All Those Sheep

January 22, 2019:

Happening just after "Rifts in Reality: Professor X". Illyana and Nate go looking for Rachel in the rifts dimension. There might be killer vampire sheep involved.

Weird pocket dimension created by the Rifts Creature

Somewhat unreal mix of landscapes.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Havok

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Just a few minutes ago: The mansion was the site of a strange kind of invasion. Rifts appeared in the lower sub basement where Charles Xavier had been lying, comatose since his rescue. Charles woke up just briefly to explain that he'd been keeping a woman, or what he perceived to be a woman, trapped here. He implied she was the cause of the rifts, and should she leave, all that had been taken to her 'dimension', would perish. Or disappear. Or Die. Or well, it would be bad.

Now: While Lorna has been able to shut the rifts that were pouring out salt water, a good foot of water still swims about the medical bay, making movement a bit slushy. Rachel has disappeared into one of the rifts, and even though she connected with Nate briefly when she was first through, it has been several minutes and her thoughts are very distant and gone.

A call has been made for Illyana - to perhaps gain her insight into things.


Nate was supposed to anchor Rachel to the physical plane, and it mostly worked while the rifts were kept open by Polaris. Somehow he was able to keep a psychic rapport to Rachel through the hole. But now he is depending on small, open/close flickering portals he can't quite reach his 'sister'. Which is making him nervous and angry.

He really needs to take more lessons on Telepathics. He is still rather bad after all those years as a X-Man.

But determination is one of his good traits, so he keeps trying. And with some luck Lorna or Logan will manage to find Illyana.


Illyana's not always the easiest person to find, since she has responsibilities beyond the X-Men, which in turn take her, as often as not, beyond the bounds of the dimension the X-Men call home. But lately she's been making an effort to be around the Institute a little more (Limbo not feeling quite so homey lately) or, if not, to at least be contactable.

Even so, she missed not only the rescue of the Professor, but the chaos that ensued afterwards. Go figure. At least she got a call when there was clearing up to be done.

A point of light appears in the medical bay, swiftly growing into a silver white disc - no flickering or hesitation this time - and Illyana drops through, to land with a… splash? "What in the name of the black abyss happened here?" Illyana asks anyone who's listening, as cold water soaks through her sneakers. She casts around for someone to blame for her suddenly wet feet, but before she can catch sight of Nate, she sees the Professor, lying unconscious on the bed. A finger shoots out, pointing at the X-Men's founder. "I said it wasn't me this time!" Again, this seems like a declaration for whoever might be paying attention. Finally she realises that the only other person present is Nate, and she squelches a step toward him, before stopping with a grimace. "This needs to be dealt with." She says under her breath, summoning a stepping disc at floor level. As the water begins to drain away with a gurgle, Illyana fixes Nate with her blue eyes. "I've missed a lot, haven't I?"

Illyana, incidentally, doesn't look quite herself. Physically she seems in better condition than she has in a while, but the pink and black checked shirt, blue skinny jeans, and now soaking wet white sneakers aren't exactly her usual look.


With gurlging swiftness, the water in the medical bay goes circling into the portal, disappearing with probably a hiss into the hot domain of Limbo. Quicker than imagined, the water drains down, leaving only spots of wetness upon the ground that will eventually need to be mopped up and of course, the floor beneath checked for any weaknesses.

A few portals remain open, most are tiny fissures in the walls or ceilings, while one is still large enough to step through.


"Nah, just fifteen minutes of weirdo extra-dimensional shenanigans," which really, it is her specialty. "I could explain, but it is best if I show you. Rogue and Logan are around and can take care of Professor. But Rachel and Alex went to rescue people to some kind of dimensional pocket. Looks like the rifts are created by an alien critter and the Professor is keeping it anchored so it does not leave with a lot of people that fell through its rifts."

So, what is he going to show her? The other side of the Rabbit Hole, of course: "C'mon, we need to go help Rachel, and maybe bring her back," he sating, stepping forward towards that large hole in the room, offering his hand to Illyana. To drag her there.
The fact Illy is not all dressed up in black is certainly noted. But really, not something he is going to comment as Rachel might need some rescuing right now.


Fifteen minutes of weirdo extra-dimensional shenanigans. Illyana thinks about that for about a second and a half and just shrugs. She's already turned away from Nate, gazing at the hole to somewhere else with professional curiosity. She knows a thing or two about portals, obviously, but this doesn't feel like something she might have conjured up. Her eyes narrow as she looks at the world revealed on the other side. It's not quite right. She takes a step toward it, then turns her head sharply back toward Nate. "Rachel's in there?" Illyana snorts quietly. "Of course she is." She adds under her breath.

Illyana might be dressed a little more brightly than usual, but it's definitely still her. Without seeming to even look, she slips past Nate's hand before he can grab her. She's going in there, but she's not being dragged -anywhere-. She steps toward the edge of the portal, and looks back over her shoulder. "You've got a way for us to find our way back, right?" She asks Nate, but with a smirk, she doesn't wait for him to answer. Just steps from this world, to that one.


A strange cityscape. That is indeed what greets the eyes when moving from one world, to the next. Wisps of dark, shadow like things swiftly disappear into the inky blackness more as soon as Illyana enters (and Nate?) Most assuredly not alive, though, the ghost like beings remain hidden from the living, just flits of movement out of the corner of your eyes - and when you turn back around, nothing but shadow remains.

The street is deserted, empty, void of life. On the outskirts of the urban environment exists a forested landscape. The foliage occasionally rustles even though no wind exists.

As far as Rachel goes, the instant that Nate steps through he will feel the red-head's thoughts and emotions. She isn't too far away, though where Alex is, who knows.

Rachel's emotions are frustrated, annoyed, even angry, not an uncommon thing, but certainly a bit more vivid and wild, coming in the direction of the woods.


Nate crosses the rift quickly, smirking briefly at the 'of course she is'. Hey, he tried to stop her. But some things will never change, it seems. "I got nothing, that is why I was waiting for you," he replies. "Well, we might be able to find a hole back home, but… yeah, your disks are a safer bet."

A couple seconds to reorient, but Nate is fairly used to shifting dimensions. "Got Rachel," he announces, "that way… in the forest, or whatever the hell that is." He creates a ball of psychokinetic light to cast some clarity to the shadows, but it doesn't seem to work very well. He is not feeling other minds close by, though. Where are all the missing people?

"Mindlink on me?" He offers Illyana. "I also going to try to add Ray," he adds, reaching with his power. « Rachel! Can you hear me? »


"You sound very sure of that." Illyana comments, when Nate joins her, seeming faintly amused that her way out is deemed the safer bet. "You haven't seen the place lately." She deadpans. "I still have a -lot- of tidying up to do." She looks back at the portal, as if expecting it to snap shut behind them, and only tears her eyes away when Nate announces that he's found his wayward sister. "Can you tell if she's all right?" The sorceress asks. She doesn't sound worried… but usually she doesn't bother to ask.

Illyana doesn't immediately move when Nate gestures toward the forest, or directly answer his request for her to open her mind to him. "Give me a minute." She says instead, and summons the Soulsword to her hand. It glows softly with silver-white light, but she didn't summon it to be an eldritch flashlight. Lowering the point of the blade to the ground, Illyana drags it in a perfect circle around the portal. When the circle is closed, silver-white flames flash up, then die away to nothing, leaving not a mark on the ground. "That should give us some warning if it's going to close on us." She says, then shrugs. "Maybe. If we're lucky." A crooked smile is thrown Nate's way, and Illyana finally moves to join him, wrinkling her nose with distaste. Wet sneakers are not making this excursion pleasant. "Let's go and get her. She owes me a pair of sneakers."


It wont take long for Nate to find the minds of those that he seeks. There are several scared, terrified and tormented thoughts echoing in the direction of Rachel, and even more can be felt deeper one goes into the city. The buildings seem alive with emotions and thoughts, tormented and tortured souls in pain, starving, and scared.

As Nate reaches his thoughts outwards, Rachel's mental thoughts return the question. « Nate? Are you inside or did a portal open up next to me? Atually? Nevermind that. If you're not in, get in. I've found a portal that some team or another, I think maybe the Avengers, have kept permanently open, but I am having issues with idiot people, and I'm about two seconds away from mind wiping the entire lot of them. »

Impatience is the key word to Rachel's mental 'tone', impatience and annoyance and just plain on angry ticked off emotions.

The city street moves downward, towards the location of the forest. The trees are odd, crooked, bent, mis-shapen, and as one moves from the darkness of the city through the foliage of the trees, it becomes lighter, darkness turning to day, as the forest is now cast in daylight. A peak through the foliage will still find one in night, yet on just the opposite side - there is day.

Rachel, for her part, is standing on a stump, much like a soap box, and is yelling out at a group of about a dozen men, women, and children. "THESE ARE SHEEP." She points to the animals the people are refusing to near. "The worst they will do is BAA at you. Come ON people. There are a lot more that need to be saving, and I need you all to fu.. to MOVE." Rachel is less than happy right now, hands gesturing wildly towards the small band of sheep that block a small man-made path through the forest. The animals are happily munching on grass, and don't at all seem like blood sucking evil doers that the crowd is going on about.


"Apparently there are vampire sheep involved," mentions Nate with a grin. "not really. Poor Ray is trying to send some folks back and losing her patience with them. Also, she found a stable rift out, so that solves our problem." So Limbo is not safe yet?
Seriously. He needs to talk to Illyana. But she has been avoiding him (and most everyone).

"Come, we have to save the witless masses from fiery redheads," he adds, helping Illyana fly telekinetically once the night turns day and he can see more clearly. "And I am, ugh, finding more minds in the city. Looks like the psychic plane is… I don't know. Not as clear here as normal."

« We'll be there in two minutes, Ray. Illy and me, I mean » he projects to the redhead. « Have you seen Alex? He came here a minute after you did »


"Rachel? Impatient? I don't believe it." Illyana's tone is dry, and doesn't even contain feigned disbelief. "Shame about the vampire sheep. That might have been interesting." Illyana's being as offhand as ever - but she hasn't banished her Soulsword to wherever it lurks when she doesn't need it. Instead the hilt is still in her left hand, and although the blade is resting across her shoulder at a casual angle, her eyes are flitting about watchfully. She saw those dark flickers of movement as they arrived, and this forest… is wrong. Not only that, but it's cutting down their visibility considerably. If anything comes at them, they're not going to have much time to react.

The unnatural way that light comes to the forest should perhaps alleviate some of that concern, but it really doesn't. This place is wrong, and Illyana's curiosity is weaker than her desire to find Rachel, and probably anyone the redhead feels the need to save, and then get out of here.

Getting scooped up telekinetically by Nate isn't Illyana's favourite thing, but since she's not technically being touched she deals with the short flight with only a touch of sullenness about her. Even that lifts when thye land, and she sees Rachel addressing the masses. Dropping lightly to her feet, Illyana does now let the Soulsword vanish - if said masses are afraid of sheep, who knows what a sword will do to them - and saunters toward Rachel. "Good speech." She says, coming to a halt at the base of the stump and looking up with a smirk. "Very persuasive. Now Nate's here's why don't we put him on the other side of the vampire sheep, and you can throw and he can catch?"


"She…She's not serious is she!?" Screams one of the people gathered. The woman's tone is shrill, as her hands lift upwards hiding her face with her palms. "I can't do it! I can't!" The thing is, these people are in shock. They're terrified of their own shadow. They're weak. Drained. Haven't eaten much, if anything, for a long time, and they're moving slowly, with a great deal of lethargy. The forest floor is broken and uneven. It's not an easy path even for the best of hikers, and these are most assuredly city folk, use to cement, pavement, and carpet.

« Illy's with you? So she is. Good! She might be able to give some insight into these rifts, and world.» Rachel's thoughts soon turn to words, as the red-head hops off the stump, landing with a *whomph* of sound amid the crunch of needles and fern beneath her boots. "Does those loyal to you need any food?" Rachel is not at all serious! As her gaze moves towards the sheep. Okay. Maybe she's a little serious.

"It's a hike towards the portal, there are places that narrow downward. I've gotten a few out, but there are these and who knows how many others deeper in the city. These sheep."

"KILLER SHEEP!!" Yells someone to correct Rachel.

"Harmless sheep." Rachel counters, the person yelling suddenly finds his shoes very interesting, and it has nothing at all to do with the slight flicker of a Phoenix aura around Rachel's eye either. "Need to be moved, then we can help these people through. Thoughts?"


Nate makes a brief mindscan to the crowd of urban folks and sighs. Yes, they are not used to this. Most be from Metropolis, Gothamites and New Yorkers are tougher.

"Lets get this group to safety and then look for more," he offers, not at all sure they will not give up halfway to the portal. "We have not found anything hostile here, but… some of these people have. Probably not the sheep, though."

But just in case he begins to push the sheep out of the way telekinetically. The things he has to do for the X-Men! There are some loud 'baaas' of protest, but they are sheep and do as sheep do. Move. Slowly. Munching green stuff along the way.


Illyana obligingly takes a step back to give Rachel room to land as she jumps down to join her. At least Rachel is dressed for this excursion, Illyana probably looks like one of the rescuees. Only, she thinks, as the screeching woman starts off again, she's setting a much better example. What a pity none of the others seem inclined to take lessons from her. "Are we talking about the sheep or the people?" Illyana asks. "They'd take either, but the sheep haven't done anything to annoy me yet." She flashes a grin at Rachel, but there's a certain bleakness in her eyes.

Jokes like that aren't as funny for Illyana as they used to be.

The blonde demoness falls silent as Rachel sets out the problem, and winces at the yell of 'KILLER SHEEP'. Illyana, of course, knows exactly what Rachel just did. "You can't just do that to all of them?" She asks, in a hopeful tone that knows it's headed for disappointment. "I could try to get them out. Or the sheep." Illyana says, slowly, thinking through the consequences. "And I'll get us out, if I have to. But opening a portal to a pocket dimension inside a pocket dimension? Probably not a good idea."

At a particularly outraged 'BAAA!', Illyana looks over, concentration broken, and a smile that looks real briefly alights on her lips before sneaking off again. "This trip was worth it after all." She says, watching Nate inexpertly herd sheep.


A faint whisper is given to Illyana, "I could, and would, but I'm trying to not draw too much attention to myself, or others. This world, it's not right." A shiver runs down Rachel's spine then, her gaze flickering around her, then back to the crowd she's managed to gather from the buildings.

The sheep, for their part, mostly obey Nate, a few go a bit slower than the others, expressing their displeasure not only through the bleating and 'BAAs', but by stomping their feet. (Which causes the crowd to gasp and take steps back.)

Finally, the sheep have moved enough to allow the people to begin trudging through the underbrush once more. "Nate, take point, help them at the front, Illyana, take middle, I'll pull up the back."

Sheep, much like people, tend to do what their fellows do around them, and have finally moved off of the path and go meandering deeper into the forest. After all, they are just victims here, just like everyone else.

Soon, the rift that some team or another has permanently kept open can be felt, thoughts coming out of there, normal thoughts, not the terrified bunch of emotions that exist within this world.

One by one, people are lead through, disappearing through the rift, until it's just Nate, Illyana and Rachel left. The red-head lets out a breath of air, "Thank goodness." Though the shifting of her feet moving back in the direction of the city shows she's not nearly done yet. "So what did you mean, a pocket dimension inside a pocket dimension would be a bad idea. Like, what, implosion of universe, crossing of the streams, meeting your younger self, type of implosion?"


Nate snickers at Rachel's expression. Not a people's person, this redhead! The sheep are given a last glance. He suspects they are going to end up very far away from home soon. Just like they will if they don't hurry up.

Wait, what about implosions and meeting the younger self? "You have been watching old movies again?" He asks, joining the two young women. "I think she is a Skrull, Ray. Look, she is wearing pink. I had not seen Yana in colors since…" oh huh.

Since the Genosha illusion, which he is trying to forget. He hrms. "Anyway. Can you track down Alex?"


"You noticed, too?" Illyana replies, equally quietly. "We aren't alone, here. Not really. And I don't mean the sheep." Illyana doesn't shudder. Instead, she's wearing a faint half smile. "The question is, are we walking away from the dark evil city… or towards something worse?" On that cheery note, Illyana goes back to watching Nate struggle manfully to clear the sheep from the path. It's almost disappointing how quickly he sorts the flock out. Never let it be said that Illyana doesn't have odd priorities.

The Russian grimaces when Rachel passes out the marching orders. "If I'd known you were going to do this to me I might not have come to get you." She tells the redhead, but her disgust is clearly feigned, and she moves into position among the people as she's directed. She even tries to talk to some of them, to calm them down, or at least stop them from finding something else to be terrified by. She's really not that good at it, and the portal can't come quickly enough.

"If that doesn't count as helping people…" Illyana says to herself, as she watches her charges walk through the rift in various states of trepidation, fear and outright terror, "…then I give up." Her eyes burn holes in the back of each civilian until they disappear, then she turns to face the others. Rachel's question brings a grin back to Illyana's face, an expression that's a bit wolfish. Of course, Nate chooses that moment to interrupt, and she just looks at him until he remembers where he saw her in colours. "Don't worry. It won't last." She tells him, then looks back at Rachel, slightly less amused now. "Something like that." She says, in answer to all of the options presented, but then becomes a bit more serious. "More likely, a local collapse of reality. All this…" She waves a hand. "…could be unmade."

Illyana's blue eyes lock with Rachel's. "What are you thinking?"


Shaking her head, Rachel's steps draw back towards the city. "Just wondering what are options are for quick escapes, should the need arise, and that is probably a big 'no' then." Running her hands splayed through her hair, Rachel does finally take in Illyana's attire. A twist of Rachel's mouth to one side, as her gaze flickers to Nate. "Well, she at least fit in well with the other survivors. Clothing wise. Looks good on you, Illy. I'm sorry I didn't notice it before."

Then again, Rachel was sorta preoccupied with the entire annoying vampire sheep bit. "As far as Alex goes, yes I might be able to track him, but right now, I can't even sense him." And Rachel really doesn't want to have to pull into her tracking mode, not unless it's really necessary. "Maybe he came in and right back out again at a different point? Rifts are opening and closing at all times. Even so, I'll keep scanning for him."

"And Ghostbusters was a classic, I'm glad you suggested that one, Nate." Or was it Kitty? Well, whoever suggested it, worth the watch.

Moving back towards the city, Rachel intends on saving as many lives as she can, before things go - well - poof. Hopefully without them inside it.


It does count as helping people, but Illyana's muttered comment makes Nate give her an odd glance. The mention of her teleporting abilities possibly endangering local reality is unexpected, and problematic. He was counting she could pull them out if the dimension collapsed or the rifting creature turned on them. They are going to keep the Stepping Disks as an emergency measure.

Still, it is not as if they have much choice. Yes, they stay until they get everyone out or they get kicked out. "Keep scanning, Ray. I will too, I don't think telepathy is working as it should here. I keep losing track of contacts and finding others where there was none. I doubt those are rifts. I think there are something like 'layers' in this place."


Illyana just shrugs when she realises that Rachel isn't thinking what she's thinking. "I thought you were going to ask me to make sure we never had to come back." Illyana comments, shooting Rachel a sideways glances. "After we got everyone else out, of course." Of course. She didn't add that last bit at all hurriedly. She's content to let the idea drop when Rachel switches the conversation to matters that are a bit less life and death. "Someone DID imply they didn't like my colours." Illyana points out. "But it's definitely me." Illyana says, in the tone of someone who's pretty certain that it isn't remotely her. "Right down to my soggy sneakers. Someone could have warned me the medlab was under water." Maybe she'll let that drop when they're back home and she's changed into something dry. Maybe.

Falling in beside Rachel as they begin the trek back through the twisted forest to the dark city, Illyana remarks, "Let's find some more lost sheep. Maybe the next lot will be grateful." She clearly doesn't mean the four footed kind. Despite the banter, the Soulsword is propped against her shoulder again. How many can they rescue before they're noticed?

Illyana wouldn't put money on 'all of them'.

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