Moving Forward

January 02, 2019:

A few of the X-men get together to review the findings from the Magistrate base in Colombia and what to do about it.. Never mind what to do without the Professor.

War-Room, X-mansion

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magneto, Professor X, Eclipse, Cyclops

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Colombia. The specter of the mission there lingered. SHIELD had managed the cleanup of the rogue magistrates' facility, and the X-Men had rescued as many of the mutants as they could. No doubt they had tried to find a way to work together, housing those who had been rescued in facilities which were both secure and, as much as possible, set up to deal with the horrors that the X-Men had found beneath the ground on Colombia.

Sage had managed to backup the data from the facility before they had made their escape, as much of the research, activities, and electronic papertrail as had survived the damage of the mission, and had spent a good deal of time at work breaking through encryptions and attempting to make sense of what, exactly, had been going on down there. Once she had managed to pull together something that was usable, she'd sent out a message for the X-Men who had been on the mission to join her in the War Room, the closest thing to a secure meeting room that the X-Base allowed. She'd made use of the projector, as well as setting up a few other screens which the rest of the team could use to access information.

Just at the moment, she sat waiting, a screen projected in front of her, which she was casually scrolling through, her deadpan expression showing no response to the images of bodies being experimented on she was looking at.

*

Lorna had spent a bit of time in the Med Lab after the return from the mission. Enough to get checked out with her gunshot wound to the leg and the vast amount of drugs that Illyana had burned out of her system in Limbo. It had been routine, and for all things considered, a quick visit. Marcos had been another matter. He'd been injected and experimented on with… things. At least, that was the limit of Lorna's knowledge. It was likely buried deep within the files of what the former Genosha Magistrates had been up to in that respect.

Her? It had been easier to find. She'd been sold off to the highest bidder. There were a large number of people that wanted to hold onto the daughter of Magneto, and the Magistrates had known it and had planned to use it for further funding of their more .. twisted experiments.

The green haired woman trekked down to the sub-basement with a lighter step than usual, using the magnetic currents to lift most of her weight off her feet and more or less float as she walked. All the better to leave her healing leg alone for a bit. She wore a simple grey, oversized sweater and a pair of black leggings and boots. Her fingers covered in a few rings that caught the light here and there as she entered the room and sank down into a seat. "Hey," She flashed a brief smile toward Sage as she scooted the wheeled chair closer to the table and settled in.

"What are we looking at?"

*

Nate has been scarce in the school grounds since the rescue at Colombia. It is not unusual for him to semi-vanish for weeks at time. Although this time he has been in contact with the X-Men because he is closely following the search for Xavier.

But apparently he has found something more interesting to do than punching holograms in the Danger Room once or twice a day.

To be honest he has not paid much attention to the Magistrates and their prisoners. He assumes the first are rotting in SHIELD's equivalent to Guantanamo. While the second should be in Muir Island by now.

However, he was in the mission, and if there is a follow-up to do, Nate will be there too. At the very least he is curious to know where did those Genoshan's found the money to run such an operation and keep such a large base pretty much at the other side of the world Magneto's little island.

So he is sitting at a corner, feet on the table, and a mug of coffee on hands. His mind seems to be somewhere else. Which is, most likely, the literal truth. Telepaths.

*

Rogue these days is either in the X-Men base fighting in the danger room or exercise in the gym. Now was no different, she was coming out of the gym with her green and gold suit bunched up around her waist and hanging over her belt, while she has a black zip-up hoodie on her upper body, and her gloved hands stuffed inside its pockets, coming out of the gym after beating the hell out of some of the reinforced punching bags built for her power level.

She walked casually through the corridors and makes her way to the War Room where she strides in and just looks around at the others before she picks a place to sit and she settles into it with a little light exhale, her hands coming out of her pockets to rest on the arms of the chair where her gloved fingers drum dull against the chair's arms.

*

"I've taken the libety of dividing the information I was able to retrieve into the most relevant categories." As Sage spoke, once as many of the team had gathered as seemed to be coming to the briefing, each of the indicated projections or screens, whichever they were placed on illuminated. "Funding sources. The names and identities, to the extent that the magistrates knew them, or I could discover. The purpose of the experiments. The current status of their network."

Once she had indicated each of the databacks, she continued, "I've been going through and flagging the electronic and paper trails of the funding sources. Some appear to be coming from genosha and its allies, though," a beat pause, "They do not appear, at the present time, to lead back to Magneto." Whether or not that put the man in the clear remain to be seen. "But a significant portion of funding appears to lead back to Trask Industries." Which would likely explain precisely how they managed to get so much of the collar tech as well as the host of Sentinel parts that were being used on the mutants."

"The mutant database is a work in progress, as I have been having to access most of the information remotely, and attempting to find a way to infiltrate the facilities so that can catalog the mutations and augmentations that were perpetrated on the subjects." Another pause, "We took out the main facility, but there appear to be some satellite enclaves that will need to be dealt with at some point, either by ourselves, or by our allies," such as they were, "in SHIELD."

Sage finally turned back to face the group. "It would appear that they had a triple-pronged plan for their work. First, and this seems to be the most important, was to find a way to take existing mutants and augment and/or redirect their abilities. To either refine what they could do, or to add additional abilities. Before they decided to sell you of, Lorna, they were working on a plan to add electrical manipulation abilities to your powerset." Which Lorna had already shown she could control in a crude way, but was nowhere near as refined as her primary magnetic control mutation."

*

A brief glance was spared for Nate and Rogue as they joined the briefing session. A smaller team than Lorna had hoped to see, but it seemed with the portals and other strange events that were always the bread and butter of the X-men.. the roster was short. Never mind that Scott and Jean had been MIA. A worry that still nagged at the back of her mind. Her green eyed gaze swung back to the projections on the screens as Sage talked, her lips twisting and her gaze narrowing as she stared at the various points of data and information that they'd managed to parse out from the computers in the compound.

"Wait a minute, funding from Genosha? That's ridiculous. I helped clear out the Magistrates' compounds and bunkers for months. There's nothing left there." She frowned and glanced back to Sage. "Unless there's some dissidents.." She trailed off, looking more than a little uneasy at the thought.

She fell silent for a long moment before Sage commented about her use of electrical manipulation. She huffed a breath, "I have plenty of control over electricity.." She grumbled, crossing her arms. "Sure I can't make lightning but c'mon.. they couldn't seriously have thought to.." She hesitated and swallowed, before clearing her throat.

"Marcos said they did.. things to him. Any ideas what that might have been?"

*

"Yes, Trask was in Genosha. Along with other anti-mutant political leaders," comments Nate. He was there, saw some of them. Illyana killed Cameron Hodge during the X-Men assault to the Sentinel factory.

But someone in Genosha is still paying the Magistrates? That is odd. He can hardly believe someone is doing that under Magneto's nose. And yet it is almost unthinkable Magneto would finance this operation. Maybe the cash flow comes through Carrion Cove?

"The manipulation of mutant abilities was already possible in Genosha," he tsks, remembering something else, "but the technology was destroyed. Lost. Magneto didn't have it. So… I suppose they are trying to recover it. Maybe they have some of the old Genigeneer notes."

*

Rogue listens to Sage's rundown and then glances over toward Lorna, she wasn't quite as shocked to hear that Genosha was involved as Lorna might be, but then again she had a much lower respect for that place as a whole.

As Nate speaks, Rogue takes her her hands out of her hoodie's pockets and she pulls her gloves off, then lays them both across her lap, she flexes her hands some since she'd been punching the living hell out of the equipment designed for her in the gym and then she looks up toward Sage.

"I'd like t'know where these satellite facilities are." She says in a calm voice. "I can go and take care of'em." She doesn't really say more, but its likely obvious what she means by that.

*

"I can send the list to you once the meeting is over. I've attempted to put as much as they had on record of the scope and scale of the facilities as well as the personnel as they had on record at the time I pulled their databases." Sage offered to Rogue, as she seemed to be dealing with people in reverse order this go around." A few of the line items on the funding projection lit up in sequence as she spoke, "There are always dissidents. Those who seem to have taken a harder line that Genosha is currently claiming in their anti-human, anti-mutants who oppose us stance. And most of these sources seem to date back to before the Magistrates were cleared out, as a lot of the intel they have, including their knowledge of the known mutants and their skillsets," such as Lorna, "is quite outdated. So it would seem that they did manage to smuggle R&D out before the tech was lost, but the files were incomplete, leading to what we saw in Colombia." Sage turned back towards the displays, different bits of information being highlighted, "Yes, there is a file on Marcos, but out of respect for his privacy, and yours, I have isolated it and left it it sealed and coded to the two of you. I will upload it to your tablet," the one she had given Lorna to run her AI program on, "and give you the access codes once the briefing is finished."

"So…the first order of business, augment and modify mutants. The second was to find a way to create a mutant/sentinel hybrid. A bold move, considering how absolutely crude their technology and resources was. They were attempting to conduct microsurgery with hacksaws, essentially. The fact that there were such a number of mutants who had been depowered seemed to have been an unfortunate byproduct of the experiments, the opposite to what they were attempting. If I am able to access these individuals, I will do what I can to identify what has turned off their mutations and rebuild it. Something which will be beneficial for them, if they choose to accept being mutants again, but also potentially beneficial to us, if I can extrapolate a way to nullify the mutant gene temporarily to evade sentinel detection."

*

A hmm sound escaped Lorna as she leaned back, glancing to Nate as he mentioned what had occurred on Genosha previously. "It's possible then that they're going off partial notes and trying to make their funding partners at Trask or whoever else lumped money in.. Happy. I just can't wrap my mind around it. Funding still in Genosha? Carrion Cove maybe has some people unhappy with how things turned out. But I thought most of them fled. Either to full rides here in the US or else where." Funny, South America had a bad reputation for taking in scientists that hated people and conducted crimes against humanity with their experimentations.

As Rogue mentioned the stations that might still be up and running, she nodded. "I'll go with you, if you want. We need to clear these guys out before they have longer to rebuild. These guys had at least a year in Colombia, and they'd gotten that far." She grimaced and folded her hands on her lap, crossing her legs as she nodded to Sage's offer to keep her and Marcos' information private.

"Thanks. I'll go over it with Marcos later then. He'd needed some space after everything." Seeing his father murdered for selling them out. The experiments.. She pursed her lips and seemed to consider what their next steps might be.

*

"Or maybe your dad has a traitor in the cabinet," mentions Nate, looking at Lorna. Feet on the floor now. "Or maybe not a traitor, but a 'patriot'," he quotes with his fingers, "that is using the Magistrates to recover Moreau's work. You know Magneto would give his right hand for those notes on activating latent mutants and customizing their powers."

Hell. It could be Magneto financing them secretly. But Nate doubts he can get over his hatred and work with the Magistrates instead of just killing them, no matter how ruthless the old mutant is. "I am with Rogue. Lets go for the 'satellites' as soon as possible. SHIELD are usually square with us, but they might be tempted by the research they found. Better not to tempt our friends, hmm?"

*

Rogue just gently dips her chin in a nod to Sage when she says she'll send her the satellite base information. She then falls silent and leans back in her chair in a relaxation posture while her eyes drift between Lorna and Nate. She hears both their wishes to join in on that and her first reaction is to look to Lorna.

"I think you might need t'rest a bit." Rogue tells her. "Weren't you shot?" She has to ask this, she doesn't want to take Lorna along only to have her injuries get worse. "Logan's in prime shape, this'll be his kinda thing too. We got a lotta muscle available, even if we're missin' our main leadership."

"Speakin'a which…" She switches gears in her tone of voice to a tone that is more dour. "I think Gambit's skipped town. His place is cleared out. No word from him. Classic Cajun behavioral patterns right there…"

*

"I think it would make sense for them to leave, if at all possible, seeds within Genosha. After all, if they managed to perfect their tech, where better to find a group of mutants massed together, and offer them the opportunity to become more than they already are? To help them refine and augment their abilities and, I think this was part of their plan, to galvanize them to make a move outside of Genosha. To make the push to claim the world for mutants, rather than leaving themselves to live in isolation." To which Magneto seemed to have 'retreated', if the old mutant ever did such a thing.

"I think that we will need to bring in additional reinforcements, to assist us in dealing with what's on the table. Especially if you," she was clearly leaving it to Rogue, Nate, and Lorna, "choose to attack these satellite stations onmass so those that are still in operation do not have time to pull up stakes." She paused, before she continued, "I am still working on the Trask connections. Trying to isolate what all of their contributions were, as well as what information they might have already provided him that might change his own R&D. We will need to know that once he begins to move again. Even if their work was crude, his isn't, and a single discovery on their part could turn into a dangerous situation in the hands of someone who already knew what he was doing."

"I plan to focus my own work on attempting to repair the damage done to the prisoners and to reintegrate them back into society if at all possible." Much like she did when they were dealing with the refugees, "But I will be running all of the other aspects as background processes and updating and augmenting what we know to assist you as more information comes in."

As for Remy, well, Sage did not know where he was, nor had any indication that he had had an incident that needed seeing to, to explain his reaction. "I have also been searching for Xavier, but the threads wink in and out. I have not made the progress that I would like. Now that you all have agreed to handle some of the workload, I will redirect my focus as much as I can."

*

A sharp look was given to Nate as he mentioned traitors in the cabinet back in Genosha. She all at once looked offended and outraged, her features going from whitened with dread to reddening with a flush of anger. "Genosha needs to be informed that this is happening regardless. There are innocent mutants and mutates that live there and are trying to build lives for themselves and their families." She ground the back of her teeth together in obvious irritation, her hands threading together tightly as she leaned forward against the table with both of her elbows on the table top.

Rogue's words that she should stay out had her frowning. "Who do we have on a roster of heavy hitters around these days? Who's going to play team leader? We're missing a lot of people. We have Logan, Laura, Illyana, Marcos, Rachel, The Cuckoos, us. A handful of others. Right? I can fly. I don't need to put any pressure on my leg. It'll be fine. I want these guys taken care of. Personally." She pursed her lips glancing between the others.

"My point is that we're stretched thin enough as it is."

*

"Alex, Banner, Betsy," adds Nate, unapologetic at Lorna's anger. They don't lack power, no. They lack leadership, though. Maybe Logan will pick up the slack. He is pretty sure the old man can lead. So can Illyana, but she seems depressed lately. "Logan will have to lead. Natural selection."

He is not arguing Lorna should be there. Those assholes were after her daughter. And since when have been bullet holes a reason not to go to missions? No, don't answer that. "What do you have about those smaller bases anyway. Maybe we can handle them with just a small team, or even a couple mutants each."

*

Rogue sits up again in her chair and she glances over to Lorna. "If there's a situation ya feel ya can do. So be it. Its up to you. I just had t'throw that out there, cause I know Scott would."

She gives a side look to Nate as he runs down the rest of the roster but her eyes just go back to Sage. "Admittedly I'd planned on hittin' some'a these satellite things on my own. If I really don't hold back, I can level just about any place that isn't setup with some seriously stupid defenses. Which it didn't sound like these places were… But anyway."

She lifts a hand and motions at the computer terminal that the presenter tends to use when giving mission briefings in here. "What we need t'do is gather up all the evidence about these Trask folks and just leak it right on out inta the public. Let the world who sympathizes with us see them for what they are… god damn modern day techno Hitlers. They'll have all manner'a troubles then, cause these a-holes are used t'operatin' under secrecy and privacy, then spring their traps on the public and pretend like it was an accident if it doesn't go over well. I say strip'em of their privacy, let'em stand out stark and naked and let the world judge'em harshly. Ya'll been on Twitter lately? Its like a tribunal of decidin' who lives and who dies!"

*

Sage turned back from the displays, to study Lorna, "Lorna. While I understand that you have a connection to Genosha, and that you have hopes for what it can offer the mutant community, it is, as even you have said, no Utopia. There are worms in the apple, as there are and have always been in every place that humans and mutants alike have attempted to make their own. You have the information now. If you choose to share it with the government of Genosha that is your choice."

As for leaders, that drew a bit of a downward turn of the lips from Sage, "I have had occasion to think that the greatest problem that plagues the X-Men, is that Charles created a system where there were more followers than leaders. Instead of picking up the reins, most of the X-Men look for someone else to tell them what to do. We cannot afford that now. If there are no leaders, then those who remain need to step up and assume control of their teams and their missions. Everyone together, working in tandem, taking point and using their strengths when the mission calls for it."

Her attention shifted to Rogue, "I can certainly gather the information together into something that could be released to the press and across social media. Enough information to be actionable, not enough to endanger those mutants who are already affected."

*

A purse of her lips followed as Lorna glanced at Nate. "Logan? You sure he'll want to play leader?" She arched a brow and glanced back to Rogue briefly as the woman pointed out that her asking had only been because Scott would have asked it. She grimaced, looking down for a moment as she inhaled deeply. "Scott isn't here. We're on our own, trying to hold together the school and the X-men. None of us left here are exactly great at following the Professor's dream. We're all either too hot headed, reckless, or have some other thing that made us less than the ideal team leader." She paused, arching a brow as she looked between them.

"I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, but it's true. Nate, you're not that bad a leader yourself. Just saying." She drawled and leaned back in her chair with a heavy sigh.

"I'll contact Genosha and let them know." Or in other words, let her father know. Doubtlessly Magneto didn't actually trust anyone in his cabinet. But to hear this news, she had a feeling was why he'd pushed so much for her to stay in the X-men. A shake of her head followed the thought and she glanced back at the projections on the walls. "I think your idea is a good one Rogue. We'll have to keep an eye out on which way the world judges them though."

*

"Meh, I will be hearing the worlds 'fake news' a lot the next weeks," Nate smirks at Rogue. Because he likes the idea of exposing the Magistrates and Trask, but he doubts it will make many people change their minds. Maybe a few folks that are on the fence will temporarily overcome their ennui with some moral outrage.

Maybe someone important will end sitting in front of a judge, eventually. One can hope.

Lorna comment about Nate being a leader startles him, though. "No. I can't think clearly enough during most fights. And my plans are terrible, as Illy always says."

*

Rogue nods her head to both Sage and to Lorna but when Nate speaks she uses her right bare hand to snap her fingers and the point at him, she jabs the pointer finger at him three quick times to indicate what he just said was key. "Exactly." She emphasizes. "Thats why we can't give the information t'the lame-stream media! Its gotta go out online, get released like one'a them Wiki Leak things. Let the bloggers'n podcasters talk about it." Its possible that Rogue listens to some weird things when she's doing her workout routines.

"Nobody believes the News outlets no more, Trask is probably runnin' advertisements on them twenty four hour channels right now. Big business, begets bigger criminals and bigger corruption!"

She leans back in her chair then and crosses her arms over her stomach for a second, then glances down at her gloves. "Anyway." She snatches her gloves up and starts to stand up. "Get me that list'a satellite bases, and I'll figure out how t'make'em wish they'd gone into the arts instead'a the mad-sciences."

*

"I have prepared all of the information that I've managed to gather and decode." Sage reached over for a stack of small tablet,s which she rose to hand out to everyone." It would seem that the team was getting ready to go their own way. But she did stop to consider Nate, "The fact that most of the X-men are more likely to argue why they should follow, instead of pushing themselves to evolve and to lead is precisely what has gotten us into this position today." To Rogue, she offered, "Let me know when you are ready to begin operations. I can monitor things remotely and try to provide as much support as I can, if you need to be coordinate the extra teams that we may need to put together to shut down their operations. And I have the contacts in place to wideband the information we've gathered when you are ready to release it." To Lorna, "The information on the experiments is stored here. I will send the passwords to your system." Which meant the tablet she already had and its accompanying glasses. And to Nate, "I may need you to help augment my telepathic trace on Charles. We can discuss the specifics later."

*

A sigh followed and Lorna rose, "God don't start with the 'Fake news' Nate. I'm sure they'll have tv commentators howling it plenty." Her lips twisted and she fought the urge to use some choice language in terms of describing what those people could do with their opinions. Still, Nate's rejection of a leadership position had Lorna arching a green eyebrow upwards, her arms folding.

"You always seem to be pretty clear thinking when we're using your powers for communications." She offered with a shrug. "I'd offer to lead, but I have a feeling that might ruffle some feathers." She murmured, "Still, if needed I'll do it." She exhaled a breath and flashed Rogue a grin at the Southern Belle's witty remark about the Magistrates.

"Isn't that always the case? Failed art school applications?" She drawled, and nodded to Sage.

"Thanks. I'll probably ask you to sit down with Marcos and I to discuss the implications of it all later."

*

Nate arches an eyebrow to Sage. What does that mean? Oh yeah, the X-Men are a fractious, argumentative lot. They don't have much in common besides being mutants. Each comes from a different corner of the world. Sometimes outside the world.

Scott had it easy with the Original Five. They were all American, white and of the same age. It probably gave him the time he needed to learn leadership.

"I have to warn you I have damaged Cerebro every time I have been involved in its operation," he comments. "It is not made for the kind of chaotic psion stream I generate. I rather not to touch it unless Xavier is around. Or at least Kitty."

*

With her gloves back on, Rogue did an overly anxious grabby-hands gesture at the tablet that Sage was handing her. "Thank ya, Sage. I'll pick a target and let ya know when and how I plan t'strike it. I'll see if I can't find out where Logan is, follow the trail of cigar smoke and annoyed people who just got done speakin' with him, shouldn't take long." She gives a smile and then looks down to the tablet as she turns toward the exit and starts on walking, tall yellow wedge-heeled boots quietly impacting the hard metal floor.

"No breakin' Cerebro." She says with her eyes on the tablet as she walks. "We're gonna need that thing, probably more than eve'ah."

*

"We will sit down, and I will see what I can do to correct anything that they might have done to damage his genetic code." Sage did not offer more than that, to Lorna. Some things we're really open for debate or discussion in a public forum. "I do not plan to have you use Cerebro. I am the most compatible in terms of its use, as it replicates my own mutant ability to sense, locate, and identify mutants. And Xavier is not around. Nor is Kitty Pryde." Sage shook her head, "Do as you like, Scion. No one is forcing you to be here." With the pads handed off, Sage made her own attempt to depart the room.

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