Puzzle Pieces

March 08, 2019:

An impromptu war room meeting leads to the X-Men start figuring out what is going on with the Sentinels and the mutant-killing cyborgs.

War Room in the X-Bunker

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Iron Man

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Nate found out about the new Sentinel attack a bit late. His head is not in the game lately. He said to Lorna he would find out about the missing Wittman too, and he did, but he never sent the information to the greenhead.

Well, better later than ever, he guesses. Besides, it has been a long while since the last time he saw Kurt. "Hey, thanks for coming," he greets as the other two mutants arrive. "We got a new Sentinel incident, did you hear, Lorna? It is the third in New York so far. But this time it looks two Sentinels were destroyed. I wonder what bullshit excuses the DEO is going to give us this time."


Lorna had been staying in Mutant Town since the attack, upping security in her building but also combing through the city proper and seeing to the mutants that lived there. It seemed she had taken over where the Brotherhood had vanished, lingering on the streets and being a threat in her own stubborn presence. The green haired woman knew that it was dangerous, but her stubborn pride pushed her to stay and patrol, relentlessly chasing down scraps of intel without luck or results.

Nate's askance that she return to the Mansion proper, had her itching to get back to Mutant Town and a scowl twisted her lips as she tapped her fingernails against the table top. "Of course there was.." She muttered, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms.


"I was… very close to that one if you are talking about at Stark Tower, Nate." Kurt frowns to himself as he strides in, tail lashing back and forth on his way towards the pair, offering his hand to each in turn,

"It has been too long, and I am ein Dummkopf for not sending word when I should have." his smile a little sheepish as he looks up at both of them in turn, the barb of his tail coming up to scratch lightly at his beard.


Nate is notoriously bad with keeping in touch when he should, so Kurt's lack of messaging is hand-waved. "You know Scott will want a report yesterday, though," he offers with half a smirk. "We gotta keep up with this. Those robots are one of those, as Cable would say, constants in all timelines that are always a pain in the rear. And I remember in Genosha there was this group, the Human Council, that was mostly Americans anti-mutant fanatics and they were in the Sentinel Factory when the X-Men destroyed it."

That was just before Lorna re-joined the team, though. And Kurt was probably in Excalibur.

"Anyway, Lorna. I got the info on Bentley Wittman. Happens he is not a mutant after all, so Cerebro won't work. He is some kind of genius engineer super-criminal. Which makes me worry about why the Sentinels took him." Then he turns to Kurt, "so what happened at Stark's?"


Lorna's bad mood lifted somewhat with Kurt's arrival, she sits up, flashing the blue mutant a grin. "Kurt! Hey! Long time no see!" She sobered briefly as he mentions having been near to the Sentinel attack and as Nate continued onward with more details about the attack she and Rogue had stumbled upon. She pursed her lips, crossing her arms as she leaned back hard in her chair, her booted feet crossing as she shifted.

"Lovely, so we're basically screwed if they keep that guy, right?"


"Lorna, it is always so lovely to see you… How you've grown. Du siehst wunderschon aus." Bowing to her as he produces a manilla folder from his belt, offering to Nate. "They were after Iron Man, but when they saw me they responded as expected… Punisher was there too, and it appears Stark has an associate like Warmachine, a woman in a suit like his."

"They moved their brain core to the chest as well… No longer in the head, and there was a larger one on site, two stories at least, that demanded Iron Man come vit them… So I Arzt Strange and he had me meet with Donna Troy of the Justice League." He frowns and hops up onto the table, perching easily enough. "She said she sent the head of one that attacked Rykers to the Avengers."


Nate shrugs. How screwed at they? Trask engineers and the best people in the US army has been working in developing mutant-killing robots for fifteen years. "I don't know. I have problems taking seriously a guy that calls himself 'the Wingless Wizard' and although he is clever enough to build hand-held anti-gravity devices instead of building spaceships and becoming mega-rich like Stark uses them to rob banks."

And lets not get started into the whole 'Frightful Four' super-criminal team. It sounds like a group of crazies out of Gotham asylums.

"What's this?" He asks Kurt, opening the folder without hesitation.


Lorna huffed a breath, but her gaze flickered back toward Kurt warmly despite the chaos that was the situation with the Sentinels. Nate knew Lorna's feelings on their ability to defend themselves and others at the moment. She was in a downward spiral of manic energy, and even sitting still to discuss important information seemed to grind against her emotions which were vastly negative.

One certainly didn't need a telepath to notice it.

"I don't care about him taking himself seriously or not. It means that these Sentinels are stealing scientists and trying to get upgrades or who knows what Nate. That's what's disturbing." She muttered, grimacing as she flopped a hand in his vague direction.

"And we've got hardly anything to go on. People died and were injured in Mutant Town from that attack and those responsible for it are still out there."


"Photographs from on site, Nate. Anything I could get from Dame Potts from what the Stark Tower systems recorded once the fight started." Showing images of the Sentinels being smashed, shot at, and even electrocuting Kurt, who looks at that image with some embarrassment, at the precise moment of disappearing during the altercation. Thought it seems that Nightcrawler is swinging some sort of Stark-Tech energy sword. "They adapt quick as well." He flourishes his tail to point to Lorna,

"Dame Dane is correct Meine Herr, and they are growing bold. They were there to capture Stark, not eliminate him. We are going to have to hasten some of our investigation." looking to the green haired woman and daring to rest his tail across her shoulders - hoping to provide some comfort.

Nate, Lorna, and recently returned Kurt are in the midst of the war room, discussing the Sentinels and reviewing pictures Kurt has provided from the Stark Tower attack of late.


The door to the war room opened, allowing Sage to step inside, eyes seemingly unfocused as she looked at we,, something not in the room. She did not, however, bump or stumble into anything, which, was not at all surprising. She did look up, as she heard the man, who her database identified as Nightcrawler speak, but she did not reply to him, only offering to the room, "My apologies. I wasn't aware anyone was using the space."


"Hmm, yeah," Nate looks at the pictures with some interest. "At least they are not purple anymore. This looks like some stealth camo pattern. Oh, the larger one is still purple. For fuck sake." Purple. Giant. Robots. The crimes of Bolivar Trask.

"Stark would never help them, though," he comments to Lorna. "Still, yeah… we have a new brand of killer cyborg loose too, Kurt. Two hundred dead just a month ago in Mutant Town. We might need to leave dealing with the Sentinels to the Avengers this time. I don't know." Beat. "Oh, hello Sage. Speaking of the cyborgs, do you have anything new?"


Lorna looked to be getting only more irritated and short tempered at the sight of the photos. The crimes of the Sentinels and their creators stretched ever onward it seemed and the green haired woman was clearly struggling with her temper in regards to the killer robots. It was obvious that her mental state was in a downward slant, her temper shorter and shorter as the bodies piled up and little could be done.

Never mind that her husband was gone.

Kurt's gentle touch didn't truly do much to staunch the tide of roiling anger from her, but at least she only stewed in silence. At least until Sage appeared, in which it diffused against briefly. "Sage." She exhaled roughly, and smiled weakly in the other woman's direction.


Sage, once she'd been, seemingly, accepted into the room, nodded at the question posed to her, approaching the table and offering Lorna a small, if both rare and genuine smile, "Give how rapidly they technology has been changing, yes and possibly no. Sage glanced towards the center of the room, where one of her holographic screens sprang into being, "I've been analyzing the sentinels and the cyborgs that perpetrated the attack on Mutant Town. The parts that were used to construct the cyborgs were built using technology that is distinctly American. Some materials that can be bought legitimately, some black market tech. I've made a list of the legitimate sources and I'm tracing the black market ones as we speak." In Sage's case, literally. "As for the human parts, those appear to have been bodies mostly sourced from Gotham. Some homeless, checking the records I could find, but nearly all of them with criminal or military backgrounds."

Sage took a moment as her summarized findings came over the screen, showing before and after images of the few who she had been able to find images for. Before being turned into cyborgs and after, "Analysis of their movements and speech patterns would indicate that the machine parts were in control, using the meat as a convenient vehicle. They may have advanced beyond such crude technology, however. One thing of note. The pure sentinels, if reports are to be believed, do have the capacity to communicate verbally."


At the death toll Kurt's glowing eyes widen and he utters a sad shudder, "Lieber Gott, sieh ihre Seelen zur ewigen Erlosung und lass sie wissen, dass sie endlich ruhen." making the sign of the cross as he speaks, whispering more than anything. He looks to Sage, bowing his head politely towards her even as he turns his attention back to Lorna, hopping down to stand by her. "I will hold guard with you, in Mutant Town, Meine Dame, help share the load ja?"

Kurt turns his eyes on the display Sage is showing, brows knitting together at the last part, "The big one, it spoke as if it were conscious of itself, moreso than the others."


Nate has definitely noticed Lorna's anger. It is something that has been growing for weeks, and he is an empath. Odd thing is, well, he used to be the angry one. And the one that couldn't manage it well and made a mess more than once.

Now what the hell can he do? Maybe invite Lorna to smash things in the Danger Room? It worked for him. Sometimes.

"Sentinels do talk," comments Nate. "Usually they don't say anything interesting. They are just machines, no conversation."

The stuff on the cyborgs is more useful, though. Tracking down the pieces might lead to the persons building the little monsters. And then some violent retaliation. "Nice, let me know if you need help, Sage."


A heavy sigh followed as Lorna shifted to lean toward Sage and listen to the woman's report intently. She fell silent, folding her hands beneath her chin as she settled her elbows on the table. Green eyes flickered toward Nate briefly as he spoke and she looked tempted to say something… Until Kurt was there and offering support in protecting Mutant Town. Her intensity eased somewhat, a sad twist of her lips following.

"Thank you Kurt. I have a building there to house mutants. I'm trying to expand escape routes if we're attacked again. Having you there would be a great help."


"The impression that the survivors gave was that there was something more behind the verbal conversation than simply grunting words like mechanical baboons. And that is already a rapid advancement from the sentinels with which we are more familiar. And if the latest batch that attacked Stark Tower are anything to go by, they've already surpassed anything we saw in Mutant Town, and that was only a few weeks ago. Whomever is making these…their tech is evolving by the day. And I have no doubt that they wanted Stark to help them with that. And that if the right pressure point was applied, he would have done so. So would anyone they took, if they had the right incentive. A captured child, a tortured loved one. Everyone has their breaking point. The trick is simply in finding it and exploiting it." She glanced towards Lorna, "I can work on some early warming systems, and see about designing some defenses for the buildings that might allow them to hold out a bit longer, give people time to escape."


Neon had been…training. She was still the rookie as far as the team was concerned. Scrappy survival and some heroics during a demon invasion didn't exactly make her the same as the more experienced members of the X-Men. But inevitably she was drawn towards the sound of people in the War Room as she passed by. Of course, in her workout gear and with a towel still over one shoulder, she didn't exactly look 100% professional, but the 'icecream colored' mutant leans in through the doorframe, mute as always but clearly curious as she catches the tail end of words being spoken.


Giving Lorna's shoulder a, hopefully, comforting squeeze, Kurt turns his attention back to Sage. The notion of everyone having pressure points drawing his mouth into a tight frown. "What about Forge, could you work with Forge for something to help these early warning systems?" he inquires, "Even defenses? The two of you working together could work something out that would be exceptional I would suspect, ja?" he then looks to the new face, head tilting to one side, brow raising. "Guten auben, Meine Dame." bowing his head politely in greeting.


One can always count on Sage to point out the worst case scenario. Nate supposes the right kind of blackmail might work in Stark. He is still not seeing what the Sentinels want. Ryker's Island was to kill some mutant criminals or something else? He never thought he would miss Scott in a meeting. But he would know what to do next.

Or maybe he would just sit down and prepare some defense. The X-Men have been reactive most of the time. Not Nate's style, but what can he do? "Okay folks, ideas of what to do next? Fortify Mutant Town seems a good idea. But it is the middle of New York. I bet the cops will object to gun turrets on the rooftops."


Considering that Sage is, quite literally, where the X-Men are concerned, the last person they would ever want to have to call on, this is not at all surprising. "The evolution of the sentinels aside, there is one other thing I think should be noted here." As if there were anything that the people gathered did not seem to need to know. "In additional to the advancement of speech in the Sentinels, there is some accounting of the cyborgs communicating with the mutants, identifying them and conveying their traits and intentions, not with human being with mechanical parts would have, but as sentinels, of the old sort, with human parts would have. Which might explain why it seemed to be the machine that was controlling the meat." She shifted her attention to Nightcrawler, offering him a nod, "His skills and mine are only tangentially related, but I will see if I can track him down. As for me, I will continue to trace the movement of money and part and try to begin cataloging scientists and researchers with the level of knowledge these sentinels seem to need and track their movements and their disappearances." As she heard the door open, she turned to look back at the woman entering, "Come in, Ne. You might be helpful here, I think."


Well, she'd been spotted but she hadn't been shooed away. That was a good start. Nodding her head, the girl steps into the space with a frown. She'd had her own little tangle with Sentinels in the past, but these certainly sounded like they were getting a lot more dangerous than those she'd faced very rapidly. Sweeping her two-tone eyes over the others gathered, she knew…all but one of them really, leading her to tilt her head as she looked at Kurt curiously, but her attention drifts back to the center as discussion continues.


When he is stopped on, Kurt bows his head slightly, even self conscious. A psychic easily able to make out 'a freak among freaks' bubbling across his surface thoughts as he shifts back, letting the shadows envelope him, and grant Nate the floor for the time being, dropping into his customary crouch, looking between those gathered as they speak.


Nate ahs quietly. So the Sentinels and the cyborgs might be related problems. Well, that simplifies some things. Just some common point, somewhere. All they have to do is find who and where. Machines have no minds he can scan, though.

"We gotta find them. I don't care if it is the DEO at this point or not," he grumbles, glancing at Lorna again. "Lorna, want to come with me to the Danger Room?" He also needs to break some things. There is no 'meeting adjourned' or anything from him. He is not in charge, and it was not a formal meeting anyway. The others likely will have some other matters to discuss among themselves, but Nate's patience is ever scarce.


Lorna was silent for the most part, and as it seemed the meeting wrapped up she stood. Nate's offer at a Danger Room session was met with a shake of her head. "No, I have to get back to Mutant Town. I shouldn't have left to begin with." She exhaled a rough breath, and glanced back at the rooms other occupants.

"You know how to find me if you need to."


Sage nodded, as she looks to Lorna, "And you me." As for Nate, she offers, "I will keep you updated on what I might find. But I need to head back myself. I have a few contacts I need to meet with." She glanced around the room, "Ne, I'll find you later. I have a few leads that I think you might be helpful on. Nightcrawler. Lorna knows how to reach me." Sage would follow the three out, and depart the mansion soon after.


Neon, as ever, remains silent. She wasn't a psychic herself, so she had no glimpse to what Kurt might be thinking, but the shorter mutant simply listens into what she can before she tilts her head to the side as the meeting ends. She'd have to catch up on what she didn't know a little later, but for now she watches as the others depart and bites her bottom lip. Despite everything, part of her almost missed the days when the occasional mutant-hater with a bat was the biggest problem she had to deal with.

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