A Daring Rescue!

December 19, 2018:

The X-men arrive to save Marcos and Lorna from the compound in Colombia.

Colombia

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The cortex from the robot octopus, octo-bot, held in tons of encrypted data. Including, the location of where it was made and where the last orders came from. It took a while, but the X-men that had made it to Bogota, Colombia had a location. It was a few hours drive out into the Parque Nacional, Chingaza, or Chingaza National Park into the deep mountains. It came up as part of the eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes, northeast of Bogota proper.

There were no towns, no cities, and beyond the large sweep of trees, mountains and glacial lakes.. seemed to be nothing else out there.

Of course, the X-men knew better. They had the technology, the power sets, and the coordinates that proved otherwise. Whether it was by Blackbird or teleport, the gathered X-men came to a wide open field, surrounded by tall trees and a tiny pond. A mountain stood tall and shrouded by mist just beyond and was reflected in the water's glimmering stillness.

Yet there were signs of human habitation when one looked closer beyond the expected tracks of would be hikers or tourists.

The grass was matted down into a beaten path, going to and from one patch of gravel to another on opposite sides of the idyllic pond. To the telepaths there was a haze of minds, several human minds… below.

*

Illyana has stepped back into her accustomed role as the X-Men's taxi service. She missed Nate and Rogue's altercation with the robot octopus - and Nate had to explain that one at least twice before she believed it - but she was still the quickest way to get the salvaged cortex back to the Institute, and to Sage.

And once Sage had worked her particular brand of data-recovery magic, she was definitely the quickest way to deliver reinforcements.

For this journey, the stop off in Limbo lasted less than the blink of an eye. One moment the X-Men were in Westchester, the next, a field in Columbia. As the glow from the stepping disc fades away, Illyana tugs absently at the collar of her uniform's jacket. It's the same, she's the same, it shouldn't be uncomfortable. But somehow it is.

"Welcome to Columbia, X-Men…" She says, to cover her disquiet, smirking a bit as she leaves the last bit unsaid.

*

Nate was ready to try to track down Lorna telepathically, although it would have meant to wander around the National Park for a while, and likely it might have led to the Genoshans finding him before he found them.

Maybe not. Given the park is probably fairly empty of human presence finding a bunch of human bigots would have been simple. Unless they used anti-psi technology, of course. And who doesn't nowadays?

But it wasn't necessary. Thanks to Sage cybernetic wizardry the X-Men know exactly where the ex-Magistrates are hiding. "Thanks Illy. Watch out for more roboctopus," he offers.

*

Marcos Diaz was in bad shape. He's currently in a cell with no sunlight IN ADDITION to having a power dampening mutant collar around his neck.

He lies down on the ground, clearly in pain from whatever has been happening to him. He muttering something though..and if any telepaths try to find Marcos, it'd be hazy and hurt.

*

"X-men plus one." Sage's voice was its usual deadpan, as she stepped off of the disc, seeming to show no reaction to the quick trip into Limbo, or out of it. She was dressed in her usual all-black. She, not being a member of the X-Men, something Scott was very clear to reinforce with her the last time she saw him, and being the one most likely to be able to infiltrate the base as someone not associated, she simply dressed, as she always did, for ease of movement, though she had ditched the leather duster. A pair of guns, two full packs of spare magazines, one on each thigh, and the rest of her usual gear. "Give me a few moments to infiltrate their satellite system and security feeds and I'll put a masking program in place to scrub our approach from their systems."

*

"Welcome to Colombia," one of the Cuckoos repeats back. "There's a drug war going on, but when isn't there? The fighting shouldn't come close enough to interfere with our plans, but we probably don't want to stick around for long."

"Unless someone wants to buy drugs," one of the other Cuckoos adds, staring out with ice blue eyes at their surroundings. She laces her fingers together behind her back and takes a deep breath.

"Either way, kids, we're not in Kansas anymore," the blondes conclude as one. Each is wearing some chic approximation of jungle survival wear, with carefully fitting cargo pants light shirts with long sleeves and buttons down the front. Somehow, they found the time to visit a designer outfitter for would be survivalists. "Is everyone ready to get into trouble?"

*

Quite suddenly, the ground beneath their feet shuddered. A deep thrumming sound following and the gravely patches near the pond rumbled violently. An electronic sounding humming followed and with a loud sound, the ground opened up. Two large metal doors pealed open beneath the gravel, sending it scattering below to what looked like a hangar beneath the X-men, plus one. It would seem that approach wasn't going to be an issue.

They were quite literally, on top of the Genoshan Magistrate's base.

A jeep came roaring up from the path below, black and heavily armored. Several men in some kind of military uniform could be seen from the outside. They were blasting music, loud and obnoxious. Clearly, they hadn't been alerted to the would be intruders outside. They were on another mission.

*

"I still don't believe it was a robot octopus, Nate." Illyana tells him sniffily. "But I'll keep an eye out. You know how well they blend in with trees and grass." He gets a too-sweet smile, too. It's expected.

Taking a couple of steps toward the pond, so the group isn't such an easy, bunched-up target, Illyana's eyes nevertheless sweep the tree-line. Just because she's making fun of Nate is no reason not to be cautious. When Sage chips in, Illyana glances back at their 'plus one'. "They let me back in. What did you do?" She asks, sounding genuinely curious.

The sudden rumbling underfoot prompts Illyana to stop being a brat. At least temporarily. As the doors split open, Illyana turns quickly to Nate, suddenly all business. "Pull back or take them?" She asks, a glowing circle already appearing at her feet.

*

"The sort of wetwork Xavier needed done, that he would never let his X-Men do." When the exit door opened, Sage moved, trusting that the others would see to their own safety, as she ducked into the trees and brush that ringed the perimeter. The clinical tone of her voice cut into the comms the team had been outfitted with, "The security system has been modified. I am tracking the jeep's movements. I will sound the alert if they should head back before we are finished in the base. But if we take them out now, and they miss whatever mission they are supposed to be on, that may summon more of their ilk than we want to deal with."

*

"Missing is bad. But… They're not expecting to see anyone," one of the blondes replies thoughtfully.

"I don't think they're focused on anything in particular. They've got business elsewhere."

"Alright, then we'll just let them pass by?"

The five of them take a deep breath, gazes fixedly locked to the approaching jeep. "Just let them drive pass. They won't see anything unexpected," the girls suggest in their detached unison voices as they stare at the vehicle with cold eyes. "You can take them out if you're feeling bloodthirsty."

It isn't too hard to encourage people to see what they expect. In this case, nothing. All they need is a small mental nudge to focus on their music and the job at hand. Probably.

*

"I'd say we take them out," pipes Nate. No reason to let them join whatever other enemies they have inside. Oh, maybe they could take them out stealthy-like and get inside… nah.

Complex plans only work if they are built with a ton of contingencies. Scott can do that. He thinks Illyana can do that, but she is not herself. Brat indeed. At least her snark is mostly back. "Maybe port them to somewhere unpleasant but not deadly, I suppose. As for the rest… I will take point until Rogue gets back." He is heading inside.

*

The jeep continued to race down the forested track of mountain paths and roads, music blaring and those inside unaware of who lingered in the trees around their secret mountain base. The Genoshans that drove, never knew how close they were to the X-men, and whatever job they headed for. The entrance to the base began to groan with a metallic sound and slide shut, and if the group was quick enough, they'd be able to slip inside without any further issue.

the gravel vibrated from the mechanical engines that closed the doors shut. The path inside leading down in a long sloping, concrete ramp that emptied out into a hangar of sorts. There were other armored vehicles, a helicopter or two, and a few 'normal' looking cars to boot. Ones that wouldn't look out of place on a country road or even in the city a few hours away.

Thanks to Sage manipulating security alarms didn't blare. No sirens went off. At least… not yet. It was silent on this level of the base. And save the flood lights that kept the area in a dim red light, it was dark.

*

"I am monitoring the security systems, and inserting false IDs as needed to fool the biometric sensors they have in place. We should proceed as quickly as possible. I will make adjustments on the fly as needed. I am also scanning the base's computer system to triangulate the locations of our missing comrades." Sometimes, multi-tasking was a handy thing to have, "and monitoring their camera system to track the movements of current base personnel." Technology was a handy tool, but with the right push, it could be entirely hijacked. "We need to move quickly, as we do not know their current condition."

*

Nate hrms, good thinking by Sage's direction. « Okay, I am going to mindlink us all. We need to work together or this is going to be a mess. I am also going to scan the complex and see who is there. Sage? Can you track down Lorna and Marcos »

Nate is moving quickly now, as Sage suggested. Past the hangar. « Take Illy with you if you will, she can teleport them out if they are hurt. We need to know what else they have here, too » He will leave that to the Cuckoos and some coordinated mind-reading. He is a bit surprised about the size of this 'secret base' either Genosha had a hideout here already for some no good reason or these Magistrates have been doing some serious work.

*

Newest of new, rookiest of rookies, Neon was here. She'd fought demons, monsters and other threats since her arrival to the mansion, but only recently had she been let in on the secret of Xavier's…and felt rather annoyied she'd never known about the freaking plane that came out of the basketball court. She'd been here, but she'd been unseen so far and unknown beyond the slight chill of the air. With a shimmer of the air, the coldlight mutant's presense is revealed to the team. Mute as she is, the young woman simply raises a hand.

*

The glow at Illyana's feet persists for a moment, then winks out as the Cuckoos mess with the Magistrates' perceptions. "Sounds like you're outvoted." Illyana tells Nate, with a shrug. "But I'll see what I can do if they come back." Running a rescue mission by committee isn't ideal, but they'll just have to make do.

A flash of light and she's gone, teleporting closer to the doors to catch up with Nate, and slipping in behind him. She feels a familiar pressure against the shields around her mind and, reluctantly as always, lets Nate in just enough to allow communication. « Understood. » She replies shortly, moving to shadow Sage.

*

The complex was older than what the fall of Genosha would suggest. The concrete, the computer systems, the wiring. It was all older. Possibly by a decade older. The Magistrates clearly had settled in and updated the existing place and tech however. Sage would find a complicated computer systems in place, much like those that had existed on Genosha before the country fell. In the systems were multiple labs below, and data on several publicly known mutants. Including those X-men that were 'out'.

There were several 'cells' filled with mutants besides Marcos and Lorna. However, given that she was looking for those two specifically, she was able to find their information. One was Marcos, in a cell near a lab. There were extensive files on him, blood work, and reports that indicated he'd suffered a multitude of experimental procedures.

As for Lorna..? She was in the 'process' of being 'transferred'. It would seem that the Magistrates had been given a large sum of funds in return for the Daughter of Magneto. Opposite of where Marcos was.

There were a large number of robotics labs, and Sentinel like robots in storage. All ready and waiting for attack. For now however, the X-men were undetected.

*

«Yes, I can track them», Sage sent to the group mind. Bloodhounding was a skill, and Sage only glanced back to Illyana to see that the blonde mutant had fallen into step with her. She did not hesitate to leave the group, drawing both of hr guns and setting to the task as she began to move out of the hangar and along the route that would afford them the path of least resistance as she sought for the minds of Lorna and Marcos, and made use of the security systems and base plans to thread the needle to find the right path through the maze as it were, using their telepathic signatures as one would a trail of breadcrumbs.

*

Nate slows down as the flood of information reaches his mind. Well, damn. Genosha has been here for a while, and now he has to wonder if they did have stuff like this in other places too. The lab in the Antarctic. The raids in East Africa, also from hidden bases. Now this thing in Colombia.

Too much foresight. « We are missing something - after this we better go talk with… well, Lorna should talk with the Magistrates that stayed in Genosha. For now we are going to raze this place. Also provide a good distraction for Sage and Magik to get Lorna, Marcos and those mutants prisoners out of here »

Which means, well, getting as close as possible to the center of operations and then… Blow up the doors. Which is what he does.

*

Silent still, the 'ice-cream' colored Neon blinks a little at the mental connection. This was new to someone who'd grown used to talking with sign-language and the use of notes. She's stunned enough that she still doesn't 'speak' for a moment, but the young woman moves up behind Sage. She was after all, the person Neon knew a little better even if she wasn't officially an X-man. She wasn't exactly used to missions, but she could happily work as a 'gun' for if the rescue goes a little sideways. «This is…strange…» she finally communicates, «But I think we can break things easily enough.»

*

Illyana follows Sage's lead, not close enough to crowd her, and she makes a credible job of keeping her steps silent. Unlike Sage, her hands are empty - but not idle. Eyes narrowed with concentration, she sketches a complex series of gestures in the air. There's a flicker of witch-light around her fingertips, and she frowns. The spell of concealment was harder than it should have been - she's still not quite back to her old self - and it'll break down if they draw too much attention, too obviously - but it should make a first, or even second glance skip past them.

Of course, when the whole place shakes from Nate making a mess of the doors, maybe her effort wasn't really needed. « All your plans are the same, Nate. » She thinks at him. « We're going to have to do this fast. Nate's very good at drawing attention and very bad at not getting shot. »

*

Sage worked as she moved, not bothering with the comms, as those would require vocalization, but speaking into the group mind. «Eclipse is in place. I have his location. He's down, but alive. Lorna is on the move, so we need to get to her first, Magik.» It's all code names all the time, apparently, as Sage turned, heading down a corridor that would allow them to intercept the team moving Lorna. «I am loading a virus into their system which will corrupt the data files they have on the X-Men and the other mutants they have been monitoring and experimenting on. There are a number of Sentinels in place. I am attempting to infiltrate their security subroutines, to slave them into my system, or if I cannot do that, to try to keep them off-line." Whether or not she would manage it, well, that would remain to be seen. As for the other mutants in captivity, they were not her problem at the moment. She did slow long enough to allow Neon to catch up with herself and Illyana. «Takes some getting used to, I know, Ne.» Which was about as comforting as Sage ever got. «Can you extend your cloaking ability to cover the two of us if we need it?» Illyana was doing the cloaking now, of course, but if she were otherwise occupied, it was good to know they might have a backup. «I'm sure we can find someone to bring him back from the dead.» And this, ladies and gents, is why she's the +1.

*

The plan that Nate had to split up was easily done with the mind-links and with how deep into the computer systems Sage was. The group of ladies went down the halls, quickly finding the concrete and dark lights giving way to hospital like quality decore. White walls, white floors, and white lights above. The hall was wide enough for a gurney to pass through with ease, and they passed a few doors on their way.

Most were solid and had no views inside. Likely locked. None held the mutants they were looking for.

The sub routines that Sage implemented worked, at least for now. The files quickly became corrupted as the viruses uploaded and went to work instantly. At the very least, the Sentinels didn't wake up instantly, and the ladies had a clear shot to the hall where Lorna was being 'transferred'.

Meanwhile, Nate continued his own path to the heart of the compound. It was deeper, down several levels. He had the chance to take the stairs or the elevator if he wanted to be subtle.. Of course, that always risked him running foul of something else, or someone else. Time was ticking, and Marcos and the other prisoners were still on the opposite side of the compound to Lorna.

They would have to move quickly.

*

«I can but it can be uncomfortable for people who don't like the cold,» Ne answers, still looking a little nervous of herself. It wasn't that she was on edge with the mission, as expected as that might be, but instead that she was being 'heard' so easily. A shake of her head, she had to focus for now on the task at hand. Creeping along behind the others, her two-toned hair was pinned back behind her head and her equally mismatched eyes sweep their path going forwards. «How are we going to get all these people out of here?»

*

At one point they pass a room with a couple of people. One o the Cuckoos peels off and comes to lean casually against the doorframe, looking in at them. Eyes shif tto her as people begin to stare.

"You'd better hurry," the girl begins conversationally. "Don't you see what he's doing? He's planning to shoot you. He's an enemy agent." Two of the men look at eahother in confusion. One of them reaches for his gun.

"Wait! Miguel, what are you doing? I…" Toward the back of the room a fist fight suddenly breaks out. This is accompanied by shouts in other areas of the complex. Gunfire. Panicking people running out into the halls- and right past another of the Cuckoos.

Three of the girls continue on after Nate. Their sisters are busy fomenting chaos.

*

« You are just annoyed because you are not in the wrecking crew team, Illy » projects Nate into the mind-link. « And you could have, all you needed to do it say 'I am in charge and I have a plan' » His plan is usually the same every time, it is true.

« Illy is a teleporter » he notes for Neon. Then pauses a few seconds to give the young woman a rundown of the group abilities through telepathic brain dump. « If you are here I guess you have access to the files on the X-Men, you gotta read those. And also those on the usual suspects. Like these Genoshans »

Stair or elevator. See, the elevator is easy to wreck, a telekinetic blast takes cares of it. So that leaves the stairs, and if some Magistrates meet them halfway, all the better.

*

« I might be able to do it, but you probably wouldn't like what came back. » Illyana replies thoughtfully, as if discussing necromancy was a topic for run of the mill conversation. Maybe she's just impressed with Sage's lack of sentiment when it comes to Nate's wellbeing. Or maybe that's her way of getting back at him for the none-too-subtle dig that she could have taken charge. It's not the first time she's been part of a mission involving rescuing Lorna from Genoshans, after all.

« Cold's better than dead. » Illyana doesn't look back as she replies to Neon. « Lorna and Marcos first. » Illyana puts in after Nate's filled their newest recruit in. « After that… we'll do what we can. »

*

«Magik can handle getting the people out.» The way Sage spoke, there was no expectation of great deeds. She simply believed that the woman could and would do what was necessary. «If the alternative is death, I think they would rather risk a bit of frostbite.» Sage picked up the pace, moving to intercept the men, or women, she was equal opportunity, who were moving Lorna, her mind already calculating the necessary attack vectors to take out the enemy forces with the minimal number of rounds required. «I have a backup of the files from before I infected them.» She did not pause to see if the other two women were behind her, she simply moved, guns raised. She did not, however, shoot first and ask questions later. Instead, she focused her will, sending a psionic blast at the people around the stretcher, the intent to catch them unawares, and blast them away from Lorna before she went full John Wick on their asses.

*

Neon herself simply nods at the advice, more a habbit rather than any thought it would help communicate she understood. New to the team and already she was getting homework too! She'd dwell on that later, or the moment she widens her eyes at Sage's emerging and immediate lethal force…that doesn't come immediately. Huh…she really should read up on the others powers. For a moment her own hands glow with the pink and violet lights of her namesake, ready to send a coldlight bolt at anyone who hadn't been put out by that first suprise attack from Sage.

*

Many things happened throughout the complex at once. The Cuckoos set a panic among several lab workers, gun shots ringing out through the halls followed by the alarms being activated by several of the newly fearful and panic struck workers. Screams. Chaos. Lights flashed and emergency protocols were rapidly enacted by screaming, panic filled people. Throughout the complex steel doors slammed down over secure areas. A mechanical voice echoed through the halls telling everyone to exit calmly and carefully.

Nate would find the stairwells suddenly choked full of fearful people trying to push and shove their way passed him and away. But at least none of them seemed to stop to try to engage him in combat. At least, not these ones. The Cuckoos had done a good job at sowing chaos.

Sage's psionic blast hit most of those wheeling Lorna down the hallway. But one was either lucky enough, or had the tech set up to fight against it getting knocked over by her blast. This one was military built, dressed, and drew a gun to fire back at their would be attacker. Lorna's gurney continued to roll down the hall a few feet, sliding to a rest against the wall with a bump and beep of medical instruments that were hooked up to her.

*

« I will do my own resurrections, you witches, thankyouverymuch » because if you can make jokes about it, it means you are probably feeling okay.

About dying and coming back, that is.

Gallows humor. Probably too much information for Neon's first day.

The crowd of fleeing technicians makes him smile, and hurry up. These people probably need to be in jail, but since they are not shooting at them they will have to wait their turn. The alarms blaring means the real threats must be getting their guns, and activating their killer robots, which might look like octopuses. "Get ready," he says to his companions out loud. "We are hitting resistance in seconds."

*

When Sage's psi-blast hits, sending most of Lorna's guards sprawling, Illyana takes a long step to one side, flanking Sage and half a step back, keeping out of her way - and more importantly, her line of fire. As the military man draws his weapon, Illyana just smiles - and a glowing portal appears on the floor at the man's feet.

Finding himself standing on so much thin air, the man drops through, and the portal snaps shut as soon as he's completely vanished. « You missed one. » Illyana tells Sage, pleasantly. « If any of the others get up, shoot them for me, OK? » Without waiting for a reply, Illyana vanishes in a flash of light, reappearing next to Lorna's gurney. "Well, you've looked better, but you've seen me looking worse." She says under her breath as she takes in the bandages on Lorna's body. Her head comes back up, eyes flicking back to Sage. « She's wearing a collar. I can't tell if it's the sort that'll blow her head off if I port her out. »

*

Sage had one advantage that usually carried her over in most situations. She never assumed that anything would go exactly to plan. And when she managed to take down the ones she had blasted, quick and dirty with a round to the back of each skull, she pushed herself into overdrive. A computer mind, excellent tactical probability screening and total body control made her reactions very much like the machine many believed her to be as she swept to the side to avoid the incoming round, still firing, as she tried to take down the final opponent. Unlike many of the X-Men, Sage has no qualms about leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. But then Magik did what she did best, and her opponent fell through a portal into, well, some version of hell, one would imagine, and Sage nodded, as she approached. «Everyone has an off day.» There was something very much like humour in Sage's mental voice. She did not waste bullets on those whose minds were gone, taken by death. Any that seemed as though they were still hanging on, got a second round in the back of the head as she headed for Lorna. «Let me get a look at it.» And so she would, analyzing the collar, looking for its breaking point, all the while searching for the deactivation code in the base's subroutines.

*

Neon wasn't a stranger to death, she'd killed when she'd needed to and her life before the mansion wasn't the nicest. But flash-frozen bodies were a little cleaner and it was a bit different to see someone casually double-tapping the unconscious and defeated foes. Her hand actually comes to her mouth for a moment before she fights down the reflex to lose her lunch at the sight of the mess each show would have left. Focus Ne. «Bombs are usually frozen to disable the timers right? If it could help, or buy a second or two before it can process it's been removed, you could dump it down one of those portals?» It's a suggestion given, but even so as the others work out what they're going to do with Lorna, the mute girl steps past the pair with her form glowing and hands raised, ready to blast any who might discover their rescue.

*

Nate wasn't wrong, as people panicked and those in the lower levels checked what exactly *was* going on, they found their systems compromised and intruders on several levels. Manual overrides were put into action by those not yet gone mad by the Cuckoo's telepathic manipulations. Octo-bots, this base's unique re-creation of a city based Sentinel, were released. Nate was the first to find them, a group of half a dozen crawled along the stairs after the people had fled, as he came around the lower levels nearest to the command center.

They crawled down the walls, the ceiling and the floors with mechanical hisses.

It would take longer to reach Sage and the other group.

However.. there were those other locked rooms just down the hall. The doors swung open. And sounds could be heard from within. Some shuffling. Some mechanical in nature, metal against concrete. Others the sounds of slithering.

The collar around Lorna's neck did not have an explosive device. They'd been prepared to transfer her after all, and having it programmed to blow when she left would simply not do. It was however, higher powered than the usual collars. They'd tried to create something that could hold her powers in check, and it was clear by the extra power cells hooked into the base of the hospital type bed, they were still working on it.

Another reason why she was clearly drugged. The action going on around her had her eyelids fluttering open and closed briefly, dazed and confused, unaware of her surroundings or what was going on. Her mind sluggish. Worse than any state of drunkeness the greenette had ever self inflicted.

*

There they come, and Nate jumps forward, sending a wave of telekinetic force towards the octobots to keep them away from the Cuckoos. « See? Octopus robots. Do you want one for Christmas, Illy? »

Kidding, she is still in the naughty list (forever). Maybe.

Octobots are very interesting. And destroying them might save lives later, but the masterminds behind this mini-Genosha must be somewhere. « Esme, find me the boss, please » the sends through the mindlink.

*

Sage bent down, examining the collar, accessing its system as best she could. "There's no bomb built in, but the power cells need to be deactivated." Sage was, indeed, a computer supergenius, but this was very much, in many ways, an analog system. "We're going to have to move quickly, or we'll risk damaging her skin. Neon, freeze the cells there," Sage pointed to the gurney, and the power supplies there, "Once they're frozen, we'll see if we can blast the collar open. How good are you at surgery?" Sage indicated the connection point for the collar. Yes, she had switched to speech, "I think it's going to need a very focused blast." The reason for her dipping out of the group mind, leaving just a toe in the stream was evident, at least to Lorna, in her state, if to no one else. «Lorna. It's Sage. We're here, we've got you. Illyana and Neon and I have you, I need you to stay calm, we're getting you home.»

*

Illyana doesn't bat an eyelid when Sage ensures that the guards are staying down… permanently. Neon's not getting an introduction to the kinder, gentler side of Xavier's Dream with these two. « All yours. » Illyana confirms, stepping back to get out of Sage's way and let her examine the collar. She hesitates a moment, looking down at Lorna as she struggles for consciousness. « If she can be moved, I might be able to purge whatever's in her system if I take her to Limbo. But it wouldn't be pleasant. » She leaves that on the table, turning away to guard the corridor - and honestly a little surprised to see Neon already in place. She steps up beside the younger woman. « I could make it reappear somewhere nasty, too. » She confirms, but then Sage spoils their fun by confirming there aren't any explosives in play, after all.

Illyana's about to say as much, then cocks her head, expression tightening. She can hear the unnatural sounds approaching them. When Sage calls for Neon, Illyana stays where she is, blocking the corridor. And finally, she reaches for the Soulsword, the blade suddenly shining silver in her hand.

« We've got something… different. » She thinks back at Nate, her mental tone all the more ominous for the lack of answering banter. « I'm going to need a decision soon on who and what we're pulling out of this place. » She adds in a warning tone.

*

Instruction given and a lack of explosives noted, Neon moves to kneel by the power cells and place her hands over them. Focusing the flow of her powers to ensure she doesn't go freeing more than just the power cells, the rookie mutant's lights that make up her namesake swirl around the power cells before they were snapped out of functioning and into little more than extremely frosted craking metal. Surgery? Well, she could make it work. A -very- focused blast. «Just remove it quick when I do. It's going to be -really- cold against her skin and could hurt her if it stays for longer than even a couple of seconds.» With that, she stands and gently focuses her attention to a single finger, gently pressing the glowing digit to the metal collar.

*

Sage nodded, as she listened to Neon's instruction, wiggling a hand in between the place Neon would be opening and Lorna's neck, so that any damage the cold would cause would hit her, before it hit the green-haired mutant. "I can manage the cold. Just get her out of here, and then we get Eclipse. If the rest have to fend for themselves, so be it." And then she waited for the blast of cold, jaw tightening as she deadened the nerves in her hand, allowing herself to ignore the frostbite that coated the back of her hand and used the other to slip off the collar, "Get her to Limbo. it will not be pleasant, but she'll hate being drugged more." A glance to Neon, "Now we get Eclipse. If we don't get him out, she'll fry us all."

*

The collar slipped off easily under Neon's careful control of her powers. The extra power cells cutting off and shutting off the main power connectors. All which fell off with a sharp slice of reinforced plastic components and the alike. The Magistrates that had designed the collar had clearly been more fearful of Lorna's powers and keeping those subdued than they had been about her physical ability to get up and fight. After all the green haired woman was heavily sedated and bound by lengths of plastic straps to a hospital bed. She wasn't capable of physically moving anywhere.. Of course.. they had to keep upping the drugs every day as her body metabolized each at a faster than human rate. A side effect of her mutant genome that they hadn't planned for.

Sage's words stirred against Lorna's sluggish mind, a loopy, drug addled haze covered everything. She wasn't going to be responding any time soon. A portal to Limbo would be the kindest thing for the woman, and likely the safest at the moment. Particularly with things stirring down the hallway. The flashing strobe of alarms and the voice of 'Please exit calmly in an orderly fashion' echoed down the hallways.

Nate's telekinetic push shoved the octo-bots away from the Cuckoos, but they bounced, rolled, tentacle like legs shortening and lengthening to boost their metal bodies into a control fall back rather than an out of control spin. These ones were better programmed than the one left in the burned out remains of Marcos' house.

*

Sage gave only the briefest nod, as she saw Illyana extract Lorna from the base, turning to Neon, as she moved to the opened cells on either side of them, "We need to move for Eclipse, but if these are mutants, we'll need to extract them as well. The exit doors are already open, you can lead them out if we need to."

Except that they didn't. Sage took a precious thirty seconds or so to genetically scan the people, many of whom were still cowering in their cells, reading their markers, her mind racing as she noted the changes which had been applied to depower them. The sound of the approaching enemy was almost on them, when she returned from the cell she had been crouching in, her eyes still flaring with that odd blue light, "Slaughterhouse work. Let's move. Freeze anything that gets in our way, as cold as you can, I'll shatter the bodies." They might be human, monster, or metal, she did not know. But a bullet to a frozen enemy would still work. Sage tightened her grip on her guns, ignoring the damaged flesh on her left hand. And then she moved, attempting to follow the quickest path towards Marcos. «Scion, Illyana's taken Lorna. We're heading for Eclipse. Get ready to call her back once we've got him.» Here's to hoping Nate's telepathy was strong enough to reach Illyana wherever she was. Sage's wasn't.

*

Nate might have expected some more damage to the octo-robots from his telekinetic attack, but at least he gave the Cuckoos some space. And instead of waiting for them to return he flies forward, a telekinetic force blast surging from his left eye to hit the robot that recovered faster. Full power, as he needs to reduce the number of enemies as quickly as possible, so no one passes by him.

« I heard that! » He sends when Illyana mentions him about dying. But the sorceress is gone. To Limbo, breaking the mind-link. « It happened once and I hear no end of it » he protests, shifting to shielding from the robots attacks while he gathers energy for another blast.

*

Marcos was starting to stir in his cell, hearing all the commotion outside and the loud noises of both combat and shouting and orders being given. He brings himself back to his feet and starts pounding his hands against the wall. They arn't wild like probably some of the other mutant prisoners, but his has a rhythm.

Bang…Bang bang. Bang….bang bang.

He felt too weak to scream. No sunlight. He looks around though, as if trying to find some other way he hasn't tried yet to get the door open. Since, like Lorna, he was also likely being prepped for shipment.

*

The portal closed and the light faded. Lorna and Illyana were gone from the compound. Lights still flashed, the voice from the intercoms that had told workers to leave had cut out. The Cuckoos had caused a localized panic and it had continued with through most of the base's levels. But someone was in the command center. Someone that had shielding against telepaths and the alike. And they had sent the Octo-bots to attack.

Nate's push ripped through metal and left a trail of metallic tentacles in his wake. The robots lay twitching and beeping on the floor. A few of the robot parts started to wriggle and move, as if they were attempting to knit themselves back together in some strange way. Yet it was slow, and it wasn't going to happen immediately. The path before Nate was clear.

Sage and Neon were left before a hallway of shuffling, of groaning and whimpering forms as the creatures that had once been mutants stumbled through their doors and into the hallway. One that came out nearest to the ladies looked to have once been a mutant with bright yellow skin.. However, metal parts had replaced part of their face, brain, arm, and legs. All of which looked to be parts of a Sentinel, and crude additions to the mutant that looked to barely be alive. It shuffled, a Sentinel eye scanned over the hall, and a metallic click echoed. "Engage. Engage." Came the voice, before it launched itself, faster than it should be able to move, at Sage and Neon with a strangled, choked scream ripping from its throat.

*

A muffled sound of more thudding, more banging can be heard in the backdrop, its hard to place exactly where its coming from but its definitely getting loud and faster in its pounding presence, to the point where it sounds like its right behind a wall not far from where Sage and Neon are… and their Sentinel-mutate friend.

That very same wall comes to suddenly be smashed inward, with rocks, debris, dust and dirt billowing out in a heavy cloud that floats away from whatever just busted through that wall…

A woman, in green and gold. She shakes her two-toned hair out and reaches a gloved hand up to brush through her now-wild mess of hair, stroking some of the white bangs back over her head. She looks right at the Sentinel repeating that 'Engage' over and over.

"Typical, clueless man… Ya gotta put a ring on it first, Sugah. Don't ya know how this shit works?" And with that quip fired of, Rogue leans forward and she flies right at the construct with both of her gloved fists aimed at its head!

*

'I'm sorry,' should have been the words out of Sage's mouth, possibly would have been the words out of anyone else's mouth. Sage, however, did not speak, as she processed the creature before her, moving to intercept it, leaving Neon enough room to freeze the creature if she could. A background process popped up in her head, shutting down her pain receptors, as she launched herself towards the human/sentinel hybrid, sending a psionic blast at the women/machine as she had the guards around Lorna, gun raised to fire shots into its head. If Neon managed to freeze it, with any luck the metal would be cold enough to shatter under the impact, adding shrapnel to the bone fragments that the rounds aimed at the things head would cause.

Once again, however, Lady Fortune seemed to favour its least favourite daughter, as Rogue Kool-Aid Man smashed her way through the wall, and Sage jerked hard to the side to get out of Rogue's way, spinning around, "Nice to see you, Rogue," she managed, as she swung around to change her trajectory, calling to Neon, "This way!" As she moved, she switched out one of her guns, the one in her damaged hand for what looked like the sort of industrial strength flashlight security guards carried, rushing down the hall towards the cell the Morse code Marcos had been banging out identified as his. She switched the light on as they ran the last of the distance, the light warm, and almost alive after the stark industrial illumination of the base's lights.

*

As first missions go? This was probably a little on the traumatic side. Demons, monsters and even a rampaging Hulk she'd seen, but these once-mutant turned cybernetic zombies were…something else. One might even swear they heard a gasp of horror from the mute girl before she lifts her hands and a blinding flast fills the area, intense enough that even Sage would have to close her eyes. With that startled outburst of power she'd almost certainly frozen the Sen-tate zombie…along with sections of the wall and floor immediately around them. Opening her own eyes, the younger mutant looks like she wants to apologise, but there's no time and Rogue's sudden and dramatic arrival is enough to move her focus back to the now.

With a silent nod and a mental «Sorry» she fell into step behind Sage.

*

Looks like these robots are not as tough as the first one Rogue fought, despite being more agile. Nate makes sure the cpus are properly crushed before continuing down the hallways. No self-repairing, robotopuses.

« Any luck with the Magistrate leaders » he sends through the mindlink, although the question is mostly for the Cuckoos. Sage is busy rescuing people, or putting them out of their misery. « We gotta call SHIELD after we finish here - I don't trust the local authorities after seeing the lack of cops in Marcos' place and now this huge complex. Locals have to know it is here and they covered up. »

*

The bulk of the muscle arrived with Rogue's smashing through the walls. The Sentinel-mutant-hybrid had little chance. Sinews snapped, muscles broke, and bones were shattered in the blasts and punches aimed at the creature. A feral, broken grin twisted the lips that remained as it fell backward onto the floor. Others came charging, limping toward the women. But many were slowed by Neon's icy aura.

Further down the hall the group got, the more they could hear Marcos' pounding on his cell door. Could hear the pleading cries, begging for help, from other mutants that were in the rooms around him.

Nate's path went down, down, down. Around another looping path and he came face to face with a dead end hall. A large door encompassed the entire wall, solid steel bars crisscrossed over it protectively. There was a small square off to the side, likely where the locks and passcodes usually were, but were retracted with the emergency protocols in place.

*

That was where the rhythmic banging was happening. Marcos was on the other side, before he seems to be PUNCHING at the metal door LOUDLY. "I'M HERE!" Marcos calls out to try and get the attention of his allies. He need to be sure Lorna was alright in that madness. Needed to reunite with his friends again. and needed to get these mutants OUT.

He bangs continuously on the door. "Let me out…" he mutters now, trying to get through to the other side.

*

«Wouldn't you? If you were human and had no expectation of protection from retribution? For all we know, every one of these mutants was taken from the local families in the area.» Sage was back, fully, in the link, as they finally arrived at the right hall, Sage looked back to Neon, "Blast the locks, get the mutants out, once we get Eclipse. We can gather them together and start moving. Hopefully, Illyana will get back to us in time to teleport us all out. If not…we'll just have to get them out and extract them from above ground." Sage came to a halt, as they reached Eclipse's door, stepping aside to let Neon do her work, though she raised the flashlight to shine on the still locked wall of metal, with Marcos on the other side. Whomever was in charge of the facility had rerouted the control system to the doors, and while her mind was actively working within the system to try to gain control of it, the protocols were beyond military grade with many levels of encryption. As she was close enough, now, to reach him, Sage spoke into Marcos' mind, «Step away from the door.»

*

«It looks like we've found them but I can't get a read. Blockers. Who knows what they're up to down here. Join us by the northeast stairwell…» A more complete set of coordinates are sent over the telepathic link while three of the blondes proceed toward the location in question, moving through the halls with a surprising amount of nonchalance. No one is going to bother them.

« Do you have Marcos yet? We can hold position or go in after these people now. Your call.»

*

Rogue had lost a lot of care toward being subtle with her powers when facing off against people and things that were clearly out to kill her friends and team mates. She didn't see a point in holding back anymore, especially with the leadership of the X-Men being less than available to pull her back. So the brunt of the southern belle's force was being used to stop the enemies that she was determining to be threats to her people.

Such is the case with that sentinel-hybrid mutant and such is also the case with those being shot with the ice blasts. "Its good t'be seen!" Rogue says in response to Sage, even taking a second to show a big smile before she darts past the others attacking them and moves down the hallway, gliding with her feet hovering a few inches off of it.

She comes to a halt near Marcos' door. "Ya got it all wrong, sugah!" She shouts through the cell door to Marcos. "You shout Marco…" She grabs the door and aims to rip back and off its hinges. "And I shout, Polo!"

*

Keep moving, keep blasting, just follow the lead of the other and more experienced mutants. Neon wasn't so much scared as reviled by everything she was seeing. A thin film of frost covered much of the trail they'd been walking, but the silent girl keeps up with Sage and her freezing energy bolts never waver. They just had to find their other comrade then they could be done with this place!

The instruction of the locks earns a nod and Neon begins blasting each as they pass by. Hopefully, other mutants can be saved!

*

"Yeah, psi-blockers," agrees Nate, standing in front of the reinforced door. « I guess the base was too large to have them all over. But still covering the critical areas. Not as many resources as they had in their little slave island, but still… they have deep pockets for all this crap. »

The door. He kicks it. Putting the bulk of his telekinetic power behind the blow.

And as he hits physically, he hits telepathically, throwing his power at the dampeners. Nothing fancy, he just wants to overload them.

*

As his fellow X-Men start to do their wonders against the door, Marcos steps backward until his back hits the side of the wall. letting the door blast open if it blasts open or harshly removed if Rogue is successful. Though, he's hoping that Nate can take out this damned dampener around his neck. He needs to absorb some sunlight, which he kinda hopes he'll get some of in this place.

*

The door to Marcos' cell came flying off under Rogue's grip, freeing the man trapped in another one of the power blocking collars. This one looked to be more of the usual affairs compared to the one Lorna had worn. But he was free. Neon's freezing of the other doors' locks left the metal knobs and locks fell off without much effort. Which meant that the other mutants that were locked up were now free.

The girls and Marcos had made their mission goals. Lorna and Marcos were no longer locked up, and the other mutants were freed… Now they just had to get them home and safe.

The Cuckoos and Nate had found the command center, they had found the heart of this place of torment and twisted experiments. Of misery and hatred. Nate's blast ripped through the door with metal screeching and screaming. It wasn't as effective as Rogue ripping doors of hinges, or Lorna ripping the metal apart.. but after several minutes at it, he was able to kick it in.

But where the door gave way, the dampeners put up more of a struggle. It take a great deal of concentration on his part, but eventually, even those broke. Over-whelmed by his sheer force and power behind his attacks.

*

The Blackbird had been held on station while the operation was running, its systems running dark in stealth mode while the plane had held at a safe distance over international waters some ways off from the deployment zone. And on board, the X-Man known as the Wolverine sat at the controls, scowling more than was natural for his resting scowl face. At times he'd shoot a look at the choronometer read out on the heads up display, the numbers finally ticking over…
Across the comms would be that rough gravelly voice from the man as he says to those listening, "X-Ray Bravo Bravo, moving for evac." Just that short sentence to convey to the deployed team. Likely little over the noise of the ripping doors and tearing hinges, the screech of metal and the sharp voices.
But for Logan it signals a roar of engines as the Blackbird finishes its lazy circling, wings over, and then the afterburners fire sending the vehicle hurtling towards the decided evac point.

*

"Sorry, kids. Looks like you should have invested in a telepath. Nothing beats the real thing." That's the three identical blondes. They call out conversationally as the stride through the wreckage was strewn haphazardly about by Nate, walking among the shattered fragments as if they owned the building and everything in it. They didn't lead with anything subtle, just a psychic scream to incapacitate any unfortunate in that room unfortunate enough to have just been exposed by the dampener dropping. A shrill, piercing mental shriek like the cry of the fantastical monster known as the banshee.

*

As soon as the door was off its hinges, Sage lifted the flashlight, shining it, rather unceremoniously, right in Marcos' face. Not at all polite, but it was the part of him most likely to have exposed skin. Sorry, Marcos. It was not quite what he wanted or needed, but it was as close to sunlight as she could manage under the current circumstances. One of those sunlight simulation full spectrum lights that was not at all being used for its intended purpose. "Let me get a look at his collar and see what we need to do to get it off him." She stepped inside, moving at speed to get to Marcos. "Lorna is safe, we need that collar off."

*

"You know," comments Nate stepping into the command room, "I was going more by… lets make them surrender." Not making them scream like this. "But it works," because if someone deserve some screaming it is old-school Genosha slavers. And after seeing what Sage and Ne have found Nate is not feeling very merciful.

« Hey, I am detecting Logan, I will add him to the mind-link and bring him up to date » for now it is all he can do. That door took a lot of power to break. What was it made off, vibranium? « I think we are going to have too many rescued mutants for the airplane, but at least it has some medical equipment - and Illyana should be back soon. »

*

Brought into the mind-link, Logan's mental voice comes across the shared communication, « ETA four minutes to the evac site. » There's a pause as he adjusts the jet's trajectory then adds, « We got more people, I can snare another ride if needs be. But it'll take time.»

That said he turns and leans over to the data display next to the large bank of controls and readouts, already keying up the coordinates of a smuggling operation's airfield that he ran into a few years back. If they're still up and running in some form…

« Mebbe too much time. Illy might be the best bet if that's in the cards. »

*

Rogue tosses the cell door onto the ground and it lands with a reverberating CLANG. She then drops down out of the sky onto her yellow thigh-high booted feet and she reaches up to her comms to touch at the earpiece. "Wolverine, ya better not be crashin' our ride out there." She has no idea if he can hear her or not.

The southerner then turns around to the others. "Are we all good here? Where's the others? We should probably split before this place gets even weirder… they tend t'do that, ya know?"

*

Marcos looks up to see the door ripped straight off it's hinges and Sage moving to make sure he's even still alive. Marcos got a light right into his face, trying to cover his eyes as she checks on him. "She is? Thank god…we need to get out of this god-forsaken place." Marcos tries to stand up, likely needing Sage at the moment to help him with that.

But he looks around, and notices the entire team is here! "I'm glad you guys came…really.." he looks so happy, but remembers the collar when it's mentioned. "Time to get it off…"

*

Stepping up behind Sage, Neon is still glowing lightly when she enters the cell. Another collar? Hopefully this one breaks like the other…but she didn't know enough to tell them apart. «Do we break it the same way?» the mute girl asks over the mindnet, tilting her head to the side and then looking towards the ball of muscle and 'southern charm' that is Rogue. «Or can she just…snap it off.»

*

The door was wrecked and ruined by the time Nate was through with it. Inside the command center were piles of screaming and wailing Magistrates in lab coats, along with their guards. The Cuckoos had done their jobs after Nate took out the dampeners. The whole of the computers were left vulnerable and open with the humans all tangled in a mess of sobbing wails on the floor.

The room itself was concrete with rows upon rows of monitors and advanced tech. It was the heart of the Genoshan's remaining technology. On the screen were views of all the others in the compound. The sight Marcos freed, along with all the other mutants with collars on, that now escaped their own rooms and poured into the hallways around them.

*

Sage shook her head, as she moved to hand the flashlight off to Marcos. «Logan, we're working on freeing Eclipse. Time is of the essence, but I'd rather have some sort of backup plan, even if it gets here too late for us to use it. If nothing else, we can take some now, move the rest to a safe spot and wait for the second string.» As Neon came to join her, Sage glanced back to Rogue. "We need to disable the explosive. Neon should be able to freeze it, if you break it, throw it in the corner, and Neon can shield us, if it does go off." She hoped. Coldlight was theoretically impossible, it was true. And sometimes, it was good to have the impossible on your side. But hey…it was this or a very unfortunate headless X-Men. A moment to breath, "Hold still, Eclipse." Once again, Sage wiggled her hand under the collar, to use it as a shield against Neon's coldlight blast. «Anyone manage to get to the controls for these collars?» Because that would make these things a hell of a lot easier to get off. Of everyone who was wearing one.

*

Over the psionic comm, there's the subtle mental echo as if Logan nodded to all of them the affirmative. But then his thoughts came across clear, « I'll set the Blackbird to return to the evac point, going to take a small detour. Latest sat photos are showing…»

There's a pause as his attention slips from the mind-link, then a few moments later returns. « An old C-130 sittin' on the runway. Gimme five minutes to secure the facility and get some ground transport to ferry them to the plane. »

There's a whumpf around him as the Blackbird twists to the side in the sky, altering its course subtly even as Logan finishes keying in the data needed. He rises from the chair ripping off the headphones and setting them aside. Towards the back of the jet he moves, then states. « All things run smooth, I'll be at the evac in 15 with alternate transport. »

The engines of the X-men's jet shift silent as the speed lowers, the door to the Blackbird opening for a moment. Logan stands there, reaching over his shoulder to pull the mask into place over his head, and in the next instant he steps out the door, falling towards the smuggler's run. Above him, as he falls, the Blackbird turns and tears off back to the evac site.

*

« Got it, Sage » replies Nate, making a brief mind-scanning over the Cuckoos psychic attack. Then he hits a few buttons on the consoles, deactivating the security systems in the slave collars. « Go ahead and remove them, they are not going to explode or electrocute the prisoners. Now I am going to make sure the assholes here sleep until SHIELD can bring one of the carriers to pick them up and will meet you topside, at the extraction point. »

*

Well, at least Sage had faith in her ability. She hadn't accidentally killed Lorna, so so far Ne's record was good. Stepping closer to Eclipse she offers a nod that may well have been intended to be reassuring, or to simply affirm that he really -really- should stay still. One glowing digit lifts up and runs along the restraint, pumping that coldlight energy into the metal before she pulls her hands back. Sure enough, the thermal shock is more than enough to fracture the metal and allow Sage to pull it free.

Satisfied, the two-tone mutant looks between the others. She couldn't speak on the commlink, but the mindnet was good enough. «Lets get the hell out of here!»

*

Eclipse didn't move a muscle, though the light that Safe flashed in gis eyes earlier did help him recover, a happy smile on his face. "Thank you." he's now serious as they work on freeing him.

*

Once she gets the go-ahead and Ne does her little trick, Rogue reaches up for the collar and she crushes its connection around Marcos' neck with the pinch of a finger and a thumb, showcasing once more the terrifying amount of power she has if she doesn't hold herself back. The collar crumbles beneath her fingertips and she pulls it off from the man's neck. "There we go, back t'bein' safe again, Miste'ah Marcos." She says with a smile before she tosses the device back into the cell that they freed the man from.

She glances to Ne, and then Sage. "Yeah, lets make like mice and flee from this burnin' field." She turns and starts back the way she'd busted through the wall from, it was a straight shot back up and out of the base, at least for her. "Can give a lift to anyone goin' my way!" She says to the rest. "Gotta hold on though, just be careful not t'get TOO handsy though." The last part is a fair warning, and a tease all wrapped up into one.

*

"You're welcome." Having heard Nate's communication, Sage stepped back, allowing Rogue to pull off the collar, "If the collars are inert, we can wait until we get outside to take care of anyone else who's wearing them. Get to the evac point, I'll handle herding the cats in the hallway." And then she was off to do that, wrangling as many of the mutants as she could find that had not already fled or tried to flee. «Nate, make sure you tell SHIELD to get everyone in the building, even those that register as humans. They used to be mutants. We need to get a handle on what they did to them.» By the time Sage and her sheeples made it to the hangar bay, they'd find Illyana there to assist as she could, and soon enough, Logan with his backup plan. All in a day's work, really. Right?

*

Illyana doesn't look back as amateur surgery is performed on Lorna, remaining on guard - and listening to those shuffling, scraping, slithering sounds get closer. She has her doubts as to whether the Soulsword will be of much use against what's coming, but she feels better with it in her hands.

And who knows, maybe whatever's coming will retain enough intelligence to be put off by a sharp-looking sword that's glowing with eldritch light?

When Sage and Neon have the collar off Lorna and call for her, Illyana takes two steps backwards, eyes still on the open corridor, waiting for something to appear - then smoothly breaks away, turning and jogging back to the others. "I'll be back as soon as I can." She tells them. « Don't let Nate die while I'm not looking. » She adds, over the mindlink, and then a glowing disc swallows her, Lorna, and the gurney she's strapped to. It's quicker that way.

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