No Escape

February 09, 2019:

A brutal attack on Mutant Town and a murder attempt against Lorna Dane have a group of heroes and vigilants fighting killer cyborgs on the streets of District X. (Emits by Nate)

Mutant Town

The streets of the East Village, formerly known as Alphabet City.

Characters

NPCs: Bunch of mutant-haters mentioned at the end. Bastion.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It has been a sunny winter afternoon in New York. Still very cold, but the sun helped a bit. So the citizens of Mutant Town have been in the streets in good numbers, and some tourists have too, now most of the damage caused by the 'demon alien' invasion last fall caused.

It is actually the time the night clubs and seedy dens of vice of the neighborhood start to open. So a fair crowd of people is filing at the doors of Wannabees. Most of them normal humans seeking to mingle with the mutants (how edgy!). And the bars are also filling up nicely. Crime and poverty are still serious problems in Mutant Town, but things are not quite as bad as a year ago, and much better than four years ago, when the Purifiers killed mutants every week.

But lately human-mutant tensions are rising up. In fact except for the brief pause of the Inferno, they have never calmed down. Registration keeps looming as a threat. And now Internet and all the social media are full of incidents of mutants attacking humans or causing devastating accidents through reckless use of their powers. Some investigation has showed those to be mostly exaggerations or outright fakes, but they keep coming, and the anger of the human population is rising.

Something was due to happen sooner or later.

A week ago a group of Gotham vigilantes did a startling discovery in Gotham. Yet it was in the Narrows, and few reporters brave the Narrows of Gotham. The news of their discovery has not reached the right ears. What comes today is new, and unexpected.

It starts at the edges of District X. where an old but recently reformed building has become the newest addition to Mutant Town. The landlady happens to be a woman with green hair, and it is probably not a fashion statement. A crew of men has been working on the antenna of the building just at the other side of the street, but now they have paused.

And very quickly assembled a 30mm recoiless rifle from parts carried in their work bags. And now they are aiming the anti-tank weapon to a certain thermal signature at the other side of a window near the top floor.

For some chaos starts with a ceramic and plastic bullet fired at hypersonic speed towards Lorna Dane's heart.

For others it begins when trios of homeless men slip out of their cardboard refuges and tattered sleeping bags, pull machine guns from their bags began firing against the people in the streets, tossing grenades to the mutant-owned shops.


Sage was hard at work at her station, such as it was, holographic projections of Mutant Town flashing across her screens as she plotted the restructuring the power grid that had been part of the rebuilding of the town. Adding in extra relays as well as a more advanced early warning system, much in the spirit of what Lorna had constructed during the demonic invasion. "Lorna," Sage offered, looking towards the woman who was standing some distance from her on the opposite side of the room, "I believe I have everything in place, if you want to give it a preliminary review."


"Frank, incoming! Get out now!" Microchip raises his voice just a bit over the transceiver from the Battle Van; Microchip was keeping an eye on matters on the camera network that was setup at key intersections… but it was the drone that caught the Anti-Tank gun first.

It gave Frank just enough time to run and jump out of the nearby window, where a cushioning mattress was waiting down below as an escape route. The safehouse behind him had some decent ordinance though… and when normally the gun would just go through a section of wall… it manages to hot the self-destruct explosive.

The explosion is fairly well contained, but very visible as the apartment goes up in fire.

"I'm out." Frank states simply over the radio, "get the minigun and ammo ready, and get the HE shells for the launcher." Frank calmly relays to Microchip, who is driving the Battle Van over to the Punishers alleyway now.

In the alleyway, any onlookers will easily see the black trenchcoat, pants, and vest with the white skull on it. The Punisher is going to work.


Unbeknowsnt to Caitlin Fairchild, the work she's doing in Mutant Town isn't far off from what Sage is attempting: rebuilding infrastructure. She's dressed more casually than usual, in jeans, low-heeled riding boots, and a pink blouse tucked into her waistline. The vans are from a Stark subsidiary; her team's wearing yellow hard hats and hazard vests. Caitlin's helmet marks her as a supervisor of some kind, or it would if the white plastic shell wasn't being constantly taken off and set down absent-mindedly.

"Team C, can you shift your position two hundred feet north? We've still got a dead zone over near the intersection of Wabash and Lake. Tower four, shift your freq by 6 and adjust amplitude by three percent." A map of the area is splayed out across a work truck's hood, and she's leaning over it with a set of color-coded pencils and a drafting compass that illustrates the coverage zones of each tower.

The first grenades are what get Caitlin's attention, and then the chatter of gunfire has her grabbing one of the techs and hurling him to the ground with herself as a human shield. "Get down!" she barks.

When a lull in the gunfire hits, she picks the tech up under her arm and knocks down a locked door gate with a firm kick. "Get inside, get to an interior wall, and *stay down*," she orders him.

Caitlin steps into the street with no concern for the small arms fire. She casts around for an improvised weapon; a manhole cover will serve nicely. She grabs it like a frisbee and whips it at one of the gunman with the intention to skip it like a stone across the pavement and hit him in the legs.

"SIRIN, send up a flare on the emergency channels!" she tells her AI companion.


The old house was rather refined, stylized and redone with all the most expensive remodeling one could find on the market. There were new renters in each little apartment that had been done up in the building, and all the best security systems that could be added had been. Plus a hundred pounds iron and steel dust had been carefully molded into the already existing walls and floors. Lorna had been called paranoid more than once, but after the events of the Demon Invasion and the chaos that had brought.. she'd become a major player in the ranks of Mutant Town. The Brotherhood never so much as harassed her, for her public reputation was such that everyone knew who she was.

And with her ties to the X-men, she branched to those ranks and resources just as smoothly. Which is why she invited several of the X-men to come visit, review and upgrade what she'd already added herself to the building. It was a rather sizable investment of time and effort, but she felt Mutant Town needed and deserved it.

Lorna stepped away from the view of the window toward Sage, a mug of hot tea in her grip. "Hmm?" The soft carpet squished between her bare feet as she came to peer at what Sage had worked on. "Oh good. We should test how it works and order pizza or something." She teased. A sip of her tea followed and a grateful sigh.

Then a soft sound of glass punctured followed and Lorna's tea mug was falling from her hands as a choked sound escaped her. Blood blossomed over the white sweater she was wearing rapidly just below her ribs on her left side. Her eyes went wide and she staggered, gasping as she pressed her hands against her side. Paranoia had been drilled into from her father, and the windows were built of high impact glass, mostly bullet proof, and as a result. The plastic-ceramic bullet's trajectory was slowed and slightly off.

A reflexive curl of her hand shot outward and steel slammed over the windows all over the front of the building. A security measure Lorna tripped herself and had seen to, it was the most she could do beyond fighting back tears in her eyes and pressing her hand against her side where the bullet had bounced off her ribs and exited through the front. Her knees hitting the floor as she fell.


The 27 year old Rogue of the X-Men had been through a lot thus far in her life. She wasn't that afraid of, really anything. She didn't fear pain, or loss, or even death. So when there was heightened alerts in any area, she would just do as her team needed her to do and roll with the punches…

Thus she's here in Mutant Town, but she's not on the ground or any such. She's upin the skies, just flying around and doing her patrolling. With dark green/black bodysuit on and a black synth-leather hooded cloak, she's fluttering through the cold winds as she flies around, watching the city below and listening over comms.


There was a time when Illyana Rasputin wouldn't think twice about teleporting into Mutant Town. That was before an army of demons nominally loyal to her darker side ravaged the place. These days she's a bit more circumspect. Which means a taxi. Which means she's getting used to how boring non-instantaneous transport can actually be. Logan said her penance should be helping the people she hurt, but she feels that this should qualify in some small way.

It's not the first time she's come to Mutant Town lately, either. Logan's penance again. While she can't raise the dead (at least, in any way people would like) and she's useless at empathy, at least she can hunt the people who prey on the people she already victimised.

Illyana is very bad at helping people, it goes without saying.

This time, however, Illyana has a better excuse than poor efforts to make amends for the sins of the recent past. An invitation from a friend isn't exactly common for her these days. So, naturally, as Illyana approaches Lorna's building, high calibre gunfire splits the night - and smashes right into Lorna's place. So much for flying under the radar. A disc of silver-white light flares in the street, and Illyana vanishes, reappearing right inside the room with Lorna. One swift glance to see defences are already in place, then she's dropping to her knees beside the green-haired woman. "Still alive?" She asks. There's that empathy again. "We need to get you out of here."

At least she wore black. The blood won't show so much.


As soon as Sage heard the sound of the bullet, she sprang up from where she had been sitting, managing to avoid the dropped teacup, as she reached out to steady Lorna, sinking with her to the ground,the comm silence the X-Men had been enjoying crackling into life, "Lorna has been shot, we are locked down in her building." She barely managed to finish that sentence, before Illyana appeared. Which might have surprised someone else, but Sage? She had seen, often enough, how Illyana had a way of turning up when she was most needed, "I don't have the ability to heal her, but I have a first aid kit. What the hell is going on out there?"


The explosion of violence in the streets is received with screams of panic and fear. Even for Mutant Town this is BAD. And completely unexpected by the citizens and the police. Some toughened mutants try to resist, but get cut down by machine-gun fire shoot with robotic precision. Two blocks from Lorna's building police detective Ortega pulls his regalement revolver and fires twice to one of the killers, but hits body armor. Surprisingly he doesn't get gunned down in retaliation, the shooter actually lowers his machine gun and shoots the detective with a taser, and the man goes down unconscious.

"Frank, I am tracking four groups of killers," states Micro through the com. "Plus the team in the roof, which are firing so someone inside the building in the Avenue A, corner with the sixth. They are armed with Stoner LMGs and grenade launchers. Crap. Facial identification is getting positives, they are the missing Gothamites!"

Up there Rogue can see the teams of killers shooting mercilessly to civilians. Yet not indiscriminately. Among the cowering mutants, groups of terrified humans try to flee the massacre, and they are left alone. She can also see more armed men on the rooftops, these carrying large sniper rifles. Three of those are taking aim, not to the mutants, but to the man with the skull in his chest. "Punisher identified. Considered threat level beta. Neutralize," states one of the killers. Unless Rogue does something Frank might end up full of holes.

Stark's engineering team is also left alone. At least until Caitlin tosses the manhole to one of the shooters. It should have crippled him, but the killer takes it on a side, goes crashing against a parked sedan, putting a dent on the side door. Then stands up, his face bloodied, and opens fire on Caitlin with the machine gun.

Meanwhile inside Lorna’s apartment glass goes everywhere, and before all of it is on the floor, the team of killers at the other building shoots again the recoiless rifle. Also, the door of the apartment is kicked down and a trio of armed men in black coats and mirrored sunglasses open fire with ceramic handguns. The bullets are also made of plastic. Under the men feet a dozen spider-like robots, each about five pounds in weight, jump forward. They are quick and agile, and seek the necks of the three women to wrap around them with their inhibitor collars.

Mutant dead count: 64


Rogue hears the comms and it makes her eyes narrow. "How does one even go about shootin' Lorna of all people? I thought that was like, totally unpossible." She said unpossible on purpose.

As she sweeps down over the buildings and hears the carnage unfolding below, she catches wind of the snipers on the rooftops referring to the 'Punisher' which isn't someone she knows of directly, but she's heard tales of him online and such… and well, his methods sometimes match that of her own. She quickly banks to her left and her cape FLARES out behind her in the winds as she swoops over the snipers, then vanishes behind a rooftop-water-tower that is looming above them…

What the snipers will find now, is that that very same wooden water delivery tower, is being tipped right over ontop of them! Rogue easily positions herself behind it and starts shoving it over to dump the building's water supply onto the snipers!


Caitlin looks… *relieved* when the gunman doesn't lose a leg from the manhole cover. She doesn't like maiming people. Really, she's a gentle sort of giant. But then again, when a bunch of clearly metahumans are behind things, using guns… well, no human's going to walk away from a hit like that.

She drops her weight low like a football lineman and flexes her legs hard. Asphalt *cracks* and tears with the sheer amount of force behind her acceleration and Caitlin breaks into a full sprint that sends up a rooster tail of torn pavement behind her. She protects her eyes behind a raised forearm and full-on tackles the gunman, grabbing for his LMG with one hand and his shirtfront with the other. A grip that could crack diamonds makes short work of the weapon, and she hauls back to kick the sedan's frame hard enough to send it barrel-rolling along the street at the other two gunmen.


Lorna was breathing hard, pained breaths as her blood quickly soaked the side of her sweater and stained the carpet in drips and splatterings of red. Sage caught her, and the green haired woman was at once pursing her lips. "It was plastic or something.. had to be. I didn't even.. I can't sense it at all—" She broke off as Illyana appeared in a blossom of light and Lorna squeezed her eyes shut against the throbbing pain in her side.

"I'm not leaving. There are people here that need us. I have a medical kit in the closet. Top shelf." She hadn't gone through a war zone in Genosha to be shot in her own home and die from bleeding out. She was stubborn after all. Rogue's response on the comms earned a purse of her lips. "I've been shot twice now, I can say I'm really not a fan of it." She bit out, her expression twisted in pain. It distracted her, made it harder for her to think through the pain and use her senses to find out what exactly was going on. Particularly as the distant sound of explosions rocked through town a few blocks away and stole her breath. She was caught completely off guard as the door to her apartment smashed open and men attacked alongside the spider like robots that invaded her apartment.


The Punisher is already up and running for the entryway for the street by the time the snipers are firing, "Right, they're going after the forgotten for an army. Assholes." Frank is already pulling out his Desert Eagle from his gun belt, and taking pot shots at the snipers he sees as he goes.

By the time the Battle Van is at the mouth of the alleyway, Microchip is opening the side of it… and anyone looking inside will see the man-portable variant of a M134G minigun mounted to a bracket on the floor of the Van. By the time Frank is getting into position -and putting on his milspec helmet- the turret is being brought into position manually above the roof, and Microchip is already driving off. Tthe previously unmarked van suddenly loses a layer of paint. The Punisher white skull on black shows up on the hood, the back, and the two sides of the Battle Van.

They're not going for subtle at all as Frank starts to roar in rage, the minigun already starting to fire into the rooftop where the snipers are with precision. Rogue distracted them… now it's time for Punishment.

"Take us over to the rooftop team. That sounds like the big gun. We'll hit the stragglers along the way." Frank orders of Microchip.

The Battle Van was specially outfitted for an actual warzone for this operation, so the armor is a bit reinforced… but they'll probably not be able to take any hits from that autocannon… so best make it a priority. "Threat level beta this, assholes!"


Sage twisted her body, as she both felt and heard the door kicked open, a blast of psionic energy exploding from her body in the direction of the men entering, her mind already shutting down her pain receptors as she moved to cover Lorna's body with her own. Whether the armor she was wearing would protect her from the bullets or not, she didn't know, but better her than Lorna. She tracked the spiders as they scuttled in, attempting to reach out and catch the two headed her way if she could. She was no speedster, but her body did precisely what she told it to. Perhaps that might be enough.


Illyana takes a quick glance at Sage, then turns her attention back to Lorna, efficiently but none too gently checking over her wound. What she sees gets a narrowing of her eyes and a curl of her lip. From Illyana, Queen of Empathy, that's a significant reaction. "I can't heal her here." And Illyana looks like she's tasting something foul as she adds, "And the only place I could isn't exactly healthy either. We need to get her…"

And then Lorna makes her defiant declaration.

"You're insane." Illyana tells her flatly. "When you pass out from loss of blood, I am taking you out of here, and if you die before we can get you help, so not my fault." She's biting the words out too, even without the pain to back it up. If it's concern, at least she's saved from really expressing it when the door blows in.

Silver armour is already forming across her body when the bullet catches her, so she doesn't join Lorna in the perforated club, but she's still smacked away from her. Fortunately Sage is ready to play human shield.

Illyana snarls a curse and brilliant silver-white light seems to suddenly shine up from the floor, and the gunmen and their little toys will find themselves standing on air unless they're very fast. And then falling toward somewhere very unpleasant.


Caitlin charge draws the attention of the trio of killers. "Identified: Fairchild. Threat level alpha," one of them drones. The one with the machine gun steps back, trying to avoid her, but the redhead is too fast and grans the machine gun, wrecking it as if was made of cardboard. The grabbed man barely grunts, titanium claws sprouting from his left hand fingertips, which immediately uses to try to claw Caitlin eyes out. His right hand goes for his belt, and he throws a tear gas grenade to his feet. His two partners aim the LMGs to Cait, but then have to jump out of the way of the kicked sedan. One of them is not quick enough and receives a glancing blow, which sends him rolling over the concrete and losing his firearm.

On the streets the Punisher manages to avoid the first volley of bullets, barely. The snipers correct aim - and they would have surely nailed him if not for a water towers falling on them. The deposit breaks and the one of the men is sweep but the water, falling over the edge of the building to a messy crash on the pavement below. The others manage to dive for the sides, but one is exposed to the Punisher machine gun and pretty much torn apart. Rogue can see a score bullets hitting him, pieces of flesh and metal bursting off his body. A cyborg. A dead cyborg.

The last sniper? His right arm burst open and he sends a stream of napalm towards the flying X-woman.

Inside Lorna's apartment plastic bullets fly everywhere. Fortunately for Sage and Illyana they don't have the punching power of lead and good armor will stops them completely, but if they get hit they will have some nasty bruises later, and those men are charging undaunted by Sage's psychic blast. Sage can't find any mind to hit!

The spider-bots are swift, but rather guileless. Sage catches two of them, and they twists in her hands like snakes, trying to scratch their way free. Another pair vanishes in teleportation disks, falling into some … nasty place. Unlikely to ever return. The last two, however, reach Lorna and climb over her like rabid rats, trying to get to her head!

Mutant dead count: 116


Rogue floats in the air in the place that the water tower used to be. She watches the carnage of the tumbling tower with a sense of pride as the gushing and rushing waves of O2 pour over the Snipers… But she also sees the Punisher's brand of justice rip into one of the men and at first, Rogue winces… but then the realization that its an android washes over her and she just cracks a grin. "Damn nerds, making their little death robots… When will they eve'ah learn—"

Her Seventh Sense kicks in though as she senses the danger to herself a moment before it happens and she instantly shoots higher up into the air like she was shot out of a cannon. The napalm flash fries the air where she had previously been and she vanished from it so quickly one might think she'd been vaporized…

But nope, she's just another fifty or so feet higher up in the sky now. "Illy, don't let Lorna push you around. If she's in trouble, get her outta there. If ya can. Ya'll need me to Kool-Aid Woman my way inta your room, let me know! Things are gettin' hot out here too."


A roll of Lorna's eyes had followed Illyana's comments that she was insane, (of course she was), and anything else was lost as Sage pushed the green haired woman down to duck the hail of plastic and ceramics that the attackers unleashed. It was hard for Lorna to grab control of her powers, pain and the continued drain of blood at her side made things even harder for her to focus.

But she had rage, particularly as Sage got up to handle the spider-like-robots that attacked them, and Lorna pushed herself to sit up.. Only to get tackled by the two that slipped through to attack her. A scream of anger burst from her. This was her home, her building, her responsibility.. And it was more or less made of metal. Steel and iron filing dust that had been carefully laid into the floors, the ceilings, the walls.. came swimming up in a defensive wave, sinking over the spider-bots in a fine coating of very magnetic metal to try to yank them up and away from Lorna and into the air to be ripped apart.


"Robots!" Sage knew that as soon as her blast failed to strike. She would have felt the impact. As she did, after a fashion, feel the pressure, though not the pain of the bullets impacting her armor. One of the bullets managed to graze her neck, another her temple, but she moved as though she did not even notice the blood that began to flow over her slightly paler than normal skin. She was too busy with the spiders, who were managing to shred her gloves in their eagerness to get at her neck. She used every bit of her strength as she brought them together, attempting to smash them soundly enough to render them useless. if that did not work, she would simply hold them off as long as that was possible. Letting them go was out of the question.


"These people have serious pull, Micro. We need to find their source." Frank states over the transceiver as Microchip drives. So far, the Punisher is actually pretty accurate with the minigun on the roof, and Microchip is avoiding the panicky civilians as they go. Since the minigun can go 360, any cyborgs they find are immediately pounced upon. The LMGs are the bigger threat, with their kinetic impacts doing more damage to their armor.

Grenades? The armor can take a few hits, "if you see any loners who I can headshot with a rifle for the computers, let me know, I've got one on the floor next to me." Frank continues to fire. The big groups he won't be able to have time to grab the rifle, though… so the majority of the cyborgs are going to be ripped apart, as they head over to the recoilless rifle rooftop.


The sound is something akin to an incoming jet fighter. The sonic boom is loud enough to potentially break a few pieces of glass as she comes in. America Chavez had been helping to put a halt to a bad bank robbery in Rochester, New York when she had heard what was happening here via Media Broadcast. The speed at which she moved likely had people staring up at the sky in confusion.

Upon her arrival, America took only a moment to look around, assess the situation and then suddenly she is gone in a flash of movement again. One of the cyborgs attacking the people of Mutant Town gets hit so hard and fast that there's not but a blur of movement and then suddenly America is standing where the cyborg was and the cyborg is smashing through a few walls. She glares at the others near her and her hair idly moves around behind her even as she lifts a foot and brings it down with such tremendous force that likely everyone in Mutant Town feels the small quake.

The pavement cracks and quakes as a wave of pure force ripples the ground like a wave over water that has the very asphalt cracking and breaking apart moments after the wave passes, the force likely enough to send the cyborgs up and off their feet.

America's right hand stays clenched in a fist as her eyes glare into the cyborgs before her, "Please. Make a move."


Caitlin lifts her elbow higher to guard her eyes from that slashing blow. She's an experienced infighter— someone pulling a knife on her in a fight is pretty par for the course. She straightens her arm and shakes the man violently, hard enough to make his teeth chatter.

Up and over he goes, crashing into the concrete. Caitlin goes to ground at a burst of machine gun fire. She grabs the stunned gunman's wrist in one hand and kneels on his back. She frowns. He didn't go *splort* like most people would. He went *thunk*. She grabs a wrist in each hand and sets her back to dislocate his shoulders with a twist. Insanely painful to a human, inconvenient to a cyborg— but good for preventing anyone from doing anything helpful for the next few weeks.

"SIRIN, scan all local channels. Set up an ad hoc network and loop me into friendlies."

She reaches for her slingpack and groans in irritation. It's in the van, next to the driver's seat.

"Great, no gun," she mutters. Caitlin eyes the van she's crouching behind, then grabs the panel off of it and twists her shoulders. The door rips free and she steps around the corner and throws it like a frisbee again, aiming for legs. Only this time, she doesn't skip it off the asphalt, and puts a LOT more force behind it.

"Fairchild blindcasting in Mutant Town, all friendly freqs, this is the Justice League. Any friendlies in the area?" she pants into her comm unit.


Illyana rolls up to one knee and then scrambles to her feet. Black denim and leather has been replaced with shining silver armour, so finely tooled and articulated that it hinders her not at all. The Soulsword is burning bright in her left hand, but it's there by reflex. It's not what she needs for this fight. A ball of eldritch force shoots from her open palm toward the gunmen, and then the sorceress takes a couple of quick steps past Lorna and Sage. She yells a few short words in a dialect that's painful to human ears, and a shield of arcane force slams into place across the doorway.

Then Rogue's voice crackles across the comms, and Illyana rolls her eyes. "She's being stubborn. I'm hoping she'll pass out soon." The blonde demoness replies sourly, then glances quickly back over her shoulder. "That won't hold them long. You can't stay here." She suddenly smiles as an evil thought hits her. "But I could. Let them all in, lock the doors from the outside… and don't ask any questions afterwards?" Is she serious? She might be serious.


With Rogue out of reach for the flame-thrower, the remaining sniper grabs his rifle again and tries to find a good position to fire at Rogue or Frank. But the Punisher van is already moving, and the next to feel his presence are a trio of machine-gunning cyborgs. One of them is destroyed by the minigun. Although it takes a long burst to get through all the armor and dermal plates of the borg. Apparently the ground crew cyborgs are much tougher than the snipers, made to take a lot of punishment. His two companions take some cover and began firing against the vigilante, which allows a number of mutants to escape and seek refuge.

Miss America arrival surprises a trio of killer cyborgs, one of which is knocked down and seems to have difficulties standing up. But the other two recover almost instantly. "Unknown superhuman. Scanning," drones one of them. The other shoots a short burst of bullets with his LMG, which likely have no effect. Then switches to a powerful taser discharge through a wrist-mounted launcher.

Caitlin finds serious opposition by the cyborg she has grabbed. The man seems to feel no pain, and although she is far stronger than him, he seems a match in speed, and certainly is a capable fighter. Even dislocating his shoulders seems to hinder him only a little, and his two companions are switching to tasers and flamethrowers on the redhead. SIRIN response is not very helpful. Heavy intereference sssrrrr… unable to comply. No immediate response from srrrrr…"

And in Lorna's apartment the last spider-bots met their doom. It happens they are not very sturdy, because they made them from plastics and light metals to avoid Lorna magnetic powers, so a few blows from Sage end the pair in her hands. And Lorna has little trouble wrapping metal around their bodies and squishing them to pulp. Of course that leaves three armed cybogs, and although one is slammed back by Illyana's mystic bolt, he stands up immediately. The shield on their way stops a few bullets, but then the get to it, they start hitting it pretty hard. They are strong, and Illyana can see her shield cracking like glass. They are going to be through in seconds.

Mutant dead count: 156


Rogue is about to say something back into the X-Men team comm when she's shot from the Sniper down below. Of course, plastic bullet or real bullet, it just bounces right off of her either way. But she does look over and down to the little man-droid on the rooftop and with a steady exhale, Rogue leans forward and downward… and flies right down at the thing!

She zips down at him and reaches out to grab onto the Sniper's shoulders, to lift him and throw him with all her might off into the horizon, she doesn't care where he goes, or what happens to him… she just uses her immense strength to throw the sniper as far away as she can! "Get lost, ya damn termite!"


"GET SOME!" The Punisher yells, even as the LMG fire begins to pelt the side of the Battle Van. He's ducked into the van itself to let the armor take the brunt… but that's going to need work once they're done here. Even with Microchips driving, the Punisher is compensating well with his aim; he's fairly experience with this sort of running and gunning by now.

Once the mutants are gone from the area though, Frank reaches down and switches the trigger to the under-barrel revolving grenade launcher. APDS grenades are launched into both cyborgs. Time to see if milspec armor peircing explosives will do the trick. If they do, they still get a face full of localized high explosive.


Sage did not drop the spiders immediately, instead, tearing the collars from their little spider claws and jamming them into the myriad of pockets in her coat. The ones that Lorna had trapped, she would get if she could, if not, she'd simply grab them. No way was she leaving those things lying around. She gave Lorna a quick once over, assessing her injuries, before she looked over to Illyana, "I can't treat her here, all I can do is a patch job!" With the shield still, momentarily holding, she pushed herself up, a hand rising to dash the blood from her face, as she headed for the medical kit. Whether she could use it here, or would have to use it elsewhere, she needed it. The call from Caitlin came across her comms, "We've gt two injuries in here, the new apartment complex, but not for long." She hopes, "The situation outside needs to be managed."


One thing Caitlin's learned— don't stay in one place. She's moving in a fast scramble to stay ahead of the counterfire from the LMGs, but fire blooms in front of her as the cyborg unexpectedly switches to a flamethrower. Burning slag envelopes the ginger.

She bursts through the flames with a roar of anger and pain. Singed, red-faced, but far from seriously injured. Fire clings to her clothing though it burns much more slowly than one might expect. The brawny ginger tackles the cyborg and rolls a dozen paces with him, then comes up and throws the body of the man at his ally who is hosing Frank's van down with machine gun fire.

Then the big BOOM of America's stomp shakes the ground underfoot and Caitlin falls over with an undignified squawk, landing right on her butt. Her aim is spoiled and her improvised projectile goes flying right into the side of Frank's van.


The bullets ping off of America, making her frown and she shakes her head, "Good." She comes forward just to get hit with that nasty taser discharge causes her to scream out in pain and she stumbles back a step. She glares up at the cyborg and then suddenly rushes forward with inhuman speed. She attempts to grab the one that tased her and smash it into the other one with maddening force.

She turns her gaze upward and then around before she shakes her head, "This is not good…what is happening?" She notes the cyborg she first downed and rushes over to it, "Why are you here?!" She stomps down on its chest and glares down at it.


A rough exhale escaped Lorna as she pulled herself upright, pain becoming a constant dull throb in her head as she struggled to keep her hand on the blood damp fabric of her sweater pressed tightly. At least the spider-bots weren't jumping her for the moment as she ripped them apart. The small beat between Sage getting up and going for the first aid kit and Illyana made her smirking offer.

"Do what you have to. Just keep the building more or less intact and keep my renters alive please." She grunted, reaching out a hand with a twist of her lips, her skin pallid now with blood loss. Most of which was now trickling down her hip and staining her jeans. She had liked those jeans.. She kicked the hazy thought away and made to try again to open up the floor of steel and metal to drag the cyborgs down and trap and crush them.

"This is my house, my building!" She hissed, her hand clenching into a fist out stretched before her hand trembling from exertion. At this point, it really wouldn't take much to cart her off, that much was clear.


"If anyone asks, this was your idea." Despite the situation, despite the condition Lorna is in, despite the far-too-strong gunmen hammering on her shield, Illyana feels the need to establish that. Even if her tone is a little bit teasing. She swings back around to face her collapsing shield, and there's a flash of silver-white light that seems to emanate from the walls.

And then… nothing? Until something not-quite-solid reaches a not-even-slightly-human clawed appendage from the nearest shadow to the gunmen and starts tearing into them. Other shadows start to move toward the gunmen, flowing unnaturally across the walls as Illyana's demons move to defend their mistress. "So much for being on my best behaviour." She says, under her breath, as she lets the remnants of her shield fall, mage-light flickering around her right hand in case any of the gunmen are still in any condition to engage the three mutants.

"Sorry, Lorna." She says, without looking around. "Sage makes too much sense." A portal flares into life behind Lorna and Sage. "Time to go. I won't let my pets eat anyone who doesn't deserve it." Oddly, the teasing has gone from her tone. Her words sound almost bleak, instead.


"Don't worry. Lorna and I have had a lifetime's worth of experience fighting demons." Whether they were Illyana's or not, whether she had been in her right mind or not, the truth was the truth. Sage moved to join Lorna, "On the side of positive, we have four collars we can experiment on." Sage was Sage and she was going to figure out how to neutralize these things. "Come," she offered, as she reached out to attempt to slip a hand around Lorna's waist to lead her from the room and through the portal once she had drawn the attackers in. "Hurry, Illyana. We don't have much time." She called into the comms. "Sage and Lorna departing the scene. No other injuries recorded on this floor." As for the others, she didn't know.


The grenades are enough to cause serious damage to the cyborgs, and at this point most of the cyborg teams on the ground are engaged by heroes and vigilantes, so the level of carnage does come down some. Rogue tosses away the last sniper in the group, but she feels high-caliber more bullets coming from a close building. Caitlin tosses another cyborg hard enough to incapacitate him, although she is still receiving fire from other two, which are trying to bring her down with poisonous gas, electric shocks and napalm.

Same happens to America, although when she asks, she amazingly gets a response: "We exist to protect humankind of the mutant menace," states one of the killers. "Your actions are impeding the progress of our primary directive, you have to be eliminated."

The trio of cyborgs inside Lorna's place do not scream or complain when demons show up to attack them. They respond with bullets, ceramic blades and inhuman strength and stamina, and it is pretty likely some of Illyana's demons will end up dead or badly injured before the trio of cyborgs stops moving.

Mutant dead count: 175


Rogue steps up onto the ledge of the building where the water she dumped is still pooling over onto the street down below, having made that whole side of the building appear to be some kind of new-age urban waterfall art display, but nope, it was just some good old fashioned ingenuity and southern hospitality toward evil man-droids.

She stares down at the streets and those down belong taking care of it, but she's got more to do up above, apparently… as more sniper beams can be seen in the air weaving their way around… toward her.

"A'course. Cause they ain't got a learnin' circuit inside'a their toaster brained heads." She walks the ledge of the building as another bullet rings off of her shoulder, then one off of her right hip, making her cape flare outward a bit in the breeze of the projectile. She leans down to pick up/rip up a massive iron pipe that had been apart of the water tower assembly and then she takes off again and flies toward the snipers with the intent of just smashing them to bits with the big heavy pipe!


"Looks like they work." Frank notes with satisfaction, before he sees Caitlin ram right into the two he's firing at. "Deal with them, I'm goin' for the rifle team up high." Frank blatantly orders of the Leaguer. Does he think he's in charge here? Maybe.

Either way, the Punisher Van continues to drive, obvious dents in it from the machine gun fire. He's still heading for that rifle team firing recoilless rounds. Luckily, the Van has only taken some minor damage. "Threat level beta my ass." Frank mutters as he keeps monitoring for more kill teams, switching back to the minigun for more precise fire.


Sage had the presence of mind to call to Illyana, as the cyborgs began to be attacked by steel and demonic forces, "Is there a portal to the Mansion in Limbo?" She had never been, at least, not long enough to look around. Well, it was what it was. She'd step through, leaving the worst of the work for Illyana to handle. She had a patient to deal with. And possibly demons. Always possibly demons.


Her head was light and it was getting harder and harder to keep her grip on the magnetic fields. The portal that opened up behind her wasn't even apparent to Lorna as her world narrowed to the Cyborgs that had broken into her apartment and tried to kill her. They'd become her focal point, her narrowed world view. Partly due to the fact it was getting harder to stay upright and the blackness that was darkening the edges of her vision. Partly due to the stubborn will and rage that had managed to keep her standing (ish) thus far.

Sage found minimal resistance as Lorna staggered back against her gentle arm to lead Lorna away. A pained sound that Lorna failed to muffle followed with the movement, and the green haired mutant swore she was about to swoon then and there, even if she didn't verbally admit it. She was out and through the portal before her mind could truly piece together what was what.

"I really don't like being shot. For the record. We need to stop whoever decided ceramic and plastic made good bullets…" She mumbled.


A grumble as she is attacked and America grimaces at some of it, "You are all ruining my outfit…" She states and curb stomps the one cyborg she was near before turning her attentiong to the others, "K, time to ring the bell and let everyone know where the fight is." She rushes over to one of her attackers and with a quick hand, she simply attempts to grab it and throw it straight up into the air, she then tries to grab another and fly up. She is attempting to slam the second into the first mid air, sending it higher and then going higher herself. She yells as she hits, making the whole thing a nice big show before finally she'll let both fall and let out a primal yell.

Hopefully, these things will start to realize there's something meaner than mutants in Mutant Town tonight.


"You won't have time to sightsee." Illyana reassures(?) Sage. "Next time, maybe." She shoots a grin over her shoulder. She's set up a portal from Limbo to the mansion almost overlapping the one from Lorna's building to Limbo itself. A single step will deposit Sage and Lorna in the medical lab.

Limbo still isn't safe enough for Illyana to want to chance a longer stay for those two without her to keep the demons off them. Because… "I'll catch up." She tells the others, and with a wave, she closes the portal after them. Swinging back around, she takes in the mess her demons have made of the cyborgs… and the mess the cyborgs have made of some of her demons. With another wave of her hand, the fallen demons discorporate.

"Still hungry?" She asks the remainder, the shadows seeming to multiply. "You know how they taste?" There's a sibilant hissing from all around the demoness. "Good. No-one who doesn't taste like them. Go." The shadows flee.

The residents of Lorna's building will be safe. Any cyborgs still trying to get in? Less so. Illyana saunters out to supervise. She'll catch up. Eventually.


America hauls off the two remaining street cyborgs, and Caitlin takes a second to catch her breath. She rests her hands on her knees and takes a few gulps of air, trying to regulate her breathing. Her clothing's turning a peculiar matte grey color and peeling away in an odd manner as if turning into something else with exposure to the flames.

"I think I can get to 'em faster," she tells Frank, and gauges the angles. She takes two steps back, checks her path, and then with a running start *leaps* a solid four stories into the air. She crashes through the edge of the roof near the rifle team, sending them scattering, and uses their emplaced precision weapons as improvised clubs to make sure they *stay* down before shooting anyone else.


While Rogue and America pummel into scrap two groups of killer cyborgs, Frank and Caitlin manage to drive away the damaged survivors of another two teams. And Illyana's shadow demons make a meal of the recoiless rifle group.

Police helicopters are arriving to Mutant Town in numbers, and patrol cars from nearby precincts also come to reinforce the hard-working cops of District-X, many of whom will need to go to the hospital. So the surviving cyborgs crawl into alleyways and lose their weapons. And eventually a few homeless scurry out of Mutant Town without much fuss, but they are leaving a score of destroyed killer machines, nearly two hundred dead mutants and three times those injured. Dozens of business destroyed, and hundreds of lives ruined.

Mutant dead count: 202
Injured mutants: 718
Human dead count: 0
Injured humans: 31
S.E.E.: 3.5%


EPILOGUE:

A dark room somewhere in Nevada. A lone man in a dark suit sits at the head of a black glass meeting table. He is tall, old and slim, the silver hair cut short. Holograms of other men stand at the table, the real men thousands of miles away.

There is another holographic display, giving the numbers. Estimated casualties, damages caused. Not all the cyborgs revealed themselves, some just recorded the incident, anonymous among the crowd of panicky humans and mutants.

Old Man: Interesting. But ultimately… twenty units lost? Not too impressive.

Hologram One, a tall man with a severe face and a greying goatee: The cyborgs are still crude. We made them with second-hand materials and we had to abort the operations in Gotham due to vigilante interference.

Hologram Two, A blond man, middle aged: Jesus, the Punisher was there. And who was that Latino woman.

Hologram One: We are investigating. It is not too important. New York is rife with super-humans, interference was expected.

Hologram Three, a woman with brown hair in a suit: Did you manage to kill the Dane woman? It would have been a great victory for humankind.

Hologram One: Possibly. But for the position of her injury and the angle the bullet fragment hit I doubt it so. The teleporter woman likely brought her to a medical facility in time.

Old Man: She was the one responsible for the demon invasion. She should have been the primary target.

Hologram One: Perhaps. But her presence was unlikely. In fact we had predicted only a 20% for X-Men to be present in the area. Three of them were very unfortunate. The dark-haired woman at Dane’s apartment is also an unknown.

Old Man: Regardless. I will consider your alliance, Mr. Bastion. We shall talk again tomorrow.

Hologram One, the ‘man’ called Bastion, nods politely. Certainly, I will be expecting your call. Good evening, Reverend Stryker.

The hologram flickers and vanishes. Striker looks at his allies and minions, Benedict Ryan, Stephen Lang, Lydia Nance, Creed… they are sold. They love the idea of powerful cyborgs able to kill mutants. Cyborgs they can control and are not made at a high cost in Gamorra or Madripoor. Striker himself is not sure, but there are many Purifiers that would gladly volunteer to become one of these ‘Prime Sentinels’.

Yet, who is this ‘Bastion’?

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