it had no power to electrify any of the shadows, but it was a shield, that she hoped would at least keep the shadows off of her skin. She was pale, it was true. She had not really had a chance to get much sun in the last few months. But she wasn't quite ready to be p/paper// white.


Marcos keeps blasting that pure ray of photokinetic light, burning away any shadows and demons that come into his sight. He keeps firing until he seems to become tired, falling to a knee as he looks up to see his handiwork.

But more importantly, was Lorna okay?!

Marcos easily comes down from his higher altitude and starts running to the trio of women, his target being Lorna Sally Dane. Oh, hey Rogue. He gives her a little wave and passing with a "Hi Rogue, bye Rogue." to put icing on the cake.


The combination of Rogue, Marcos, and Sage's powers and efforts made quick work of the shadow horde. There was a loud and terrible shriek both telepathically and physically, as the shadows boiled and burned up, any remains that were left were washed away as the burst of water came flooding down the road immediately after.
The clothes and dried husks of those that had been attacked and left behind too, were wiped away. And as the waters drained, there was nothing left but pools of damp, road sand, and the gaggle of mutants still standing.

Lorna had landed, breathing hard at the side of the street, bent over as she rested her hands against her knees. Her eyes squeezed shut.


Rogue's head whips from one direction to the other as she watches a Marcos flash past her while she holds that sign in a way that directs the water where she needs it to go… But once she hears the sounds die down she removes the sign and dumps it off to the side with a loud thump as its deposited onto the ground. "Excellent," Rogue says with a satisfied grin on her red-hued lips.

She steps around the other side of the hydrant that is now just spilling its water into the street, her gloved hands are stuffed into her leather bomber jacket pockets and she starts to walk toward where Lorna is, but her eyes are where Sage is. "See?" She says. "All ya gotta do is bathe the little buggers and they just don't know WHAT t'do with themselves. I knew a guy who was the saaaame way. Smelly Pete, we called'im." She clears her throat then and mutters. "I think his name was actually Rick though…"


Sage rose, the projections flicking out around her in sequence, coming to her feet and straightening her coat. It was soaked, of course, but it seemed a fair price to have paid to not have demons eating her face. "Water does work wonders. Thank you, Minister." She removed her glasses, pulling a spare bit of dry cloth from her jacket to wipe them off, as she looked towards Lorna, tipping her head in Rogue's direction as she went over to see to the green-haired woman, who clearly looked exhausted, and then Marcos as he dashed in.

Marcos seems to pause once he had reached Lorna, kneeling down in front of her as he looks her in the eyes…or tries to. "You alright?" is all Marcos can manage to choke out. It had been a hard, long few weeks for the married pair. Eventually, though, Marcos attempted to help her back to her feet.

"Come on, on your feet."


Exhaustion tugged at Lorna's frame, she hadn't poured that much power out at that rate over such a distance in recent memory. Sure, she'd fought, held immeasurably heavy objects up and thrown cars around. Built a metal reinforced base.. but hadn't stretched herself quite so much in a long while. It was like running a marathon without properly stretching. Everything was just a little too raw. A little too sore.

Then Marcos was there, his gaze catching her own as he righted her, and she felt her body sag unwilling against him. She tried to wave him off, "..Just tired.. 'm fine. Let me go." She muttered, her voice low.


Rogue nods once toward Sage's direction and offers the other a grin when she's referred to as a minister, it seems to amuse her to get called that… but hey, she paid twenty whole dollars to earn it! She sweeps her sunglasses-covered-gaze over to Lorna and Marcos then and smiles at the both of them.

"Good stuff, team." She announces, her gaze sweeping around the area than which is afforded a heavy sigh. "Seems a little less creepy here, I mean this place is naturally creepy by its very nature, but it's a 'little' better at least for now." She looks back to her companions then.

"I'm gonna shoot back over to that community center and see if I can't get a refill, maybe head back out and spray'n'punch my way t'some more glory. You guys good? Yeah? Sweet." She raises her dark eyebrows up after asking that question, then nods once and turns around to start walking, which will eventually lead to gliding airborne-style again.


Sage lifted a hand, bidding a silent farewell to Rogue, her words coming after, as she slipped her glasses back on. "I will be here if you need me. I still have some cataloging to do." As she approached the pair remaining, she offered Lorna an arm, to help her rise back to her feet, questing for, calling to the bodyguards who had gone off, who knows where. 'Come. You are needed.' And then, back to Lorna, "We should get you back to safety. You need rest." And to Marcos, "Thank you for your help."


Even as Marcos witnesses Lorna's body sag unwillingly against him, he wraps an arm around her shoulder, looking to Sage. "Don't mention it." Though, whether Lorna likes it or not, Marcos picks her up into his arms as if he intended to carry her to safety. Looking to Rogue and Sage, he nods.

"Lead the way."


The two bodyguards weren't far off, just down the road, as the two came running down the rest of the way from where the group had started. They'd clearly been on their way when Sage's telepathic call had gone out, and they arrived, looking at Lorna's exhausted frame in a stunned manner as she was scooped up by her husband to riotous complaints. The green haired mutant tiredly pushed at Marcos' shoulder, her features twisting into a scowl.

"Put me down! I can walk damn it!" Sage's offered hand would've been taken, had Marcos not picked her up into his arms without so much as a by your leave.

The two bodyguards looked on, awkwardly, but moved to flank out the street as the group headed back toward the Community Center that served as a base. After all, Lorna hadn't wanted to talk about Marcos, hadn't informed anyone in the Brotherhood nor even her father, that she'd intended things to be over for the two of them. After all, she had had other things on her mind. Such as her family, her brother's disappearance, and her sister's safety. Plus that whole demon invasion thing.

And there was, of course, the added fear that if she told her father that Marcos sought to find Dawn, their daughter… he would all too quickly become her late husband.

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