Greener Pastures

December 01, 2014:

Jericho, Sam, Carol, and Mimic discuss leaving Siberia for somewhere nicer. Like a void dimension full of psychotic mutants.

Neftgorsk, Russia

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been a little while but Jericho's investigations, which is to say his poking at half burned Russian hard drives, have finally yielded fruit. So he put out a contact to two of his team mates - Sam and Carol - and told them that he had gotten everything he was likely to get. The information itself is… interesting and he'll have to see how his friends want to handle it. There's a few ways this could go.

"If nothing else, maybe I can move outta this church… this place makes me itch…"

"I was starting to wonder if you'd picked up lice," Carol smirks at Jericho's words, leaning one hip against the table as she looks over the gathered information. "Good to know it's just something magical," she winks.

Mimic is fairly easy to get a hold of, just not directly. Given that Trent is Illyana's roomie, he can just pass word through her. Or through any of the Red Team for that matter. There's probably a super secured line from the Red Team's HQ to the X-Men's base. And once things are ready to go, he hung out with Illy long enough to mimic her power in case of emergencies. "What's magical?" he asks as he blinks in, hovering up near the ceiling.

The once-grand doors into the nave are thrown open, and Sam Wilson enters dramatically, a case of vodka in one hand and a song in his heart. "I HAAAATE this country! I haaa-ate this country! I REEE-ally REEEE-ally haate this plaaaaaaace!" he sings, fitting his words to the tune of the Russian national anthem, so far as he knows it. He's sporting a battered Ushanka and a furry gray coat over the attire he brought with him from the States. He sets the case down on the table along with a stack of paper cups, and flops into a pew. "I brought home provisions. Don't all thank me at once."

"And so did I…" The hacker chuckles, exchanging a cup of Vodka (which is his drink of choice now, thank Illyana) for a plate of Pepper's thankgiving leftovers. "There's enough for you two as well." He nods to a couple more plates standing by. "To answer your question Cal, I am, sort of. No, Carol not fleas. Just holy ground. Mildy holy. Feels like an itchy blanket. Buuuuut you guys didn't come here to hear about that."

Jericho grabs a seat and reverses it before he sits down. "I finished picking those hard drives apart and I know why the Russians and Japanese are so interested in this place…" He holds his arm up, projecting a picture of a barren, apocalyptic landscape. "There's a world on the otherside of that portal. The Japanese techs on the project dubbed it 'Void Realm'. It's inhabited by… mmmm… the best word for them is mutants. They share a similarity with the human Genome but with some fairly significant alterations. Nearly all contact with them has been xenophobic and aggressive and while the world seems to entirely lack an advanced infrastructre, so far as can be told, the mutants encountered have exhibited advanced personal weaponry and defensive technology. It's not clear where they get it from though obviously no one's really had a chance to look around."

"You and me both, Sam," Carol grins when Wilson returns, glancing up at Mimic's sudden appearance. "Nothing ever ends well here. Although the vodka helps." She's certainly not one to say no to a strong drink. As Jericho explains, she takes a shot's worth, then pours herself another with an arch of her brow. "So it's a portal to angry, advanced mutant land. I can see the appeal."

Mimic doesn't look happy at what Trent says. "I was afraid you were going to say that." he says as he drifts down to the ground. "This rift is a common element among realities but where it ends up is variable depending on many factors I have no clue about. But ones that open onto a world such as you describe are, at the least, a problem and, at the worst, end up with humanity fighting a guerilla war against invaders who've conquered most of the planet. That they've managed to contain it so far over the last fifteen years is promising but no guarantee."

"Glad we're all on the same page," Sam answers with a smirk, taking the leftovers and going straight for the ham. "And I don't buy that the Russians are containing it. I think the angry mutants feel the same way we do. Probably doing everything they can to make sure the portal to Russia stays closed. Maybe we have more in common with these guys than we thought." He pauses for a moment to munch, then glances over at Mimic and adds, "I'm all about building bridges between humans and mutants. This dimension or otherwise."

Certainly, there's a joke in here somewhere about which end of the portal is the barren post apocalyptic landscape. An island off the siberian coast or Void Realm. "It's not real clear that they have the tech to close or open it on that end." Jericho shrugs. "Frankly we don't know. I did, if anyone's interested, discover that the 'break up' of the interdimensional craft was staged. It made it through, under extreme gravitic stress, but no one ever came back. Later all the craft's crew were declared dead. And given that there's been no contact in ten years, they may well be. Which brings me to the next point… I'm fairly sure neither Sam nor I would make it through that portal alive without something shielding us. Miss Marvel might, as might you Mimic. I'm not entirely sure how durable you are but you say you've got experience doing this, so…" Jericho miiiiight be able to convince K'nert to get him there but that would require knowing more than he does 'where' there was.

"Also, the Russians and the the Japanese aren't the only ones with eyes on the portal. Several reports mention contact with Mutants. Mutants from this side."

Carol takes another shot, then sets the paper cup down in favor of making herself a sandwich of sorts with meat and a roll. "Hostile aliens I can handle. Not the way I used to handle them. I kind of burned myself out on that. But if there's a way this ends that isn't the implosion of an entire world, I would really, really prefer to go that route." She looks to Mimic, arching a brow. "Which makes you mutant ambassador here, I think."

"That's a good point… Sam." Trent called him. "If they are truly xenophobic, it's entirely possible it's to the point all they want is to be left alone and close the rift. Which doesn't negate the possibility that they're holding the crew of that craft prisoner." Mimic says. There's simply not enough information to go on. And what there is, is troubling. Such as what Trent just said. "I'd know if it were the X-Men. Which leaves the Brotherhood or some other group, motives unknown. As for going there… I might be able to port us throught he rift. I've never tried such a thing though. I also have Illyana's power so we could try using that but it's not that simple." As Trent said, they don't know where that where is.

"Maybe the problem is that they go through the portal and can't tell they've gotten anywhere different…" Sam speculates between bites. He's just full of theories today.

Drawing himself back into the more serious discussion of the threat, he asks Jericho, "Shielding? Are you talking bad atmosphere or temperature or something, or is the portal itself destructive?" He points at Carol with his fork, then at himself. "Because I'm pretty sure that between Danvers and me, you've got a hell of a flight crew for whatever crazy dimension-hopping spaceship you care to fly through."

"We'd have to build it first, which is an entirely different skillset, unless in your shopping you found a surplus Russian dimensional capsule." Jericho grins. "High energy particle bombardment and extreme gravitational stress. The craft was engineered with all the loving Russian care they could give it and it still didn't make it through in any condition to come back, or so the theory goes. Like I said before, they didn't send anyone else through. First and only manned expedition, and no one came back."

"Which isn't to say that no one's ever come through the portal. There have been hostile incursions from the other end and…" Mimic's comment about the Brotherhood earns a wry face. "Other interests in the area. If we can come up with a way to get through, that's one thing. It might still be worth going in to see what's there and if there's anyone alive on the other side that needs to be brought home. If nothing else we can find out if the Russians and Japanese really are going to get anything from this worth worrying about. There's some weird politics going on here." He takes a deep breath. "So, anyway, there we have it. Without a craft or teleportation abilities, only exceptionally durable individuals will make it through. Which, you know, might still be an option. Especially if Mimic is using Illyana's abilities. That way even if the portal shrunk again you wouldn't be stuck on the other side."

"I like not being stuck on the other side," Carol admits, taking a bite of her sandwich. "Especially given we don't even know if it's in this universe, so flying back may well not even be an option. I could fly someone through pretty damned fast," she adds, looking around. "Especially if it's in a vacuum. But it'd be a risk. For someone else, I like the less awful option."

Which is exactly why Cal mimiced Illy's power. He has no desire to be stuck in another dimension if something unpredictable happens. "There is a way to test this…" he continues after a moment, not sounding thrilled about it. "I go there and try to port through it. If it doesn't work, fine. If it does, I come back. If I don't come back, tell Illyana. She'll know who to tell."

"I don't think a suicide run is our best option," Sam says with a narrow look at Calvin. "I guess I can see if Tony's got any spare armors I can borrow. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. He's got strong feelings about who uses what tech of his. Carol might be able to handle the trip." He shrugs.

"Well I do have some good news to deliver on that front." Jericho nods. "I've been monitoring the base's internal radio traffic and the eggheads there seem convinced that they have at least another five days before it starts closing. So we have time to do a little bit of resource gathering and ally-tapping. If you people can think of anyone who might be suited to this kind of thing, now would be the time to contact them. It'll have to be kept quiet until the last minute and there are a couple of angles. If the Russians or the Brotherhood or whomever else sees anyone making a try for the portal they may try to get in themselves." Then they'd be dealing potentially with a hostile team. "And I'll need to arrange for the military here to be distracted but I'm already getting that lined up, so don't worry too much about it."

"I could talk to Superman," Carol offers. "But if this is a mutant thing, I'm not sure they're really going to be all that impressed. And it puts us right back at the durable people can get through point." She nods to Mimic, looking in the direction of the rift. "We could test it like that. It's your choice, of course."

"I'm not talking suicide. I just meant if I couldn't get back immediately. I think I'll be okay as far as any turbulence goes." Mimic states. He's survived being beat up by Hyperion so a simple dimensional rift shouldn't be an issue if it's not bypassed entirely. "It just might take a while to get back." He nods to Carol, agreeing with Superman if they're going to call in reinforcements.

"Do you really just call Superman on the phone? Or do you just go to Metropolis and yell 'help!' and leave out cookies and milk?" Sam asks, tipping back some vodka and sprawling out on the pew. He's free to treat this a bit casually; as one of the team members who would explicitly not survive the trip, he doesn't feel that input from him would be of much value. (Other than the usual imprecations not to make his work as a medic any harder than it has to be.) "So, while our flying bricks are going Interstellar, what are the rest of us going to be up to?"

"Frankly, Sam, if I could shove you through that thing in an Iron man suit that wouldn't be a bad idea. Medics are always handy." Jericho grins. "And if you can find a way, might be a good thing. Us mortal men, no offense to you two…" He winks at Mimic and Carol. "Have a couple of options. Once Cal makes it through to the other side, since he has Illyana's Power, should be able to allow me to find him via…"

As if summoned by the impending mention of his name K'nert hops down from a dark corner and lands on Sam's shoulder with a hiss. "That guy. So we could join them once they get themselves oriented. Or, worse comes to worse, extract them. Meantime, I want to follow up on who else is looking into this rift and why. I had hoped Mimic might tell us the X-Men had been monitoring it but if it's Brotherhood or some unknown party…" They need to know and what they want.

"I do, actually," Carol grins at Sam. "It's kind of rude to do the whole shouting thing, after all." She winks, then goes back for another shot of vodka, crossing her arms loosely over her chest. "You know, correct me if I've got the wrong idea here. But what if the astronauts haven't come back because they were mutants, and they kind of prefer the barren apocalyptic wasteland on the other side?"

As soon as the demon 'jumps' out of the shadows, *SNICKT* go Mimic's claws. Though once he recognizes it as one of Illyana's demons and Trent remains obviously unconcerned, they disappear again. "Now that's an idea. We don't need to know where the dimension is. We know where Limbo is. I can open a portal from there to Limbo without going through it and Illyana can tell instantly which it is." Or maybe the demon can since Trent's implying he seems to have a similar ability. "Another possibility." he agrees, nodding to Carol.

Sam recoils as the demon beastie lands on his shoulder. Fortunately, the thick coat means he won't be treating claw scratches; the last thing he needs to worry about is whether Limbo's native bacteria are just as nasty as the rest of its inhabitants.

"Just… stay put," he mutters grouchily at the portal demon. He holds up a warning finger at Mimic and his claws. "That goes for both of you. I do NOT need a haircut that close."

Jericho gets up, still not horribly concerned and plucks K'nert off Sam's shoulder, putting the imp down on the table near the food. This was a tactical choice. The demon looks up at the hacker who nods once, and then sets to on some leftover turkey. "Just so. Limbo, I've recently learned, is sort of a central clearing house. So long as you're able to get back to there, Mimic, we can get to you. May take a bit. K'nert here can't create stepping disks like Illyana can, just find and open them. But still, it's possible. And if you need help, a medic or extraction, we can do it that way, provided the ability isn't somehow blocked."

Carol's suggestion gets a pensive frown. "Hrm. The astronauts voluntarily stayed there? Well no bodies were recovered so anything's possible I suppose, but these were heroes of the Motherland. I find it odd that if they're alive and not under duress not one of them has tried to contact home." Beat. "Then again, maybe they have and failed. We won't know 'till we've got eyes on." He cuts off as he hears footstepps in the chapel above. "Hrm… odd…"

"I'm just saying," Carol shrugs. "Sometimes the things on the other side are preferable to coming back home." She eyes K'nert for a moment, then slides what's left of her food away from the creature. No way is she sharing cooties with that thing.

"Actually, I was thinking you both go to LImbo while Ms. Marvel and I go through the portal. Then I open a portal and wait for you to show up through it." Mimic points out. "It sounds like the most promising method of…" Falling silent, the claws come out again and he faces the stairs.

Sam glances upward at the same time Jericho does. Even with the vodka, his senses are pretty honed. Unfortunately, if this is trouble, his wings are packed up across the room. This was supposed to be a strategy session, after all. He grabs the glass vodka bottle off the table and holds it loosely in one hand, asking casually, "So, what kind of security do you have set up in this place, Jericho?"

"Monitoring…" Jericho says quietly. "More active measures are easier to notice." He glances upward, listening to the footsteps move about until they fade back outside. "Hrm. Anyway, that's a good idea Mimic. I'll need to arrange for that distraction but that's in the works already. The question is do any of you want to take the time to phone home as it were and ask for a care package or call in additional friends?"

K'nert looks up at Carol and decides… it's not worth going after her food.

Good choice, K'nert. Good choice. "Given that we're not sure if anyone can get back and forth, I'd rather not call in any more people," Carol shakes her head to Jericho. "We've got a mutant who can take that side of things and do transport," she nods toward Mimic. "I can handle any heavy lifting that might be required. Sam can deal with mechanics, or anyone who's injured. Even if Mimic and I stand up pretty well, it might be a goodwill gesture if they've got injured. And Jericho's got the intel."

Mimic nods his agreement. "And four people is a scouting party. More start to look like an army. We know they're xenophobic so there's no reason to give them even more of a reason to freak out. Not till it's necessary, if it becomes so."

"I can call Tony and see if I can borrow an Iron Man, but like I said, it's not likely," Sam says with a shrug. He doesn't even consider it necessary to add that time zones won't be an issue; Tony's sleep habits are erratic at best. Just ask his in-house medic. "Other than that, I'm good to go right now." He glances down at the vodka bottle guiltily, then sets it back down. "Well, I mean, other than a little while to gear up."

"Alrght. We'll roll with what we've got, plus or minus. I'm going to set a couple of contingency plans in motion. Russia and Japan have taken great pains to hide this place from the international community, so perhaps it's time someone tipped off SHIELD that their satellites might want to start looking at the area." He also needs to contact Illyana and Piotr to let them know what he's got so far and that he's going to follow up. Illyana can also yank them all out, if worse comes to worse. As she's observed before, finding Jericho now is particularly easy. "So we'll do this soon as we can arrange for the military here to be otherwise occupied. Anything else for me?"

"Nothing here," Carol shakes her head, eyeing the vodka as well. She could do one more shot, right? Just to settle her nerves. Wouldn't hurt. Much. She takes another bite of her sandwich, that decision not quite made yet.

Mimic glances at Carol then back to Trent. "Who needs to distract them? Wait for night, port in right in front of the rift and go through. They won't have time to do anything before we're gone. Doesn't even need to be at night. As soon as you're in Limbo, we can go."

"Yeah, that plan is a lot riskier if you don't draw their attention away," Sam tells Mimic. "You're going to have a lot better chance if you're not the only problem they have to deal with. Since you're apparently gonna be navigating through dimensions full of angry mutants and Russians, you'll need all the focus you can get."

"Good lord I hope that dimension isn't full of angry Russians." Jericho winks, rising. "One is enough. Alright then. I'll see you all very soon." He casts one eye to the roof above clearly considering relocating now that he doesn't need to house a bunch of hard drives for forensic analysis.

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